After suffering the first loss of her career in her UFC debut, Taila Santos was anxious to prove she was worthy of the contract she earned on The Contender Series.
At UFC on ESPN 13, Santos not only defeated veteran flyweight Molly McCann but she put on a dominant performance on the feet and on the ground to win a lopsided decision after three rounds. All three judges gave Santos the fight with 30-27 scores as she gets her first UFC win while moving to 16-1 overall
“I was really nervous in my UFC debut. I didn’t show 10 percent of the fighter I was,” Santos said post fight.
“This fight gives me a lot of confidence. Having a win over her really gives me a lot of confidence.”
With both fighters looking to stand and trade, Santos showed a nasty kicking game while trying to chop down McCann by targeting the legs and the body. Santos was on the attack early and often, battering McCann with knees from inside the Muay Thai clinch as well.
The striking exchanges eventually gave way to some grappling attempts as McMann looked to close the distance on her opponent but it was Santos who quickly took advantage of the position.
With just over two minutes remaining in the second round, Santos secured a takedown as she advanced positions to look for submissions and then punishing McMann with some severe ground and pound.
Still, McMann was able to survive the onslaught, which allowed her an opportunity to attempt a comeback late in the fight. The British fighter came out firing with five minutes remaining but she was still struggling to reach Santos in the exchanges.
In return, Santos stayed composed in the pocket, connecting with long, straight punches and eventually dragging the fight back to the ground again. While she was obviously up on the scorecards, Santos kept looking for the finish until the fight came to an end.
She may have come up short in her first UFC appearance but Santos definitely showed she’s a force to be reckoned with in the women’s flyweight division with her win on Wednesday night.