Former UFC heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos returns after a 14-month absence from the Octagon to face rising heavyweight Stipe Miocic in the main event of UFC on Fox at the U.S. Airways Arena in Phoenix, Arizona on December 13th.

Third Time’s the Charm

Dos Santos and Miocic were previously scheduled to face each other at UFC 173 but that fight was moved to the following week and during the finale of The Ultimate Fighter Brazil 3. Once again, the bout was moved, this time it was Dos Santos who pulled out because of a hand injury. Finally, a third date has been set and with a couple of days to go, it seems that the third time is the charm for this much-awaited contest.

After winning the UFC heavyweight title in November 2011, Junior Dos Santos has won just two of four fights. But the two losses during that period were to Cain Velasquez during their rematch at UFC 155 where Junior lost the title and during their rubber match at UFC 166 where Velasquez dominated him for five full rounds. Despite the slump, Dos Santos is ranked #2 in the Heavyweight division because of the thinness of the weight class.

Rising Star of Heavyweight Division

Opposite Dos Santos is the UFC’s #4 ranked heavyweight Stipe Miocic. The 32-year old native of Croatia is the UFC’s fastest rising star in the UFC’s heavyweight division. Miocic won his first nine fights and eight of those wins were by stoppage. However, Miocic was knocked out by Stefan Struve at UFC on Fuel in September of 2012, ending his winning streak. Miocic has bounced back stronger by racking up three consecutive wins leading into Saturday night.

Miocic is a well-rounded fighter, being a former Golden Gloves champion and an NCAA Division 1 Wrestler at Cleveland State University. Before coming over to the UFC, Miocic was the undefeated NAAFS Heavyweight champion.

Who Wins it

Dos Santos is a -310 favorite in this one with Miocic a +230 underdog primarily because Junior does have more power and speed. By the looks of their record, this one should be a striking match-up all the way to the finish. While Miocic cannot be counted out with his own power and elite striking, Dos Santos has a more complete arsenal of moves which include low kicks, reverse elbows, and the newly discovered spinning kick which knocked out Mark Hunt cold.

Miocic will have the advantage if this fight goes to the ground because of his wrestling background, but it’s highly unlikely that he can put Cigano down on his back. While Dos Santos may not be as good as a grappler, he is hard to take down not only because of his size but because he is a very good defensive wrestler. The pick here is Dos Santos by knockout late in the third round.

Related Articles
Leave Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *