Thiago Santos’s Right Knee Wasn’t 100% Before Heading Into UFC 239 Bout
Brazilian sensation Thiago Santos had put on a fantastic performance in the main headliner of UFC 239 as he almost pulls off a decision win against Jon Jones and what’s more impressive he fought all five rounds on one leg. Indeed he was favoring his left leg during the fight and on certain occasions losing his balance, but it kept giving him a problem.
Yesterday ESPN reported that Santos suffered a serious injury in the right knee and tore his ACL, MCL, PCL, and meniscus in the round one.
And now his coach Tata Duarte revealed that Santos had secret knee surgery earlier this year before accepting Jon Jones bout. (H/T MMAFighting)
“The camp started with a 45-day delay and Thiago only had two months to prepare for this fight, but still didn’t want to pull out,” Duarte said. “The doctor gave us a timeline but we had a problem later. Heather (Linden), physical therapist of the UFC, was the one who recovered his knee. She was at UFC 237 in Rio and kept working on his knee for six days straight and found out what the problem was and was able to fix it. That’s when he started his camp.
“We told him, ‘Thiago, let’s pull out of the fight,’ and he said, ‘No, I won’t pull out.’ He didn’t want to. We did this camp in two months. It should have been at least three months, but we didn’t have that time.”
Santos’ coach said if Brazilian hadn’t undergone knee surgery, he’d put on some serious damage to Jones at UFC 239 or possibly could knockout ‘Bones.’ Now we know why Santos couldn’t pull the trigger of power punches.
“If that knee hadn’t stopped him, Jon Jones would have gone down, no doubt,” Duarte said. “Our game plan was all set, ‘Marreta’ was seeing everything. And after he started hurting Jon Jones’ legs he began to lose mobility, it was too easy to put him out, man, but we counted on switching stances to get it done. He started the combinations but couldn’t continue.”
“(Jones) respected him because he was getting hit. That’s the truth,” he continued. “He started to feel pain and thought, ‘Man, this guy hits really hard. What am I going to do?’ He knows Thiago has knockout power. Deep in there, he knows who ‘Marreta’ was. He knew he would have to kill ‘Marreta’.
“I think (Santos) comes out way bigger than he was before. When I was carrying him out of the Octagon, everybody there, Americans and Brazilians, were cheering on him and booing Jon Jones’ interview. I’m gonna be honest with you, that to me is worth more than the belt. To be applauded and recognized like that, to have people thinking he won.”
Brazilian’s coach is proud of his student and believes Santos deserves a rematch however he needs one more win before UFC gives him that match.
“I think there’s no way that happens,” Duarte said. “I think Thiago will have to fight one more time and then they give him a rematch if the path is clear again. The UFC does what they want.”
“But I’ll say this: our goal was accomplished. He shocked the world,” he added. “This guy’s life story, man, he comes out huge after this fight. He knows he’s a complete fighter, he knows he can do five rounds with anyone. He did five rounds with someone that people say is invincible, the best of all time, and did that on one knee. Imagine if he had both legs.”
Santos to undergo knee surgery soon to repair the damage and will sideline for the remainder of 2019. MiddleEasy wishes him faster recovery and come back with a vengeance.