UFC 211 Predictions: Will Stipe Miocic Avenge Defeat to Junior Dos Santos?
On May 13th, Stipe Miocic will be looking to defend the UFC’s heavyweight title for a second time, and he’ll have to do so, against one of the two men who’ve defeated him.
That man, of course, is Junior Dos Santos, who crossed paths with Miocic in December of 2014, and earned a tightly contested, decision win over the now, reigning champ. Since dos Santos has fought just two times, and has gone 1-1 during that stretch, a rematch with Miocic wasn’t initially on many people’s radars. But, with Cain Velasquez recovering from surgery, and because Miocic has already taken out other top contenders like Fabricio Werdum and Alistair Overeem, the timing was right for round two.
Can JDS, however, end the four fight winning streak of Miocic? And reclaim the heavyweight crown he lost to Velasquez back in 2012?
Keys to Victory for Dos Santos
It’s no secret that Dos Santos is one of the best strikers in the heavyweight division, and that his boxing pedigree is top tier. Although the 33 year-old hasn’t recorded a stoppage win since 2013, when he bombed out Mark Hunt with a spinning head kick, his striking led him to decision wins over Ben Rothwell and the aforementioned Miocic.
The Brazilian is also very agile for his size, and Dos Santos has outstanding, defensive wrestling. Case in point, according to Fight Metric, “Cigano” has defended 80% of the takedowns opponents have attempted to score.
So, if Dos Santos hopes to end the reign of Miocic, the heavy handed fighter will need to move laterally, keep his distance, and fire off punches. As he does, JDS will need to be wary of Miocic’s big right, and of course, the takedown.
Keys to Victory for Miocic
Miocic’s hands likely haven’t received the same amount of praise as “Cigano’s”, but the champion’s striking game is feared nonetheless. After all, this is a man who floored Werdum with a booming right, while moving backwards, and Miocic’s fists quickly put away Andrei Arlovski.
What makes Miocic a double threat, of course, is his wrestling, which puts his vicious top game in motion. The Ohio fighter’s ground-and-pound was a nightmare for Mark Hunt, during their five round battle, and it quickly put away Overeem in September.
So, although JDS has fantastic takedown defense, Miocic would be wise to put his wrestling to work. Even if he can’t get JDS to the ground, it will have “Cigano” thinking about the takedown attempt, and this could open striking opportunities for the champ.
Miocic will also have to come in calm and collected. If he’s too aggressive, too eager to avenge his defeat, then he could get caught with a counter early on.
It will be interesting to see how each man approaches this fight. Although Dos Santos bested Miocic the first time around, it was a very competitive bout, and the latter’s done nothing but win since.
If Miocic doesn’t over commit, mixes in takedown attempts and engages the clinch, then look for the 34 year-old champ to earn a decision win. If Miocic can score several takedowns early on, then a late, fourth or fifth round stoppage could also materialize. Bottom line, you have to favor the champ in this one.
If you’re interested in wagering some money on the bout, or any others, William Hill offers full contact betting.
The May 13th, UFC 211 card, which will take place in Dallas, Texas.