Finishing 11 of his opponents, Thiago “Marreta” Santos (15-5) has earned his place in the top 15 of the division.
Santos is an aggressive striking machine with knockout power in every limb. Standing 6′ 0″ with a 76″ reach, Santos’ long hooks carry power that can shake men through the guard. He opens himself up when he flurries but his power and hand speed are high enough that opponents won’t risk countering mid-combination. His kicks are devastating; the head kick he landed on Steve Bosse was so brutal that Bosse froze on the canvas like a dead insect.
The five losses may seem a bit much, but they’re easy to contextualize.
He’s 6-2 in his past eight, and one of those losses was to Gegard Mousasi. His other loss was to Eric Spicely, a crafty submission fighter who snared Santos’s neck during a scramble. Santos bounced back to finish both his opponents after that, so they don’t count against him too badly.
Before we analyze him as a fighter, let’s appreciate Jack “The Joker” Hermansson (16-3). Is there a Swedish remake of the 1989 Batman? Where is Swedish Michael Keaton?
Nickname aside, he’s no joke; Hermansson has knocked out his opponent in 10 out of his 13 wins. While he has kicks and knees in his repertoire, Hermansson is primarily a puncher. And oh what a puncher he is. He’s good at punching as he moves forward, shortening the path of the punch and compensating with his forward momentum. His uppercut isn’t crisp, but he swings it with enough authority to deter counters.
He’s not above wrestling opponents to the ground, getting a dominant position and pounding them out. He’s not the type to throw wild flurries to finish an opponent either; he’ll pot shot with hard punches until he’s sure the opponent can’t fight back before opening up. The only weakness is that he’s not great off his back against great submission fighters. Considering he’s only lost one fight in his past 12, it’s not a weakness many fighters have been able to exploit.
Technically, Hermansson matches up terrifically to Santos. His striking is crisper which can take advantage of the holes in Santos’s defense. He’s also got the height and reach advantage over Santos, so he’ll be able to strike first if he so chooses. But Santos throws with a lot more conviction, and Hermansson isn’t a specialized counter fighter. Santos also kicks a lot more, so he can make up for the slight reach disadvantage.
It’s really close on paper, but Santos’ quality of opposition is higher, so look for him to get his third straight win.
Santos via TKO
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