UFC Fight Night: Santos vs Ankalaev – Fight Card, UFC Odds, Preview and Best Bets

UFC Fight Night: Santos vs Ankalaev Fight Card, UFC Odds and Best Bets

UFC Fight Night: Santos vs Ankalaev takes places this Saturday, March 12, 2022 live from the Apex Arena in Las Vegas. Headlining the Main Event will be Thiago “Marreta” Santos (22-9-0) taking on rising star Magomed Ankalaev (16-1-0) in the Light Heaveyweight Division. It’s worth noting that the UFC Apex features a 25-foot diameter Octagon version as opposed to the standard 30-foot diameter Octagon. Below, we’ll break down the UFC Fights this weekend and give the best bets for UFC Fight Night: Santos vs Ankalaev.

UFC Fight Night: Santos vs Ankalaev | How to Watch

  • 🥊 UFC Fight Night: 203
  • 📅 UFC Fight Night Date: Saturday, March 12, 2022
  • 🕙 When is UFC Fight Night: 7:00pm ET
  • 🏟 Where is UFC Fight Night: Apex Arena | Las Vegas, Nevada
  • 📺 TV Channel: ESPN+
  • 🏆 UFC Main Event: Thiago Santos vs Magomed Ankalaev
  • 📊 UFC Stats: Santos 22-9-0 | Ankalaev 16-1-0
  • 🎲 UFC Fight Night Odds: Santos (+385) | Ankalaev (-550)

UFC Odds — Santos vs Ankalaev Odds

Ankalaev opened as the slight favourite at -158, but was quickly bet up to -310 where is stayed up until fight week. During fight week the money continued to come in and Ankalaev is now -550 with the comeback on Santos at +385. The full breakdown of odds from BetOnline can be seen below:

UFC Betting Odds for Santos vs Ankalaev

Moneyline Odds Play
Magomed Ankalaev -550 BetOnline logo
Thiago Santos +385 BetOnline logo

*UFC odds as of March 10, 2022

UFC Fight Night Odds on Santos vs Ankalaev Total Rounds

The top sportsbooks in the US have set the line at 3.5. While not one of our UFC best bets, pick the main event bout to go under 3.5 rounds on Saturday night.

Total Rounds Odds Play
Over 3.5 -115 BetOnline logo
Under 3.5 -115 BetOnline logo

*UFC odds as of March 10, 2022

UFC Fight Night: Santos vs Ankalaev Fight Card

Here is the full UFC Fight Night: Santos vs Ankalaev Fight Card

Main Card: 7pm EST

  • Thiago Santos vs Magomed Ankalaev (light heavyweight)
  • Marlon Moraes vs Song Yadong (bantamweight)
  • Sodiq Yusuff vs Alex Caceres (featherweight)
  • Khalil Rountree Jr vs Karl Roberson (light heavyweight)
  • Drew Dober vs Terrance McKenney (lightweight)
  • Alex Pereira vs Bruno Silva (middleweight)

Prelims: 4pm ES

  • Matthew Semelsberger vs AJ Fletcher (welterweight)
  • JJ Aldrich vs Gillian Robertson (women’s flyweight)
  • Trevin Jones vs Javid Basharat (bantamweight)
  • Damon Jackson vs Kamuela Kirk (featherweight)
  • Sabina Mazo vs Miranda Maverick (women’s flyweight)
  • Dalcha Lungiambula vs Cody Brundage (middleweight)
  • Kris Moutinho vs Guido Canetti (bantamweight)
  • Tafon Nchukwi vs Azamat Murzakanov (light heavyweight)

UFC Stats — UFC Fighter Stats

In order to properly breakdown this fight, we will have to take a deeper dive into this matchup.

