Light Heavyweights Santos, Ankalaev Headline UFC Fight Night Card In Las Vegas

Written By Gage Miskimen on March 10, 2022 - Last Updated on July 22, 2022
UFC Fight Night

Two light heavyweights looking for a road to title contention fight atop this Saturday’s UFC Fight Night card at the Apex in Las Vegas.

No. 5-ranked Thiago Santos (22-9 MMA, 14-8) will fight No. 6-ranked Magomed Ankalaev (16-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC) on a stacked ESPN+ card.

Santos, a former light heavyweight title challenger, is coming off a decision win back in October over Johnny Walker. The 38-year-old Brazilian was on a three-fight losing streak before that, starting with his title shot loss against former Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones.

The other two fighters he lost against? Fellow top-five contender Aleksandar Rakic and current champ Glover Teixeira.

Santos has faced the best in two divisions as he used to fight at middleweight until 2018. He has notable wins over former light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz, Kevin Holland, Anthony Smith and Jack Hermansson.

Ankalaev has been on a seven-fight winning streak since losing his UFC debut back in 2018. The Russian wrestler lost to Paul Craig, who submitted him in the last second of the last round after Ankalaev had been winning the fight in the first two rounds.

Since then Ankalaev has had wins over names like Ion Cutelaba, Nikita Krylov and Volkan Oezdemir.

Ankalaev is gunning for a title shot after a couple more wins. Santos is not a fighter to overlook, however. He is one of the toughest in the 205-pound division and has skills on the ground as well as being dangerous on his feet.

Meanwhile, Ankalaev will be looking to wrestle and use his ground-and-pound as he has in the past to completely dominate and smother opponents.

How to watch Santos vs. Ankalaev

  • What: UFC Fight Night
  • Where: Apex in Las Vegas
  • When: Saturday, March 12 — Main card at 6 p.m., prelims at 3 p.m.
  • Viewing info: UFC Fight Night is streamed on ESPN’s subscription platform ESPN+

Should Ankalaev win, he could be one fight away from a title shot. Current champ Teixeira will fight Jiri Prochaska next and the winner of that matchup is likely to fight the winner of the Blachowicz/Rakic matchup. The good news for Ankalaev is those fights are likely to happen before summer so it could line up well for him and his schedule to get a title shot sooner.

If Santos wins, it’s a different story. He has already lost recently to Teixeira and Rakic and he’s beat Blachowicz. It wouldn’t be completely out of the question for him to face someone else lower in the top 15 after a victory on Saturday night to test him against another up-and-comer like Jamahal Hill or Paul Craig.

Regardless, the full card is a great one for UFC betting and watching — especially after coming off last weekend’s highly-anticipated UFC 272.

Tale of the tape

Thiago Santos

Magomed Ankalaev





205 lbs

205 lbs

76 inches

75 inches

Johnny Walker: W (Dec)

Last 5
Volkan Oezdemir: W (Dec)

Aleksander Rakic: L (Dec)

Nikita Krylov: W (Dec)

Glover Teixeira: L (Sub)

Ion Cutelaba: W (KO)

Jon Jones: L (Dec)

Ion Cutelaba: W (TKO)

Jan Blachowicz: W (TKO)

Dalcha Lungiambula: W (KO)

UFC Fight Night co-main event

Two of the top 15 bantamweights will look to move up the rankings as well in the co-main event slot on Saturday.

Marlon Moraes (23-9 MMA, 5-5 UFC) takes on Song Yadong (18-5-1 MMA, 7-1-1 UFC).

The former WSOF champion Moraes has not faced an easy path in his UFC career and is looking to rebound from his current three-fight losing streak. His five losses in the UFC have come from the best of the best including former two-weight champion Henry Cejudo, Cory Sandhagen, Rob Font, Merab Dvalishvili and Raphael Assuncao.

However, Moraes has beaten the likes of former featherweight champion Jose Aldo, current bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling, John Dodson and has a win over Assuncao as well.

Like Moraes, Yadong has also been in the UFC since 2017, but the 24-year-old from China has been working his way up the ladder and Moraes will be the biggest name he’s ever faced.

Currently, Yadong is on a two-fight winning streak after suffering his first-ever UFC loss.

Whoever wins this fight will get to stay in the mix of a very crowded and top-heavy bantamweight division filled with guys like Sterling, Petr Yan, Sandhagen, Font, Aldo and more. The bantamweight division is arguably the toughest ladder to climb in the UFC right now. Every matchup in the top 15 matters and can shake up the order of the line to a title shot.

Marlon Moraes

Song Yadong





135 lbs

135 lbs

67 inches

67 inches

Merab Dvalishvili: L (TKO)

Last 5
Julio Arce: W (TKO)

Rob Font: L (TKO)

Casey Kenney: W (Dec)

Cory Sandhagen: L (TKO)

Kyler Phillips: L (Dec)

Jose Aldo: W (Dec)

Marlon Vera: W (Dec)

Henry Cejudo: L (TKO)

Cody Stamann: Draw

UFC Fight Night odds

Main Card

  • Light Heavyweight: Thiago Santos vs Magomed Ankalaev
  • Bantamweight: Marlon Moraes vs Song Yadong
  • Featherweight: Sodiq Yusuff vs Alex Caceres
  • Light Heavyweight: Khalil Rountree vs Karl Roberson
  • Lightweight: Drew Dober vs Terrance McKinney
  • Middleweight: Alex Pereira vs Bruno Silva


  • Welterweight: Matthew Semelsberger vs AJ Fletcher
  • Flyweight: JJ Aldrich vs Gillian Robertson
  • Bantamweight: Trevin Jones vs Javid Basharat
  • Featherweight: Damon Jackson vs Kamuela Kirk
  • Flyweight: Sabino Mazo vs Miranda Maverick
  • Middleweight: Dalcha Lungiambula vs Cody Brundage
  • Bantamweight: Kris Moutinho vs Guido Cannetti
  • Light Heavyweight: Tafon Nchukwi vs Azamat Murzakanov


Photo by Eric Jamison / AP
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Gage Miskimen

Gage Miskimen is a journalist from Marion, Iowa, currently working at the Cedar Rapids Gazette. He graduated from the University of Iowa in 2019 and was editor of the award-winning Daily Iowan. He also previously worked for the Des Moines Register. Gage is a lifelong fan of combat sports and martial arts.

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