MMA Fighting revealed on Monday that the two strikers will be headlining a UFC Fight Night show on September 25th. It’s expected that the rest of the Fight Night shows for 2021 will be held at the APEX in Las Vegas, but this card has not been officially announced.
Santos (21-9) is the last person to defeat current champion Jan Blachowicz, winning by third-round TKO in February 2019. That win earned ‘Marreta’ a title shot against Jon Jones, who narrowly beat him by split decision despite Santos fighting with severe injuries to his left knee and minor injuries to his right knee. After surgeries, Santos returned to action last year and lost by submission to Glover Teixeira. At UFC 259 in March, he dropped a lackluster decision to Aleksandar Rakic.
Walker (18-5) has been out of the cage for eight months and it will have been more than a full year when he does take on Santos. After getting off to a red-hot start to his UFC career with knockouts of Khalil Rountree, Justin Ledet, and Misha Cirkunov, Walker’s hype train came to a crashing halt when he was knocked out by Corey Anderson at UFC 244 in 2019. His next fight saw him lose a decision to Nikita Krylov before bouncing back with a KO of Ryan Spann. Walker was set to face Jimmy Crute in March before pulling out due to injury.
Santos is ranked #4 and Walker is #10 so if there was ever an opportunity for Walker to revitalize his run towards his first title shot, it’s this matchup.