Thiago Santos — UFC Bio, Record, and Stats

Santos finds himself as an underdog vs Ankalaev in UFC Fight Night

  • Rank: #5 Light Heavyweight
  • Age: 38
  • Country: Brazil
  • Height: 6’2 (188 cm)
  • Reach: 76” (193 cm)
  • Weight 206 lbs (93.4kgs)
  • Stance: Orthodox

Thiago Santos — UFC Fight Stats

  • Thiago Santos Overall Record: 22-9
  • Fights Won by KO/TKO: 15 (62.5% of wins)
  • Fights Won by Submission: 1 (4% of wins)
  • Fights Won by Decision: 8 (33% of wins)
  • Fights Lost by KO/TKO: 2 (22% of losses)
  • Fights Lost by Submission: 3 (33% of losses)
  • Fights Lost by Decision: 4 (44% of losses)

Magomed Ankalaev  — UFC Bio, Record, and Stats

Ankalaev comes in as a heavy favorite in UFC Fight Night vs Santos

  • Rank: #6 Light Heavyweight
  • Age: 29
  • Country: Russia
  • Height: 6’3 (191 cm)
  • Reach: 75” (191 cm)
  • Weight 205.5 lbs (93.2 kgs)
  • Stance: Orthodox

Magomed Ankalaev — UFC Fight Stats

  • Magomed Ankalaev Overall Record: 16-1-0
  • Fights Won by KO/TKO: 8 (50% of wins)
  • Fights Won by Submission: 1 (6% of wins)
  • Fights Won by Decision: 7 (44% of wins)
  • Fights Lost by KO/TKO: 0
  • Fights Lost by Submission: 1 (100% of losses)
  • Fights Lost by Decision: 0

UFC Fight Night: Santos vs Ankalaev Preview

The main event is headlined by the hard hitting, #5 ranked Light Heavyweight, Thiago Santos, taking on rising start and #6 ranked Light Heavyweight, Magomed Ankalaev. Thiago Santos is only 3 fights removed from losing a split decision to former Light Heavyweight Champion and previous #1 pound-for-pound fighter, Jon Jones. Magomed Ankalaev is coming in on a 7 fight win streak after losing in his UFC debut back in 2018.

Santos vs Ankalaev will be the main event for UFC Fight Night

Can Magomed Ankalaev Continue His Rise to the Top of the Division?

Magomed Ankalaev went 9-0 as a professional before making his UFC debut versus Paul Craig in March 2018, where he closed as a -800 favourite. What was crazy about that fight, was Ankalaev dominated that fight from start to finish. He was up 2 rounds and was dominating round 3, but with 10 seconds left, Craig threw up and caught Ankalaev in a triangle, in one of the craziest come from behind victories in UFC history. Since that fight, Ankalaev has strung 7 UFC wins in a row, 2 of those wins came off of back-to-back first round finishes of Ion Cutelaba.

The first time Ankalaev fought Cutelaba, he landed on Cutelaba, who stupidly tried to play off the damage by over reacting and pretending to be really rocked on his feet. The oscar went to Cutelaba who convinced the referee that he was rocked and in danger and who then stopped the fight after 38 seconds. Ion Cutelaba immediately disputed the win and a rematch was scheduled.  The rematch was back and forth in the first round where Ion Cutelaba landed a couple of big right hands that Ankalaev ate and showed off his decent chin. But Ankalaev kept landing the check right hook counter as Ion would pressure forward. Eventually Magomed hit the right hook, left straight counter that dropped Ion and followed up with the ground and pound finish.

About 4 months later Magomed Ankalaev fought long time UFC veteran, Nikita Krylov. Much like his previous fights, Ankalaev closed as a -400 favourite, but he didn’t look like a -400 favourite round 1. Krylov was the busier fighter, landing a brief takedown but Ankalaev popped back up. Krylov did land the bigger punches and won round 1. In rounds 2 and 3 Ankalaev kept hunting and throwing the check right hook. Almost every time Krylov came close, Ankalaev would circle off and throw the counter right hook. In round 2, Krylov throw a spinning kick that Ankalaev ducked under and took the fight to the ground. Round 3 Ankalaev landed an inside trip to get the fight down securing that last 2 rounds and winning an unanimous 29-28 decision.

Ankalaev’s most recent fight was in October 2021 versus Volkan Oezdemir in Abu Dhabi. Volkan opened round 1 landed some big punches that Ankalaev ate and once again confirmed his granite chin. Ankalaev returned the favor and dropped Volkan in round 1 with a straight left. Round 2 and 3 were more of the same, Volkan did find some success with the leg kicks that made Ankalaev shoot for the takedown, but Volkan popped back up. Ankalaev opened up a huge cut above the eye of Volkan with that check right hook he loves to throw. He cruised to a unanimous decision.

Can Thiago Santos Find His Way Back to Another Title Shot?

