Thiago Santos isn’t about to let a hard loss keep him down for long. ‘Marreta’ was notably unreserved about his performance in last Saturday’s UFC Vegas 13 main event against Glover Teixeira, telling fans that he was “so disappointed by myself” following his third round submission defeat at the hands of the 41-year-old.
Still, less than a week later, he’s already getting set for his UFC return. The Brazilian light heavyweight top contender looks to be heading straight from the frying pan into the fire, with a planned bout against rising Austrian star Aleksandar Rakic set for early next year.
ESPN first reported the booking, with sources close to the situation saying that the fight has been planned for a March 6th UFC event, and will be a three round fight—rather than a five round main event.
Rakic (13-2) is fresh off a decision win over Anthony Smith in the headliner of the UFC’s August 29th UFC Vegas 8 - Fight Night card. The American Top Team talent turned in a dominating, but notably risk-averse performance—choosing to control Smith largely with takedowns and top control, rather than searching for a quick finish.
“The plan was, don’t rush and don’t go for the submissions,” Rakic admitted after the victory. “If he gave me something really, really, then I’d go for it. The goal was to dominate, put pressure, and to win.”
That win provided a much needed bounce-back from a controversial loss to Volkan Oezdemir in December of last year, and put Rakic back on the path toward title contention. A win over Santos in March just might be what he needs to get a chance to compete for UFC gold.
The UFC schedule for 2021 is still largely up in the air, with reports of potential bouts out through February. Neither the March 6th card nor Santos vs. Rakic have yet to be made official. A location for the fight card is also yet to be determined, and no other bouts for this date have been announced at this time.