Anyone watching UFC 239 on Saturday night will have seen a true warrior performance from Thiago Santos in his split decision defeat to Jon Jones, despite losing by split decision in a thrilling encounter.
— Greg Beacham (@gregbeacham) July 7, 2019
The 35 year old is one of very few to have brought Jones the distance in the UFC and was the first to score a win on a judge's scorecard against the controversial American fighter. As the fight went on, it was clear that Santos had an injury in his left knee, which he confirmed in the post fight press conference, saying he felt something give way the 1st round.
Today, it was revealed just how severe that something was. According to ESPN, Santos has torn his ACL, MCL, PCL and his meniscus in his left knee. If this happened late in the first round as he said, it meant he went at least 20 minutes in a fight with one of the UFC's top stars on a completely busted knee and still nearly won the fight. To add to the madness, his coach also claims he has a parial ligament tear in his other knee.
Through the fight, Santos kept kicking Jones, despite the pain he was experience in his knee. His won the fourth round on two scorecards, and even took the fifth for one of the judges.
— Arizona sports fan (@GlendaleCards) July 7, 2019
Thiago Santos tore pretty much every ligament in his knee, kept kicking, finished the fight, almost won, and walked out on his own when Jon jones damn near got carried... shits crazy he’s a beast sad he will prolly never be back the same
— Binx Wit A Beer (@CallMeBiinX) July 9, 2019
Ultimately, it wasn't enough and Jones walked out having retained his UFC Light Heavyweight Title. Santos however will have picked up a lot of new fans for his endeavour, though it's hard to see how he comes back at full strength from this given his age and the severity of the injuries.