The top of the UFC Vegas 38 billing occurred in the light heavyweight division and the #5 ranked, Thiago Santos, earned a unanimous decision over the #10 ranked, Johnny Walker. Not a lot of action was going on during the opening round, and for various portions of the match. There was a lot of respect on both sides, and a ton of feeling out happening.
Then, Santos started to get more aggressive in the second act. He was kicking at Walker and earned even more respect than he already had. As the fight grew on, Santos continued to be the one willing to throw his solo kicks, while Walker was rather gun-shy. Come the fourth frame, Walker started to throw a bit more as Santos was throwing less. When Thiago did throw, they were hefty hooks that got through. Santos landed a big bomb in the fifth round that caused a little bit of a buzz in the APEX facility, but Walker shook it off. It was a pretty competitive fight, but did lack any major wow moments.
Check out Tim Bissell’s play-by-play of the final round of Thiago Santos vs. Johnny Walker:
Thiago Santos vs. Johnny Walker - Round 5
Walker seems fresh in the fifth. He takes the center and lands another leg kick. Walker glances Santos with a question mark quick. Santos fires back with a kick to the thigh.
Walker catches Santos with some punches as Santos comes in looking rather desperate to close the gap. Santos comes in again with an overhand and clock Walker, the hardest punch of the fight. But Walker shakes it off.
Walker throws some more kicks, landing on the knee. Walker comes in with a big punch now, but Santos wheels away. Santos tries a spinning kick to the body. Then lands another kick to the ribs.
Walker takes a chance and leaps in with some offence. Doesn’t catch Santos and is lucky to not get tagged there.
Santos is getting oohs and ahhs for his kicks and punches from the crowd, but they aren’t landing or hurting Walker.
Fight ends. I give the last round to Santos for the harder strikes. But, for me, Walker wins 49-46 for controlling the majority of the fight, landing more often and forcing a dangerous striker to not throw all he has.