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It’s third time lucky for Francis Ngannou and Junior dos Santos as the two heavyweights go to war at UFC on ESPN 3 this weekend.
Junior dos Santos
Originally scheduled for UFC 215 just under two years ago and then for next month’s UFC 239, Francis ‘The Predator’ Ngannou vs Junior ‘Cigano’ dos Santos will ultimately be settled at UFC on ESPN 3 this week. It’s a top-of-the-rankings clash between the #2 and #3 contenders in the heavyweight division.
With champion Daniel Cormier taking on Stipe Miocic in August, the winner of this fight is set to be in with a shot at gold either before the year’s out, or more likely in early 2020. Both men boast plenty of experience in big fights, although Dos Santos has fought nine times more than Ngannou in the UFC.
The Predator comes into this bout on the back of his sub-30 second victory over former champ Cain Velasquez, who suffered a knee injury that left him unable to continue. That made it back-to-back wins for the Cameroonian, after he fell to successive defeats against #1 contender Miocic and Derrick Lewis.
Dos Santos meanwhile is on a three-fight winning streak, following his second round TKO of Lewis in March. Cigano’s last defeat was also against Miocic, who avenged his loss from two and a half years earlier. Should Miocic get the better of Cormier, we’ll be in line for the completion of a mouthwatering trilogy with JDS.
The Brazilian needs to overcome the odds to set that up though, with Ngannou favourite with some of the best betting sites. The younger man has incredible punching power, which is back up by impressively light footwork for a heavyweight. His fight IQ is also improving, having only started training in boxing at 22, before switching to MMA four years later.
The Predator will need all of his wits about him against the wily Dos Santos, who also boasts serious power and excellent striking. Cigano has great conditioning for his size, and that could be his key to success. Ngannou’s only two UFC defeats have both come on the judges’ cards, so JDS could aim to outlast his opponent in this contest.
Dos Santos has to steer clear of Ngannou’s power punches though, or he could be heading for his fourth straight defeat by TKO. After two first round knockouts in a row, and six in his last eight fights, Ngannou could go for it early, and he’s worth a look to win by knockout in the betting.
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John Abrams is a passionate sports fanatic who follows NBA, NFL, NHL, NCAAF, NCAAB and Formula 1. A former sports trader, John has an unquestioned thirst for sports knowledge and often fills his time playing fantasy or placing wagers online.
All Predictions by John Abrams