Just days after it was announced that the UFC’s September 22 return to Sao Paulo, Brazil would be headlined by a light heavyweight bout between Jimi Manuwa and Glover Teixeira, Teixeira was forced out of the fight an injury. From there, the UFC began a frantic search for a replacement opponent for Manuwa. One of the options in this regard is middleweight knockout artist Thiago Santos, who has recently been flirting with a move up to Manuwa’s 205-pound light heavyweight home.
According to a report from MMA Brasil’s Tarso Doria, however, Manuwa turned down this prospective bout with Thiago Santos.
Thiago Marreta was offered to fight Jimi Manuwa at UFC Sao Paulo's main event, but Manuwa declined to fight him, sources tell @mmabrasil's new writer @TarsoDoria. #MMA #UFC #UFCSP #UFCSaoPaulo https://t.co/jzxtiP5ATQ
— Matheus Costa (@MatheusCostaMMA) August 15, 2018
“Thiago Marreta was offered to fight Jimi Manuwa at UFC Sao Paulo’s main event, but Manuwa declined to fight him, sources tell [MMA Brasil’s] new writer [Tarso Dora],” said MMA Brasil editor Matheus Costa on Twitter.
A new Tweet from Thiago Santos himself seems to validate this report. In this Tweet, the Brazilian called out Jimi Manuwa for turning down the fight, implying that Manuwa is worried about sustaining a third loss in a row.
— Thiago Marreta (@TMarretaMMA) August 15, 2018
Jimi Manuwa last fought in March, when he lost an action packed decision to surging Polish contender Jan Blachowicz. In his next most recent bout, which occurred in July of 2017, he was knocked out by Swiss contender Volkan Oezdemir. These losses were preceded by back-to-back knockouts of dangerous contenders Corey Anderson Ovince Saint Preux. Manuwa is 17-4 overall.
Thiago Santos, meanwhile, last fought at UFC 227 on August 4, when he defeated Kevin Holland by unanimous decision. With this win, he rebounded from a knockout loss to former World Series of Fighting champion David Branch. He’s 18-6 overall.
Does a fight between Thiago Santos and Jimi Manuwa interest you? Who do you think would win?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 8/14/2018.