UFC 259: Thiago Santos vs Aleksandar Rakic- Prediction and Analysis

Published 03/05/2021, 7:33 AM EST
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – AUGUST 28: Aleksandar Rakic of Austria poses on the scale during the UFC Fight Night weigh-in at UFC APEX on August 28, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)


UFC light heavyweights Thiago Santos and Aleksandar Rakic open out the main card for UFC 259 taking place in Vegas. Fans have earmarked the bout as a sure-fire contender for ‘Fight of the Night’ and it’s easy to see why. Both men walk around with explosive power and more impressively aren’t afraid to trade heavy in the pocket.

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The top of the card sees the light heavyweight bout being contested between Jan Blachowicz and Israel Adesanya. There are plenty of eyeballs on the fight card and both Santos and Rakic will want to cash in big. A statement win could help the winner leapfrog other top contenders like Glover Teixeira although that’s unlikely.

UFC light heavyweights: Thiago Santos vs Aleksandar Rakic

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‘Marreta’ Santos is coming off a tough RNC submission loss to Glover Teixeira in his last performance back in November. The fight before that was an incredible display of toughness against Jon Jones for the light heavyweight belt. Although he’s coming off two losses, Thiago Santos is virtually one win away from solidifying his spot at the top.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – NOVEMBER 07: (L-R) Thiago Santos of Brazil punches Glover Teixeira of Brazil in a light heavyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on November 07, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

The Brazilian is one of the most heavy-handed punchers in the division with a comprehensive capoeira background. His arsenal ranges from explosive high kicks and switch kicks backed up with a piston left hand. He’ll be in a head-on collision stylistically when he runs up against Rakic who possesses similar skills in certain domains.

‘The Rocket’ Rakic: Explosiveness personified

Aleksandar ‘The Rocket’ is coming off a win over former title challenger Anthony Smith in his last UFC outing. The Austrian fighter has had an impressive 5-1 UFC run since joining the promotion back in September 2017. He’s only fallen once to Volkan Oezdemir in a high controversial split decision which seems to be behind him.

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LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – AUGUST 29: (R-L) Aleksandar Rakic of Austria punches Anthony Smith in their light heavyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on August 29, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

As mentioned earlier, Rakic possesses many similar striking qualities to Santos, however, he comes off as more reserved. Not to mention, he’s able to use the cage to his advantage when pressuring his opponents onto incoming offense. He’ll be looking to stay away from Santos’ power side and use a defensively responsible offense in close range.

Prediction: Aleksandar Rakic to claim a unanimous decision victory

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Darryl Pinto

1450 articles

Darryl Pinto is a senior MMA writer at EssentiallySports. He is currently pursuing his graduate degree in Mass Media (with a specialization in Journalism) out of Xavier’s College and has a year's experience in his current role. Darryl specializes in predictions, reporting, and covering UFC events live.

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