NATAL, Brazil -- UFC Fight Night 38 was the night of the underdogs, and Thiago Santos was maybe the biggest upset of the card.
Thiago Santos went 1-2 at TUF Brazil 2 reality show in 2013, but got a chance in the UFC as a late replacement at UFC 163. Cezar Ferreira was too much for him, and he lost via submission in 47 seconds.
Santos got another shot in the Octagon against Ronny Markes, who was 3-1 under the UFC banner. "Marreta" was a huge underdog, but he took only 53 seconds to win with a vicious kick to the body.
"My strategy was to get the win no matter what," Santos told the media after his win in Brazil. "I trained that kick a lot, but I expected a longer fight.
"Ronny is really strong and talented, he has a good wrestling game, but that kick didn’t land by luck. I trained it a lot. I realized he was hurt and went for the finish."
Proving doubters wrong was also one of his missions at UFN 38.
"This win is really important for me," Santos said. "I needed it to prove to myself and everybody else that didn’t know me and thought I wasn’t good after my UFC debut against ‘Mutante’. I need to shut up some people that said I didn’t deserve to be in the UFC. I proved that I deserve it, and I want more."
Natal-based Markes wanted the win for his friends in Rio Grande do Norte, but praised "Marreta" for the quick win.
"He confused me because he kicked with his left kick and he’s right-handed," Markes said after the fight. "I tried to breathe, but I couldn’t. He did a great job."
Markes, who failed to make weight for the middleweight bout and suffered his second knockout loss in a row in the UFC, guarantees he will be back stronger after the pair of setbacks.
"I always say that I see opportunities in the difficulties," he said. "I’ll go after it now."