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UFC on FOX 13

UFC on FOX 13: Dos Santos vs Miocic – Main Card Preview & Predictions

The second of back-to-back UFC events debuts in Phoenix, Arizona after the state once hosted the final WEC card in Glendale in 2010. Junior dos Santos makes his return after a year-long absence to test rising contender, Stipe Miocic in a fight that could determine the next UFC Heavyweight title challenger.

Anchoring the co-main event are lightweight contenders, Rafael dos Anjos and Nate Diaz in a catchweight fight that could also give rise to a new title contender. Finishing up the main card are Alistair Overeem, who looks to rebound against also-returning Stefan Struve, who is aching to reclaim a top-15 spot in the division and hard-hitters Matt Mitrione and Gabriel Gonzaga, in a tilt that could end in quick violent fashion.

Main Event

Junior dos Santos (-340) vs Stipe Miocic (+347)

Heavyweight Bout (265 lbs)

An unofficial number one contender’s fight as the surging Stipe Miocic—three straight wins—tests his mettle against the division’s second-best, Junior dos Santos. The two are coming from two different career trajectories as JDS returns from a brutal beatdown from champion, Cain Velasquez from last year while suffering a broken hand earlier in the year—two scary signs that could affect a fighter’s primacy in the long-term. Miocic is an NCAA Division I wrestler with very crisp technical boxing. His biggest advantage may be his body having taken less overall damage in his career.dossantos-miocic

JDS is the better fighter overall especially in terms of striking as he combines a wide set of attacks with precision and power that saw him finish nearly every top fighter in the division, including Cain himself. His takedown defense is also very good as Cain had some difficulty taking him down. Overall, Miocic will be hard-pressed to either trade blows or take JDS down. If the Brazilian’s durability has been softened by Cain, Miocic has a good chance to pull the upset but even then, he’s simply outgunned. JDS is coming back with a vengeance.

Prediction: Junior dos Santos def. Stipe Miocic via KO (Round 3)

Co-Main Event

Rafael dos Anjos (-255) vs Nate Diaz (+250)

Catchweight Bout (160.6 lbs)

Despite being ranked third in the official UFC rankings, Rafael dos Anjos seems to fly under-the-radar in most fans’ eyes. The BJJ and muay thai fighter has won seven of his last eight fights with his last being a knockout of former Lightweight champion, Benson Henderson, the first time he’s been finished by strikes in the octagon. Nate Diaz is coming back from a self-imposed hiatus since November of last year and missed the weight limit by a whopping 4.6 lbs.

Both fighters match up evenly. They’re both BJJ black belts although Nate Diaz seems more apt at finishing fights with submissions with 11 of his 17 wins coming this way. Striking-wise, Diaz is the more technical fluid boxer but dos Anjos has the more versatile set of attacks including leg kicks, which could be the x-factor in this fight. Nate is a tough nut to crack and the fight will go back-and-forth but should RDA come in top form, he should win the score cards soundly.

Prediction: Rafael dos Anjos def. Nate Diaz via Unanimous Decision

Alistair Overeem (-218) vs Stefan Struve (+220)

Heavyweight Bout (265 lbs)

The battle of the Dutch as Alistair Overeem makes a quick turnaround coming from another disappointing loss against Ben Rothwell while Stefan Struve returns after a year-and-a-half layoff. Normally, the confident pick is with the Reem as he’s still one of the division’s most explosive strikers and Struve’s chin is not unbreakable. The seven-foot Struve however has a very crafty BJJ game and his 84.5” reach (tied for longest reach in the UFC) could pose some difficulties for Overeem who may be weary of his chin.

If Overeem explodes on Struve, avoids getting caught in a submission he could overwhelm him to a stoppage but should he falter and allow Struve to make it past the first, it could spell deep trouble for the Reem.

Prediction: Alistair Overeem def. Stefan Struve via TKO (Round 1)

Matt Mitrione (-130) vs Gabriel Gonzaga (+120)

Heavyweight Bout (265 lbs)

“Meathead” Mitrione is hot off of two first round knockout wins and three in his last four and finally gets the Gabriel Gonzaga “gatekeeper” test. Gonzaga has been a UFC stalwart for ten years where he’s compiled a hefty 11-7 record. Most notable is every one of those seven losses came against the who’s who of the division.

The matchup is a polar opposite as Mitrione is very weak in grappling and should Gonzaga find a way to take him down, it could be tap or nap for Meathead. Striking-wise, Mitrione packs a heavy punch and Gonzaga’s chin has been soft with six of his eight losses by T/KO, three in the first round. It all depends, which fighter pushes their game plan first but chances are Mitrione lands on Gonzaga before he could get it to the ground.

Prediction: Matt Mitrione def. Gabriel Gonzaga via KO (Round 1)

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