UFC Heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic defends his belt for the second time against former champion Junior Dos Santos in the main event of UFC 211 on May 13th, 2017 at the American Airlines Arena in Dallas, Texas.

The bout will be a rematch of the headliner of UFC on Fox 13 in 2014 where Dos Santos beat Miocic via unanimous decision in a back and forth slugfest that earned Fight of The night Honors. That defeat was the last setback in Miocic’s career. He’s been on a tear ever since.

Breaking The Curse

Miocic earned worldwide recognition by breaking the Curse of Cleveland. He became Cleveland’s first major sport world champion in 52 years. Stipe earned that distinction by knocking out then champion Fabricio Werdum in the latter’s own backyard in Brazil at UFC 198. After that, Miocic successfully defended the UFC Heavyweight title with a first round knockout of Alistair Overeem at UFC 203. Miocic’s last five victories have been by knockout, with the last three all coming in the very first round.

Dos Santos, meanwhile, is coming off a solid victory over the surging Ben Rothwell at UFC Fight Night 86 in April of 2016. Two fights earlier, Dos Santos beat Miocic on points. Junior is famously known as the first fighter to beat Cain Velasquez, although he lost his next two bouts against Cardio Cain. His fight resume is a list of the who’s who of the heavyweight division, while Dos Santos is looking at one final crack at the world title.

The Odds and Prediction

Miocic vs. Dos Santos is a tough one to pick. The odds have installed Miocic a -175 favorite against Junior’s +150 but in the UFC’s heavyweight division, but it takes just one punch to change destiny.

Miocic is a striking machine who averages 5.03 significant strikes landed per minute at an accuracy of 50.4%. That’s dangerous, considering he packs tremendous power in both hands. Twelve of Miocic’s 16 victories have been by knockout, so his strategy won’t come as a surprise for Junior Dos Santos. He does have decent wrestling and grappling but it’s a known fact that his haymakers are his bread and butter.

Likewise, Dos Santos is an equally excellent striker. In fact, he’s been long considered to be the best boxer in the UFC’s heavyweight division. He averages 4.89 significant strikes landed per minute and does so with an accuracy of 48%. Dos Santos has 12 KOs in 18 victories with three of his last five wins by stoppage. Stylistically, this is hard to pick because these are the two top strikers at heavyweight. But given that Cigano is now 33, has gone 3-3 in his last six bouts and has suffered knockout losses in two of his last three losses, it’s fair to wonder if he’s in a good spot here. Not only has been Dos Santos hit and miss lately, he also hasn’t been too active with just one fight in each of the last three years.

Dos Santos is still one of the elite strikers in the business but he’s facing a raging bull in Miocic. It’s Stipe’s time now and while we may see another back and forth war, Miocic will likely end up getting his revenge against Dos Santos. We’re picking Stipe Miocic to successfully defend the UFC Heavyweight title for a second time this year.

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