Former UFC heavyweight Thiago Santos joined the PFL roster. The knockout artist is set to make his promotional debut in 2023.
Thiago ‘Marreta’ Santos still had bouts left on his UFC contract. However, he and the promotion have both agreed to part ways.
Santos just signed an exclusive deal with the PFL and will compete in the 205 pound category – the light heavyweight division. The 38-year-old will make his debut next year and will compete in a season-format tournament with the championship purse of $1 million.
The news was broken by PFL president Ray Sefo during an interview with ESPN.
“We are very excited to bring in Thiago Santos to the PFL light heavyweight division. He is known throughout the MMA world as a guy who delivers exciting fights, and I’m looking forward to seeing his elite knockout power up close.” Refo said on Thursday.
Thiago Santos’ last UFC bout was back in August when he headlined UFC Vegas 59 with Jamahal Hill. The pair clashed fiercely for 4 rounds before Hill knocked out the former title challenger, earning them a $50k bonus.
The Brazilian had been competing exclusively for the UFC since 2013, and has several renowned names on his resume including such as Uriah Hall, Gegard Mousasi, Jan Blachowicz, Glover Teixeira, and a title shot against Jon Jones in 2019.
Following a loss against Jones, Santos pretty much went downhill. He had 5 after the title shot where he only won one against Johnny Walker in 2021. So far, Santos has a professional MMA record consisting of 22 wins and 11 losses.
“It was an amicable separation with the UFC. Thiago is very grateful for everything the UFC did for him, and he’s very grateful toward the PFL for signing with him. He’s looking forward to winning a million dollars.” Thiago Santos’ manager Alex Davis told ESPN.
The 2023 PFL Light Heavyweight division just got more exciting! Welcome to the League @TMarretaMMA! pic.twitter.com/9SCzmWw2Aa
— PFL (@PFLMMA) September 8, 2022
Ezra Samuel is a passionate freelance writer with a particular love for covering MMA news. His interest in the sport dates back to his college days, and he has since established himself as a respected voice in the MMA community. Over the years, Ezra has contributed his writing to a variety of digital outlets, including the popular site calfkicker.