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LOS ANGELES – Thiago Santos will have an unlikely fan at UFC 239 when he goes on his underdog’s quest to give UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones the first legitimate defeat of his career.
That member of “Marreta’s” rooting section? None other than fellow light heavyweight contender Jan Blachowicz.
The 36-year-old from Poland met up with Santos at UFC Prague in February. There, Santos handed Blachowicz a third-round TKO loss, and punched his ticket to the Jones fight.
You wouldn’t think a fighter would turn around and root for the person who just defeated him, but there’s a method to Blachowicz’s madness. The same night Jones and Santos tangle at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Blachowicz takes on former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold.
And the way Blachowicz (23-8 MMA, 6-5 UFC) sees it, a Santos victory would shake things up in a 205-pound weight class where things have gotten a little too predictable.
“I think Santos brings good energy,” Blachowicz told MMA Junkie during Monday’s UFC 239 media day in downtown LA. “I think the division could use someone new. Some new blood. Let’s see what he can do.”
And then there’s the way Blachowicz envisions the night going for himself. His loss to Santos snapped a four-fight win streak, which is the closest he’d come to reaching the top of the light heavyweight ranks in a UFC stint which dates back to 2014.
A victory over a big name in Rockhold under the big spotlight of International Fight Week would give Blachowicz five wins in six, and a subsequent Santos win over Jones could set him up for a rematch.
“This could be the fight that puts me in position to get what I want,” Blachowicz said. “I’ve got nothing bad to say about Rockhold (16-4 MMA, 6-3 UFC), he’s been a gentleman to me. But I know if I have a good fight, if I beat him, then this is the fight that gets me to where I want to be.”
News | MMA Junkie