Besides being a renowned fighter herself, Yana Kunitskaya is best known for being Thiago Santos’ partner and she has been by his side for quite a long time
The UFC light heavyweight division witnessed one of the greatest title clashes in the history of the company, when Jiri Prochazka and Glover Teixeira clashed at UFC 275. The dynamics of the division has taken a turn for good, with a fresh dose of excitement seen after a long time since Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier days. Between October 2021 to June 2022, the title has changed hands twice now, and the division is currently reigned by Polish fighter Jiri Prochazka. To add to the excitement, fresh talents are emerging in the division, and two of them compete this weekend. Former title challenger Thiago Santos and rising challenger Jamahal Hill will clash at UFC Vegas 59.
Through all thick and thin, his partner and fellow fighter Yana Kunitskaya has been with him through all.
Who is Thiago Santos’ partner, Yana Kunitskaya?
A Russian mixed martial artist, Iana “Yana” Kunitskaya competes in the bantamweight division in the UFC. As of November 23, 2021, she is ranked seventh in the UFC women’s bantamweight rankings.
Yana Kunitskaya was born in 1989, in the city of Murmansk, Murmansk Oblast, in northwestern Russia. Her mother, Olga Kunitskaya, was a professional gymnast and her father, Joseph, was a professional skier. She also has a younger sister Victoria. Since her childhood days Yana has been involved in martial arts, starting with taekwondo at preschool age, and won numerous tournaments among both girls and boys, with many fights ending in knockouts. At 12 years old, she began competing in hand-to-hand combat, and participated in a large number of fights without suffering a defeat. When she was 16 years old, Kunitskaya went to live and study in St. Petersburg, and entered the SPGUFK team at Lesgaft National State University of Physical Education, Sport and Health, Department of Boxing. At age 18, she started practicing mixed martial arts (MMA).
Kunitskaya announced that she was pregnant with her first child on August 9, 2012, . In August 2013, she announced the end of her sports career and eventually transitioned to coaching, but she came out of retirement three years later. She then signed a contract with the Invicta Fighting Championships (IFC or Invicta FC) in which only females compete.
Yana entered the UFC with a record of 10-3, and competed against then featherweight champion Cris Cyborg. She lost the fight via TKO in the first round.
Kunitskaya is currently in a relationship with fellow UFC athlete, Thiago Santos. She has a son, Adam, from a previous relationship. Santos and Yan got engaged in December 2020. Kunitskaya announced on August 16, 2021, that the couple were expecting their first child together, leading to some fans speculating that Kunitskaya was pregnant during her fight against Irene Aldana, which had taken place just a month before, though Kunitskaya denied these claims, and female fighters in Nevada, where the fight took place, are administered pregnancy tests prior to each fight as part of the standard medical screening.
On Monday, April 25, Yana and Santos announced the birth of their daughter Alisa Santos.
Yana Kunitskaya’s partner Thiago Santos
A professional fighter since 2010, Brazilian light heavyweight fighter Thiago Santos made his entry into the UFC by competing in The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 2. As of March 14, 2022, he is #6 in the UFC light heavyweight rankings.
Santos had a rough childhood, being born into a poverty-stricken family in Rio de Janeiro. In early childhood, he suffered from an undiagnosed disease that spawned growing cysts in his stomach, but which were surgically removed. During one of the occasional floods in his city, Santos’ family lost their belongings and after a period of homelessness, they settled in the notorious neighborhood of Cidade de Deus. Unfortunately, Santos’ father died just days after his mixed martial arts debut in 2010.
Santos trained in capoeira for eight years and was a Brazilian army paratrooper, before starting MMA. He made his professional MMA debut in October 2010.
In March 2013, it was announced that Santos was part of the cast of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 2. In the opening round, Santos defeated Gil Freitas by majority decision to get into the TUF house. He was the last pick when it came to the coaches’ pick, ending up on Team Werdum. In the elimination round, Santos first faced Pedro Iriê and won by unanimous decision. In the quarterfinals, he faced eventual season winner Leonardo Santos and lost via unanimous decision.
After going undefeated at 3–0 in Light Heavyweight bouts, Santos went on to challenge Jon Jones for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship in the main event at UFC 239 on July 6, 2019. He lost the back-and-forth fight via split decision. Despite the loss, Santos was the first fighter in MMA history to win a judge’s scorecard against Jones.
Yana Kunitskaya kids
Yana has one son Adam from a previous relationship, and one daughter named Alisa with fellow fighter and partner Thiago Santos.
Yana Kunitskaya career and net worth
Yana Kunitskaya is a UFC women’s bantamweight fighter and has a net worth of approximately one million dollars
FAQs about Yana Kunitskaya
When was Yana Kunitskaya born?
Yana Kunitskaya was born on November 11th, 1989
Who are Yana Kunitskaya’s parents?
Yana’s mother, Olga Kunitskaya, was a professional gymnast and her father, Joseph, was a professional skier.
When did Thiago Santos and Yana Kunitskaya marry?
The pair haven’t married yet.
More UFC news
Follow our dedicated UFC page for instant UFC news and updates