Both needing a win to cement their status in a talented division, David Branch and Thiago Santos faced off on the main card of tonight’s (Sat., April 21, 2018) UFC Fight Night 128 from the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
The No. 8-ranked Branch returned to the UFC last year after winning the World Series of Fighting (WSOF) light heavyweight and middleweight titles following an unsuccessful octagon run in 2010-2011. He had produced mixed results in his second UFC run thus far, winning a boring split decision over Krzysztof Jotko before getting finished by former champ Luke Rockhold.
The No. 12-ranked Santos, on the other hand, was on a steamrolling win streak with four straight TKO victories. Quietly tied with Anderson Silva for the most striking finishes in UFC middleweight history, ‘Marreta’ was set to explode into the top 10 with a win.
Clearly, Santos was looking to make it a kickboxing match while Branch was most likely looking to make the bout far dirtier in order to drag it to the ground.
The bout began with Santos throwing one of his trademark high kicks. He followed with a body and leg kick. Santos landed a left hook and kept throwing heavy strikes as advertised, but Branch countered a few times. The fight was a bit tentative, but Santos again threw some big shots.
Then, it was all over in a flash.
The more measured Branch unloaded a monstrous overhand right from out of nowhere, nailing ‘Marreta’ flush on the chin and ending his four-fight win streak in a flash.
Final Result: David Branch def. Thiago Santos via R1 KO (punches, 2:30)