Thiago Santos was put to the test by late replacement Eryk Anders but was ultimately victorious at UFC Fight Night 137 in Brazil on Saturday.
The fight started with Anders looking to close the distance and earn a takedown, while local hopeful Santos wanted to keep the space and use his powerful kicks and punches.
Anders continued to press forward and take the fight to the mat, which he did on a couple of occasions, taking some impressive damage from Santos in the process.
The American was happy to fight off his back, with Santos having to thwart a number of submission attempts despite being on top.
Late in the third round, with Anders pressing forward again, Santos landed a bid knee to the body as they went to the floor once more. This time, however, Santos made him pay for it, raining down a number of vicious punches and elbows on Anders’ head while he tried in vain to dodge the blows.
While Anders just made it to the end of the round, he collapsed twice while on his stool, forcing referee Marc Goddard to wave the contest off.
— UFC (@ufc) September 23, 2018
“I want to thank my coaches and training partners,” Santos said after the win, which takes his MMA record to 19-6.
“I want to thank Eryk for accepting this fight with just one week in advance. Wins and losses are part of our lives – I believe that the most important thing is how you act, how you respect others.”