UFC Fight Night: Santos vs. Anders Preview
A preview of Saturday’s UFC Fight Night card, set to take place in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Updated: Sept. 20, 2018 • 1:25 PM ET
Sao Paulo, Brazil will host UFC Fight Night on Saturday.
The UFC will arrive in Sao Paulo, Brazil on Saturday for UFC Fight Night 137, an event that will feature a light heavyweight fight that took a crazy path towards being the main event.
The main event was originally scheduled to be a battle between top light heavyweight contenders Jimi Manuwa and former title challenger Glover Teixeira, but a shoulder injury forced Teixeira’s removal from the fight and Thiago Santos replaced him. This was followed by Manuwa pulling out of the fight because of a hamstring tear and Eryk Anders stepping in.
Santos is ranked No. 12 in the middleweight division, but will step up to 205 pounds for this fight. He’s coming off a unanimous decision victory over UFC newcomer Kevin Holland at UFC 227 in August, a fight that was a big rebound for him after suffering a first-round knockout loss to David Branch in April. Prior to that loss, Santos had pulled off four straight victories.
Santos, 18-6 overall and 10-5 in the UFC, has key victories over Anthony Smith, Nate Marquardt and Elias Theodorou. The 34-year-old from Rio de Janeiro jumped at the opportunity to fight a headliner in his home country of Brazil and is tasked with a tough opponent, even after Manuwa pulled out of the fight.
Anders (11-1, 3-1 in UFC) is a former University of Alabama football player and debuted in the UFC with a first-round knockout of Rafael Natal in July 2017. The UFC granted him a headlining fight against former light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida in February, but Anders lost a tough split decision. He most recently defeated Tim Williams by third-round knockout less than a month ago.
Anders, like Santos, typically fights at middleweight but will find comfort in only dropping down to 205 pounds. A win over a ranked and proven fighter like Santos is exactly what the 31-year-old Anders needs to arrive as a threat in either division.
Saturday’s co-main event also experienced late replacements, as the fight was originally scheduled to be between welterweight contenders Neil Magny and Alex Oliveira. However, the UFC pulled Magny from the fight on August 22 to headline a November fight card in Argentina against Santiago Ponzinibbio, and Carlo Pedersoli has replaced Magny.
Oliveira (18-4-1) is coming off the biggest win of his career, a second-round submission victory over former title challenger Carlos Condit. The win was a big rebound for Oliveira after suffering a third-round TKO loss to Yancy Medeiros last December in what was one of the best fights of the year.
The 30-year-old from Rio de Janeiro has also collected key victories over Tim Means, Will Brooks and Ryan LaFlare. A win over Magny would have been what the No. 14 ranked fighter needed for a big move in the rankings, but Oliveira cannot look past Pedersoli.
The 25-year-old Pedersoli successfully made his UFC debut in May with a split-decision victory over Bradley Scott. Pedersoli is 11-1 overall with three wins by knockout and four by submission. He fights out of Rome, Italy and turned pro when he was 18 years old.
The Rest of the Main Card
A light heavyweight fight between Sam Alvey and Brazilian legend Antonio Rogerio Nogueira will also be on the main card. Alvey is riding a two-fight win streak after defeating Gian Villante in June and Marcin Prachnio in February. He’s 10-5 in the UFC with key victories over Villante, Rashad Evans and Nate Marquardt.
Nogueira hasn’t fought since November 2016, a loss to Ryan Bader by third-round TKO. His last win, a first-round TKO over Patrick Cummins, came in May 2016. The 42-year-old has victories over legends such as Evans, Tito Ortiz, Alistair Overeem (twice), Dan Henderson, Kazushi Sakuraba and Kazuhiro Nakamura.
The main card will also host a bantamweight fight between former Brazilian champion Renan Barao and Andre Ewell. Barao used to be considered one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world, but he has suffered two straight losses to Brian Kelleher and Aljamain Sterling.
Barao is 1-4 in his last five fights and hasn’t won a contest since September 2016. From June 2010 to February 2014, he won nine straight fights that include victories over Urijah Faber (twice), Eddie Wineland, Michael McDonald and Brad Pickett.
Ewell (13-4) is riding a four-fight winning streak, but will be making his UFC debut in Sao Paulo. The 30-year-old is tall for the 135-pound weight class at 5-foot-11, and he’ll definitely land on the bantamweight map with a win over Barao.
A strawweight fight between No. 13 Randa Markos and undefeated Brazilian Marina Rodriguez will round out the main card. Markos is 4-5 in the UFC and coming off of a unanimous decision loss to Nina Ansaroff in July. Rodriguez is 9-0 and will make her UFC debut.
Lightweight fight - Charles Oliveira vs. Christos Giagos
Lightweight fight - Francisco Trinaldo vs. Evan Dunham
Light heavyweight fight - Luis Henrique vs. Ryan Spann
Heavyweight fight - Augusto Sakai vs. Chase Sherman
UFC Fight Pass Early Prelims
Welterweight fight - Sérgio Moraes vs. Ben Saunders
Women's flyweight fight - Mayra Bueno Silva vs. Gillian Robertson
Middleweight fight - Thales Leites vs. Hector Lombard
Welterweight fight - No. 15 Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos vs. Luigi Vendramini
Women's strawweight fight - Livinha Souza vs. Alex Chambers
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