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Thiago Santos ‘felt really well’ at 205 lbs, wants Jimi Manuwa fight in December

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UFC Sao Paulo’s Thiago Santos talks about his successful light heavyweight debut vs. Eryk Anders.

Thiago Santos’ first foray into the UFC light heavyweight division was a successful one, as he took Fight of the Night honors on his way to a third-round TKO finish of fellow middleweight veteran Eryk Anders. While Anders plans to move back to middleweight, Santos assessed how his body felt at 205 and how it particularly affected his cardio and punch resistance.

“Anders is not a light heavyweight,” Santos said at the UFC Sao Paulo post-fight press conference (via MMA Fighting). “[This fight] was more for me to feel what it’s like to make 205 pounds. I felt really well. I got tired but it’s normal to get tired in a fight so intense like that. I felt well and conscious of what was happening. I felt power in my punches but I was a little bit slower. So I’ll sit down with my coaches and see what’s going to be done.”

“Even though my punches are heavier, I feel I was more resistant,” said Santos. “I took some hard punches and I didn’t feel them. At middleweight, due to the weight cut, and not being able to recover 100 percent, I am a little bit fragile. At middleweight, I was knocked out by [David Branch], who isn’t a knockout artist. He landed a punch and I was really upset by that.”

“Today, [Anders] landed a cross, he landed some heavy blows and I didn’t feel it. So that’s good, too. So not only are my punches stronger, but I’m more resistant. So there’s a lot at play. We have to see the good and the bad and see which pass we’re going to take.”

Santos was originally scheduled to face Jimi Manuwa on Saturday night, but Manuwa withdrew due to injury and was replaced by Anders. While Santos hasn’t fully committed to a permanent move up to LHW, he does want to at least get that Manuwa fight rescheduled.

“I hope that [Manuwa] recovers well,” said Santos. “I hope to meet with him in December so we can fulfill the contract that we signed.

“I want to fight at 205 against a guy that’s bigger than me like Manuwa so I can feel the pressure from a heavier guy. To see if I get punched by that guy and I change my mind and go back to 185 or step up. So, we’ll see.”

“Marreta” has won six of his last seven fights, with only current middleweight c ontender David Branch able to defeat him since the start of 2017.