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UFC Fight Night 80 results: Thiago Santos turns it up against Elias Theodorou

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Elias Theodorou came out with a solid approach in his UFC Fight Night 80 middleweight bout against Thiago Santos on Thursday.

Theodorou (12-1) peppered Santos early and often in the first round at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, establishing control.

But then Santos shifted things into another gear and "The Spartan" didn't have an answer. Santos tired Theodorou out and turned up the heat in the final round to earn a unanimous decision. Santos won on scores of 29-28 and a pair of 29-27s as the Rio de Janeiro native won his third straight fight.

"I knew Elias was a very tough important, he won TUF, he was undefeated," said Santos (12-3). "But I wore him down and I hope the crowd enjoyed it."

After conceding the first round, Santos turned the fight in the clinch in the second. Theodorou, the former TUF: Nations winner, kept working for takedowns, but Santos belted him with knees and elbows to the head and body.

In the third, Santos simply brutalized his tiring opponent, opening a huge cut on Theodorou's forehead. Twice the round was halted to check the cut, but Theodorou gamely held on until the final horn as he suffered his first career loss.