Tonight, two heavyweight title contenders will go toe-to-toe live and free on ESPN. Francis Ngannou and Junior dos Santos headline tonight’s UFC card from the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. JDS comes in on a three-fight winning streak and is currently on his third run towards a heavyweight title shot. Dos Santos has been one of the most consistent fighters in UFC history in terms of always being a top contender in his division. From his thrilling trilogy with Cain Velasquez to a disastrous title loss against Stipe Miocic, JDS continues to rise from adversity and is now a win tonight away from a title shot against the winner of Daniel Cormier versus Stipe Miocic. However, JDS will have to deal with the scariest obstacle of his career in Francis Ngannou.
Francis Ngannou is must-watch TV no matter who he fights. All 13 of Ngannou’s professional wins have been stoppages(9 TKO/KOs, 4 subs). He is currently riding a two-fight win streak with TKO wins over Curtis Blaydes and most recently, Cain Velasquez. Ngannou has been criticized as only being a fighter with a “puncher’s chance” after two underwhelming performances against Miocic and Derrick Lewis. However, the submission game is there. Anthony Hamilton may not be top talent but the way Ngannou was able to crank his arm in their fight was terrifying to witness and the threat of it has to be in JDS’ mind. This fight will end within the first two rounds. JDS has the endurance to go all five rounds and will have the upper hand on Ngannou if he can push it to a third round. With that being said, JDS has a weak chin and if Ngannou is able to find it in the first minutes of this fight, he will score another knockout victory.
Prediction: Ngannov via Knockout in round 1
Jussier Formiga and Joseph Benavidez is a solid co-main event but carries no weight as the flyweight division is currently nonexistent. I will take Benavidez by decision. Anthony Rocco Martin is ascending rapidly and will be ranked if he can get a win over Brazilian legend, Demian Maia, but Maia’s jiu-jitsu is on another level. Give me Maia by submission.
Fighters to Watch:
Drew Dober and Marco Polo Reyes should put on a show and is definitely in contention to earn Fight of the Night honors. