Stipe Miocic has won three straight fights, and has cracked his way into the UFC’s #4 heavyweight ranking, but the American fighter is a considerable underdog heading into his scrap today with Junior dos Santos.
The reason being, of course, is that dos Santos is a former champ whose only losses since 2007 have come against the champion Cain Velasquez. Not only that, but since arriving in the UFC several years ago, JDS has put away some pretty big names including Mark Hunt, Gabriel Gonzaga, Frank Mir, and yes, even Velasquez.
While Miocic has showcased great boxing skills during his UFC tenure, many folks believe the accomplished wrestler will look to take the “Cigano” down at some juncture. Whether he can, of course, is another question.
Recently Miocic spoke to UFC.com about tonight’s bout, and although he didn’t outright say what his strategy is, Miocic noted that he’s studied what “helped” Velasquez out versus JDS. In addition, the 12-1 fighter stated:
“Fans are definitely are going to see a better me,” Miocic said. “I’ve been working hard. You’re going to see fireworks. I’m going down swinging. What do I have to do? Win. Knockout, submission, decision. I have to do what I am going to do and if it’s a decision, I’m going to win. I’m going to get my hand raised at the end of the day.”
The fight definitely has the makings of something special, since both heavyweights are aggressive fighters with well documented, finishing skills. It will be interesting to see how dos Santos looks, as he hasn’t fought since last October when he was stopped by Velasquez, and there’s a lot more pressure riding on his shoulders (or so one would think).
Miocic’s only hiccup in the UFC thus far, came against Stefan Struve in 2012, when the massive heavyweight went on to stop him in round two. Since then Miocic’s scored wins over Roy Nelson, Gabriel Gonzaga and Fabio Maldonado. The last fight, you’ll likely recall, came about in May because JDS was forced to withdraw due to a hand injury.
If you look at the betting lines, dos Santos is the favourite -300 to -500 range. That’s pretty, pretty sizeable.
UFC on FOX 13 will be hosted by the U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix. The card will also feature Struve taking on Alistair Overeem, Matt Mitrione versus Gabriel Gonzaga and Nate Diaz fighting Rafael dos Anjos.