The UFC women’s flyweight division, which currently looks mundane without serious contention to Valentina Shevchenko, now has a prized prospect – Taila Santos.
The 25-year-old earned her second successive victory in the UFC on UFC Fight Night: Thompson vs. Neal, comfortably overpowering a tough opponent in Gillian Robertson.
Blue belt in mixed martial arts, Taila Santos picked up an interest in combat sports at the age of 16 when her father – a Muay Thai coach – introduced her to the discipline.
Prior to that, Santos was fascinated with playing soccer along with the boys. However, after developing an interest in Muay Thai, Santos’ father enlisted her in Muay Thai tournaments, where she achieved fair success.
The 25-year-old then turned her attention towards Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and resolutely thought of competing in professional mixed martial arts.
Santos eventually went on to fight at Aspera FC, and became a champion there without being defeated once.
Taila Santos defeats Gillian Robertson
In only her third UFC outing, Taila Santos defeated her No. 13 ranked opponent, Gillian Robertson.
Both the fighters were not originally meant to face each other, as their opponents were forced to pull out after testing positive for COVID-19.
Robertson entered into the bout as favorite, but Santos’ superior striking game was too much for the Canadian. Best known for her grappling skills, Robertson tried to submit Santos via armbar in all three rounds, but the latter would repeatedly scramble out of danger and land heavy punches on Robertson. The judges scored the contest 30-26, 30-26, 29-28 in the Brazilian’s favour.
Before Santos found her way into the UFC, she was undefeated at Aspera FC, and boasted a phenomenal record of 16-0.
Santos put on an impressive display against Estafani Almeida in the Dana White Contenders Series, going on to make her UFC debut in a losing effort against Mara Romero Borella.
She then faced Molly McCann in July 2020, earning her first victory in the promotion.
Santos is considered to have mastered her striking skills, and with this win over Robertson, it is likely that she has catapulted her way into the top 15 of the women’s bantamweight division.
Published 20 Dec 2020, 05:59 IST