UFC on ESPN 3 Preview: Francis Ngannou vs. Junior Dos Santos
A barn burner between Francis Ngannou (13-3) and Junior dos Santos (21-5) will headline the UFC’s third visit to Minneapolis for UFC on ESPN 3 on June 29. A win for either fighter could see them challenge for the heavyweight title next.
Nitrogen Sports Blog takes a look at the pivotal Ngannou vs. Dos Santos encounter featuring two of the UFC’s biggest knockout artists.
Breakdown of Francis Ngannou vs. Junior Dos Santos fight on June 29
Where: Target Center, Minneapolis
When: June 30, 2019
Line: Francis Ngannou (-242) vs. Junior Dos Santos (+210)
Ngannou looks to be back to his old destructive self ahead of this clash. “The Predator” seemed to have lost his confidence after getting outclassed by former champion Stipe Miocic last year. He then fought to a draw with Derrick Lewis which ended in a unanimous decision loss for Ngannou.
However, he has won his last two fights, including first-round finishes over the red-hot Curtis Blaydes and former champion Cain Velasquez earlier this year.
He will look to add another former champion to his list of victims in Dos Santos, who is enjoying a career resurgence of late. “Cigano” has won his last three fights, including knockouts victories over Tai Tuivasa and Lewis. One glaring question at the Ngannou vs. Dos Santos fight is whether Cigaon can handle the power of his opponent.
While everyone in the heavyweight division has power, Ngannou seems to be on another level. This is highlighted by nine of his 13 professional wins coming by knockout, with most of them ending in devastating fashions in his favor.
Most would expect him to do the same to Dos Santos, who has repeatedly shown in the past a tendency to fall back into a corner whenever he gets pressured. Make no mistake about it: the Ngannou vs. Dos Santos fight is going to be a showcase of brute force between two hulking fighters.
That’s not to say Dos Santos doesn’t have power either. After all, he has a higher finishing rate than Ngannou with 71 percent compared to his opponent’s 69 percent, and he’s also finished his last two opponents.
Ngannou’s chin hasn’t been tested much, but he showed he’s a tough cookie to crack by managing to finish his fight against Miocic on his feet.
The Cameroonian-Frenchman also absorbs just 1.94 significant strikes per minute on average in the UFC compared to the older Dos Santos, who absorbs 3.07 and has a lot of mileage in him.
It’s hard to see Dos Santos knocking Ngannou out — but there are other ways he can still win. The Brazilian’s wrestling ability and jiu-jitsu is often overlooked, and if he follows the same game plan as Miocic, he could possibly tire Ngannou out who has shown to struggle when the fight goes to the ground.
This is a hard fight to predict, simply based on the recent resurgence of Dos Santos. Given that this is a fight scheduled to go five rounds, Dos Santos has a good chance of getting a decision victory if he survives Ngannou’s onslaught.
Of course, Ngannou will be ready to go the distance, too, but he’s not going to hesitate either when an opportunity to knock Dos Santos out arises at any point of their bout.
The excitement for the Ngannou vs. Dos Santos showdown is peaking right now, with it just a few days away. Thinking of betting on the fight? Make sure to read our sports betting guide for some tips on how to wager on combat sports.