The Ultimate Fighter is designed as a show for young prospects, but every once in a while, a veteran sneaks through and carves out a place for himself. That was the path taken by Leo Santos, a contestant on TUF Brazil 2.
Santos made his MMA debut over a decade ago, fighting Takanori Gomi to a decision. Before Saturday night's UFC on FUEL 10 show, that had been his most high-profile fight to date. Since then, he's competed in Shooto and Sengoku, but has never really made a significant impact on the world MMA scene.
After Saturday night, he will have the chance to finally do so. The 33-year-old captured the TUF Brazil 2 title, forcing 21-year-old William Patolino to tap out to a second-round arm triangle choke.
Santos earned the finish at 4:43 of the round.
Santos came into the fight believed to have a big edge on the ground, but much of the fight was contested standing. Patalino did successfully take down Santos on two occasions and performed well with accurate strikes. But Santos changed tactics in the second. Eventually, he got Patolino to the mat with about 75 seconds left in the round, and needed two tries at the arm triangle to finish off his opponent.
Santos (12-3) hadn't been able to finish a fight during the TUF tournament until the final, winning all three of his previous fights by decision. Patalino had won two of his three tourney bouts by KO.
The loss was the first of Patalino's pro career. He's now 6-1.