What’s next for Thiago Santos and Johnny Walker after UFC Vegas 38?

Mark Hunt

In the main event of UFC Vegas 38, top-10 light heavyweights collided as Thiago Santos was looking to return to the win column opposite Johnny Walker.

Santos entered the fight coming off a lackluster decision loss to Aleksandar Rakic at UFC 259. Prior to that, he was submitted by Glover Teixeira and before that, lost a split decision to Jon Jones for the belt. Walker, meanwhile, hadn’t fought in a year but was coming off a TKO win over Ryan Spann to get back into the win column.

In the end, it was Santos winning a lackluster decision. Both Santos and Walker were hesitant and patient and didn’t throw much volume. Now, following UFC Vegas 38, here’s what I think should be next for both Santos and Walker.

Thiago Santos

Thiago Santos needed this win as he revealed this was the last fight of his contract and had he lost, the UFC would’ve let him go. Although it wasn’t the most exciting fight many were expecting, he still did enough and showed he can be technical enough to win a decision.

Now, after the event, the big question is whether or not the UFC decides to re-sign Santos. He has had two straight fights that weren’t exciting and is 37-years-old, so there is a chance the promotion decides to let him walk in free agency.

If the UFC decides to keep Santos, a logical next fight is against the winner of Magomed Ankalaev vs. Volkan Oezdemir at UFC 267. Santos is ranked fifth while Ankalaev and Oezdemir are seventh and eighth. The Brazilian still needs to fight below him at least one more time before getting a top-five opponent. It also should be a fun fight on paper and a fight that can headline a Fight Night card in early-2022.

Johnny Walker

Johnny Walker said he wouldn’t be as wild as he once was and he stuck to that, as he was patient and technical for five rounds, but it wasn’t enough to win a decision. Now, he’s back to the drawing board to figure out what’s next for him.

Walker is now just 1-3 in his last four and will need to fight someone below him. He still has KO power and good striking to make a run to the top of the division, but there are holes in his game he needs to work on.

In his next fight, he should face the winner of Jimmy Crute vs. Jamahal Hill. Crute and Walker were supposed to fight in March and since then, the two have taken shots at one another. It’s also a fight that on paper should produce some fireworks and a fight that can be on the main card of a pay-per-view near the end of the first quarter of 2022.

What do you think should be next for Thiago Santos and Johnny Walker after UFC Vegas 38?

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