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Thiago Santos suffered extensive damage to left knee against Jon Jones at UFC 239, out for rest of 2019

Thiago Santos needs surgery after his 25-minute clash with UFC champion Jon Jones.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The extent of Thiago Santos’ left knee injuries make his UFC 239 performance even more remarkable.

“Marreta” went five rounds with light heavyweight champion Jon Jones in Las Vegas on Saturday night, losing via split decision. On Monday, an MRI exam showed that the left knee meniscus and all its ligaments are completely torn, his team told MMA Fighting. Combate first reported the news.

Santos’ right knee, which needed surgery earlier this year, also suffered damage during the fight as the Brazilian compensated for his left knee injuries, his team told MMA Fighting. Santos will do more tests on his right knee to determine if he needs surgery on that knee as well.

The Rio de Janeiro native, who fought three times in 2017 and five times in 2018, won’t return to the Octagon until mid-2020.

At the post-fight press conference at the T-Mobile Arena, Santos discussed how the knee injury affected his performance during the 25-minute bout.

“The fight was going exactly as we trained,” Santos said. “It was a good fight. I was seeing everything, all of his strikes, and was conscious during the fight. My knee really bothered me during the fight. I did everything I could in the conditions I was. It’s a fight. We’re never 100 percent sure that we will win, but I’m satisfied. I left everything in there even after injuring my knee in the first round.

“I fought four rounds on a southpaw stance, unable to move like I usually move, unable to throw the strikes I usually throw. I didn’t shock the world because of those circumstances, but I did what I could do in those conditions and I’m satisfied.”

“I think the fight was really close,” he added. “I think I hit him more than he hit me, but I don’t know. In the end I was very disappointed for what happened with my knee and that I wasn’t able to give my 100 percent.”

After sharing the cage with arguably the greatest MMA fighter of all times on basically one leg, “Marreta” feels the 205-pound king is not unbeatable.

“I still think (of him) what I thought before fighting him, that he’s a human being, a man like any other man that feels pain, bleeds, feels the strikes,” Santos said. “No one is unbeatable. I had a lot of good moments in the fight and I think I could prove that he’s not unbeatable tonight, that it’s doable.

“I’m happy to get where I got, to challenge for the belt and fight five rounds when many people said I wouldn’t get past the second round. Even Jones himself said that if I went past the second round I wouldn’t survive and I proved it, so I’m happy.”

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