Thiago Santos expecting “fireworks” against Rob Wilkinson at PFL 1 but confident he will finish him: “I can finish anyone, so it’s what I’m going to do”

By Cole Shelton - March 28, 2023

Thiago Santos is set to make his PFL debut on Saturday against the reigning champion Rob Wilkinson.

Thiago Santos

Santos asked for his UFC release and was granted it so he could sign with the PFL. The news caught many by surprise but at 39 years old, the Brazilian said he wanted a new challenge given he doesn’t have much time left.

“At this point in my career, I don’t have years and years to do something different,” Santos said on Just Scrap Radio on “I decided to do it at this moment and do something new, new goals, new projects. PFL gave me this opportunity which is why I’m here.”

Once Santos signed with PFL to be a part of the tournament, he wasn’t sure who he would face in his debut. But when he was offered to take on Wilkinson – last year’s champ – he was thrilled with the chance to prove just how good he is.

“I was open to fighting anyone, but it couldn’t be better. To get the last light heavyweight champion, I’m very excited about that,” Santos said. “A big fight, he’s a tough opponent and he’s making me very excited and working very hard.”

Against Rob Wilkinson at PFL 1, Thiago Santos expects the Aussie to mostly strike with him, but won’t be surprised if he tries to wrestle.

Yet, even if Wilkinson does wrestle, Santos is confident his power will be too much, and he will eventually finish the Aussie.

“He is a striker, he is aggressive. He moves forward and I like this kind of fight, it’s going to be fireworks,” Santos explained. “I’m going out there to win and I will do my best and I’m ready for that… I think he is going to strike with me, but I believe at some point he will try and take me down. But, no question, 100 percent, I can finish anyone. I can finish anyone, so it’s what I’m going to do.”

If Santos does finish Wilkinson, he knows that sets him up to have success this year in the tourney. He also knows winning the belt and getting the $1 million is massive for him personally as well as his legacy.

“Man, it will be good for my family. Become the PFL light heavyweight champion, have my belt, and get $1 million. That’s it,” Santos said.

Do you think Thiago Santos will finish Rob Wilkinson at PFL 1?


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