Thiago Santos is a dangerous striker whose wins often come in spectacular fashion. He has won five of his last seven in the UFC. Gerald Meerschaert is more of a submission specialist and has won seven straight including two first round submissions in the UFC.
Round 1. Meerschaert catches a kick and goes for a takedown. Santos is able to prevent the fight from going to the ground. Meerschaert clinches again. He gets Santos down and lands some punches as Santos stands back up. Santos gets himself out of the clinch and immediately opens up with heavy punches. He drops Meerschaert with a punch and continues landing big shots. He lets Meerschaert up so the fight can return to the standup. Meerschaert lands a nice short left hand of his own. Santos connects with a pair of vicious leg kicks and then a straight punch moving back. Santos nails Meerschaert with a big left hand. Santos has such power in his strikes.10-9 Santos.
Round 2. Meerschaert shoots in for a takedown. He briefly gets Santos down but Santos pops right back up. Meerschaert shoots for another takedown but this time Santos counters with a series of big punches. Meerschaert is forced to cover up and the fight looks on the verge of being stopped. Eventually, Santos takes top position on the ground. Meerschaert turns his back and eats more punches. Meerschaert is able to return to the feet briefly but Santos gets him back down and lands additional punches until the fight is stopped.
Winner: Thiago Santos, TKO, round 2.
Santos is a scary fighter to deal with because of the power behind his punches. He has dropped enough fights over the years that he isn’t a top contender but he’s someone that fans like to see and fighters can’t be terribly excited to prepare fo. Meerschaert made a go of it but could only take so many power shots over the course of two rounds.
Jordan Mein has been fighting professionally since he was 16 years old and has a 29-11 record already at age 27. Muhammad is older at 28 but is the more experienced/less shopworn fighter at 11-2. He has been involved in some entertaining contests since debuting in the UFC.
Round 1. The fighters trade kicks. Mein deftly blocks a Muhammad takedown attempt. Muhammad utilizes a solid overhand right but is thrown off when attempting a takedown. Mein has more juice in his leg kicks than Muhammad. Mein blocks another takedown attempt and continues to attack with leg kicks. Muhammad goes for another takedown late but Mein again is strong in his defense. 10-9 Mein.
Round 2. Muhammad clinches and looks for the elusive takedown. He briefly gets Mein down twice but Mein pops right back up in no time. Mein lands a straight right hand back on the feet. Mein is bleeding above the left eye in a bad spot. Muhammad utilizes a few combinations of punches and is doing better in the striking in the second. Mein goes for a takedown but it is blocked. Muhammad then looks for one of his own. He finally gets it in the final minute and ends up in butterfly guard. Muhammad lands some punches and tries to pass into mount unsuccessfully. 10-9 Muhammad.
Round 3. They start out trading punches. Muhammad goes for a takedown but Mein prevents it. Mein threatens with a kimura and goes to the ground to try for it. He uses the kimura to reverse into top position but then loses it. Muhammad quickly scrambles to regain top position and takes Mein’s back. Muhammad locks in a body triangle and goes for the rear naked choke submission. Muhammad controls the back and lands a series of punches. Finally, Mein unlocks Muhammad’s legs with his hands and gets back to his feet. Muhammad makes Mein pay with a few knees there. Mein goes for a desperation kimura but can’t get it. Mein gets a brief takedown but Muhammad stands up in a hurry. 10-9 Muhammad, 29-28 Muhammad.
Winner: Belal Muhammad, unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27).
It wasn’t pretty, but Muhammad utilized a smart game plan to keep Mein out of his game and get the judges’ decision. For Mein, it was another disappointment and his third straight loss.
Amanda Nunes, top, battles Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 196.