 Thiago Santos fought former Light Heavyweight Champion, Jon Jones, to a split decision loss. From that fight, Santos blew out both knees and needed major surgery and rehab. It’s truly remarkable he was able to come back from the severity of knee injuries. His first fight back after a year and a half was to Glover Teixeira in November 2020. Thiago opened that fight in orthodox but switched to southpaw to throw the left kicks. Santos ended up landing a huge left hook that dropped Glover. Glover tried to engage in a clinch and Santos shrugged him off and landed some more big punches and was close to being finished. Somehow, while rocked, Glover managed to grab a leg and get the takedown against the fence and fall right into mount. Glover spent the rest of the first round and almost all of the second round on top on the ground. Santos’s takedown defense looked poor. In round 3, Santos still had power left and against rocked Glover and followed him to the ground. Once on top, Santos was throwing some big ground and pound, but Glover is so durable that he just stands back up while eating shots, grabs the leg and again gets the takedown and eventually moves to the back for the Rear Naked Choke finish.

5 months later, Santos fought Aleksander Rakic in a mostly striking battle. In that fight, I think the volume and forward pressure won a unanimous decision. Santos has never been a huge volume striker, but he looked tentative and wasn’t committing to his strikes and Rakic was able to capitalize. Thiago’s Santos most recent fight was against Johnny Walker, who we just saw a couple of weeks ago get put away in round 1 to Jamahal Hill. Given Santos’ and Walker’s style, everyone was predicting that the fight wouldn’t leave the first round. They ended up circling around for 25 minutes where Santos won an uneventful decision.

UFC Betting Trends  — Santos vs Ankalaev

Before I give away the best bets for UFC Fight Night: Santos vs Ankalaev, let’s take a look at how these two fighters have looked in their previous fights.

Santos

  • Santos has finished 9 of his last 11 wins
  • Santos has lost 3 of his last 4 fights
  • Santos has not landed more than 50 significant strikes in his last 4 fights

Ankalaev

  • Ankalaev in on a 7 fight win streak
  • Ankalaev has finished 5 of his last 10 wins by punches
  • Ankalaev has landed at least 1 takedown in 4 of his last 6 fights

Free UFC Picks — UFC Best Bets For Santos vs Ankalaev

Physically Thiago Santos will have a slight 1″ reach advantage with both fighters at 6’2″. Magomed will be the younger fighter of almost 8 years. With both fighters mainly being counter punches, this fight has the potential to go similar to the Johnny Walker vs Santos fight. Thiago Santos should be the one coming forward with Ankalaev looking for that check right hook counter. I think the smarter play from Ankalaev is to clinch early and get the fight to the ground, where we’ve seen pretty poor TD defense (officially 66%) from Thiago Santos. In addition, we’ve seen Santos’s power bar drain quickly after the first round. I think Magomed Ankalaev is the more well-rounded fighter with more ways to victory. I also think this fight is the tale of two different fighter trajectories with Santos past his prime and probably getting slower each fight, whereas Magomed Ankalaev is still coming into his prime and still improving. Here’s how I have the fight broken down:

  • Ankalaev by TKO/KO: 40% (+150 or better)
  • Ankalaev by Sub: 10% (+900 or better)
  • Ankalaev by Dec: 25% (+300 or better
  • Santos by TKO/KO: 20% (+400 or better)
  • Santos by Submission: 0%
  • Santos by Decision: 5% (+1900)

Which translates to:

  • Ankalaev -300 or better
  • Santos +300 or better
  • Fight goes to dec: +233 or better
  • Fight doesn’t go dec: -233 or better

The pick is Ankalaev to win, but I don’t think I can bet his moneyline anymore, so we might have to get creative in how we approach this fight. The smaller Octagon will help force the action, but both fighters could be looking to counter. Also worth noting that Ankalaev has never fought in a 5 round fight, so he may have to leave some reserves in the earlier rounds. Ankalaev has also never attempted a submission in the UFC, but the fact that Santos has looked so poor on the ground, it could come from giving up his back after getting mounted.

Best UFC Bet

  • Santos / Ankalaev does not go to decision -145

Only way it gets to a decision is the stay standing watching each other. As soon as Ankalaev mixes in some grappling, Santos won’t have the cardio to go 5 rounds. Santos is also live to land a big shot at anytime.

Bet this fight at BetOnline and get free bets for UFC Fight Night.