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This isn’t your typical main event, but it’s a really fun one. Both men are pure strikers, who have high finishing rates. Thiago Santos is a kickboxer, who features heavy hands and devastating leg kicks. Since joining the UFC in 2013, Santos has racked up thirteen wins, eleven of which have come via knockout. With good cardio and durability, Santos is a tough out for anyone who stands across from him. The same could be said about Johnny Walker, with a caveat. That being that Walker, while a proficient knockout artist, has been known to be a wildman. Which caught up to him, as both Nikita Krylov and Corey Anderson were able to tame him. With excellent size and long limbs, Walker is dynamic, yet accurate on the feet. Walker is also very athletic, often exploding on opponents with flying knees and spinning attacks. The knock on Walker besides being wild, is that he has no ground game. At least in this fight, he shouldn’t need to worry about that.
As for a prediction, I’m going to side with Walker. While I could see either man winning via knockout, I just can’t behind someone who literally had to relearn how to walk after surgery. Obviously Santos is still dangerous, but I do believe he’s not the same fighter. Walker however, I’d have to believe is going to be more tempered than usual in the octagon. His wild style has gotten him far, but it’s also halted his progress. With a full camp at SBG Ireland, I expect them to teach him to manage distance and fight at range like fellow gym mate Connor McGregor does. With all that size and athleticism, if Walker can be fundamentally sound, he’s a bonafide contender. In this fight, I have him winning via TKO.