Thiago Santos gets to prove his worth right off the bat in his PFL debut, and he wouldn’t have it any other way.
Santos (22-11) meets 2022 PFL light heavyweight champion Rob Wilkinson (17-2 MMA) in his promotional debut April 1 in the co-main event of 2023 PFL 1 in Las Vegas. The former UFC title challenger knows he could potentially fight Wilkinson again if they both advance to the postseason, but he’s happy to test himself early.
“In my opinion, it couldn’t be better,” Santos told MMA Junkie Radio. “I’m very happy to fight him. He’s the last champion, he’s a tough opponent, and it’s the best way to do my debut. I think it’s the best way to fight now, because sometimes something can happen. If you think, ‘Let’s meet each other in the final,’ but maybe something goes not in this way, so it wouldn’t happen. But we can fight now and maybe fight in the finals. Who knows? So I think it’s a good fight, a great fight, it’s gonna be fireworks. I’m very excited for that.”
After fighting out his UFC contract, Santos signed with PFL last September. The 39-year-old said he didn’t negotiate with any other promotions and was thinking about a future move to PFL while he was with the UFC.
“At this point in my career, I would like to try something new, something different,” Santos said. “I don’t have a long time. I don’t have many years more, so I decided to try different things. I’m happy at PFL. I’m so excited for April 1 my debut, and I’m happy with my decision.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for 2023 PFL 1.