Thiago Santos was one judge away from leaving UFC 239 last Saturday in Las Vegas with the light heavyweight title and he did it essentially on one leg for four rounds of the fight.
Santos’ team has confirmed to multiple outlets that the Brazilian fighter tore the ACL, MCL, PCL and meniscus of his left knee in the opening round of his split decision loss to Jon Jones.
"I left everything in there even after injuring my knee in the first round," Santos said through a translator after the bout. "I fought four rounds on a southpaw stance, unable to move like I usually move, unable to throw the strikes I usually throw. I didn't shock the world because of those circumstances, but I did what I could do in those conditions and I'm satisfied."
The loss for Santos snapped a four-fight winning streak that included victories over Kevin Holland, Eryk Anders, Jimi Manuwa and Jan Blachowicz that earned him a shot at the undisputed title.
This is also the first time Jones has lost a scorecard in his nine MMA fights that have gone the distance.
"I wasn't surprised by the split decision," Jones said after the fight. "He was doing good, he stayed in the fight I think he earned that split decision, he did a really good job and my hats off to Thiago."