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Thiago Santos predicts finish vs. Aleksandar Rakic, calls speed his ‘biggest weapon’

Thiago Santos hopes to knock out Aleksandar Rakic at UFC 259.

UFC light heavyweight contender Thiago Santos has high expectations ahead of his UFC 259 bout against Aleksandar Rakic. Ready to snap a two-fight losing skid, the Brazilian striker hopes to put on a vintage performance against the rising prospect on March 6, and believes he knows what he must do to secure a victory.

In an interview with Super Lutas, ‘Marreta’ talked about his and Rakic’s biggest strengths in the Octagon. In Santos’ opinion, he will have to rely on his speed in order to emerge victorious against Rakic, who he believes is at his most dangerous in the opening minutes of a fight.

“My biggest weapon against him would be my speed. All of those guys who are really big are also slow. My knockout power (would be another weapon). The danger lies in the first minutes, that’s when he’s really strong and explosive. As the fight goes on, I’ll start having a certain advantage.”

Since Santos already expects an explosive fight, he does not see the match against Rakic going the distance. Although Marreta cannot pinpoint when exactly he thinks the fight will end, he believes it will be over at some point between the second and the third rounds. Furthermore, despite knowing he still needs to win at least one more fight after UFC 259, the Brazilian hopes a victory over Rakic puts him back in the title mix.

“I don’t really see this fight going the distance. He’s an aggressive guy, too. He looks for the knockout. I can’t imagine this fight lasting three rounds. I think I can knock him out in the second or the third.”

“(When it comes to the title mix) I’ll depend on what the UFC’s plans are and what happens on March 6, after the fight between Israel Adesanya and Jan Blachowicz.” Santos continued. “We’ll only be able to tell after that fight. I believe that, if I win, I’ll need to win one more to fight for the belt.”

Currently on a two-fight losing skid, Thiago Santos (21-8) was tapped out by Glover Teixeira back in November 2020, after coming back from a long layoff following a split decision defeat to Jon Jones, in July 2019. The 37-year-old’s last win dates back to February 2019, when he TKO’d the division’s current champion, Jan Blachowicz.

Now, Thiago Santos is expected to take on Aleksandar Rakic at UFC 259, on March 6, at the UFC Apex, in Las Vegas. The card is scheduled to be headlined by a superfight for the light heavyweight title, between middleweight champion Israel Adesanya the 205-pound division title-holder, Jan Blachowicz,