UFC’s Thiago Santos “Fixed” After Surgery To Repair Battered Knees

Fighters and their camps tend to wisely keep serious injuries private, but there was no disguising the damage done to black belt and light heavyweight contender Thiago “Marreta” Santos at UFC 239. It was late in the first round against reigning champion Jon Jones when the MMA world saw Santos’ knee buckle, almost topping the Brazilian and giving Jones a weak spot to target for the next twenty minutes. Throughout four more headlining rounds, Santos threw kicks, took kicks, and winced his way through what–by fight’s end anyway–became a prix fixe menu of miserable knee injuries: Torn ACL, MCL, PCL and meniscus on the left, partially torn meniscus on the right.

Santos had reportedly partially torn the right side during training camp for the match, causing coaches to request he drop out of the fight. But Santos declined, and instead went up against one of the best fighters in MMA history on one good leg…and had to be wheeled out of the arena.

On July 18, Santos posted a photo of himself rolling out of the hospital following four hours of double knee surgery to repair the damage taken:

Team Marreta says they expect Santos to be up and fighting in 8 months, with a projected return to the ring by fall 2020. That seems possibly a little optimistic given the extent of the double knee injury, though Santos’ own doctor admits he defied science once already just by getting through the whole match.

“[The surgeon] said it’s not normal,” Santos told ESPN. “It could only be mental stuff. That there was no science to explain that.”

Here’s wishing this beast a speedy recovery.


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