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Former title challenger Thiago Santos leaves UFC – Signs with PFL!



Thiago Santos PLF

Former UFC light heavyweight title challenger Thiago Santos is ready for PFL. Photo via Instagram (@pflmma)

Former UFC light heavyweight title challenger Thiago Santos parted ways with the UFC and is now ready for PFL. The Brazilian signed a multi-fight deal ahead of the promotion’s 2023 season.

“We are very excited to bring in Thiago Santos to the PFL light heavyweight division,” PFL President Ray Sefo told ESPN. “He is known throughout the MMA world as a guy who delivers exciting fights, and I’m looking forward to seeing his elite knockout power up close.”

“The 2023 PFL Light Heavyweight division just got more exciting! Welcome to the League,” PFL wrote on Twitter.

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Thiago Santos challenged for the UFC title in 2018

Thiago Santos joined the UFC back in 2013 and made his promotional debut in August against Cezar Ferreira. The Brazilian fought in both middleweight and light heavyweight during his 24 fights in the promotion.

As a middleweight, he knocked out Anthony Smith, Jack Marshman and Gerald Meerschaert.

In September 2018, the massive Brazilian moved up to light heavyweight where he knocked out Eryk Anders Jimi Manuwa and Jan Błachowicz before getting a title shot against Jon Jones.

Santos gave the champion his toughest fight since Jones’s classic bout against Alexander Gustafsson back in 2013. However, the Brazilian lost via split decision. Since then, he is 1-4 in the UFC.

“It was an amicable separation with the UFC,” Santos’ manager Alex Davis told ESPN. “Thiago is very grateful for everything the UFC did for him, and he’s very grateful toward the PFL for signing with him. He’s looking forward to winning a million dollars.”

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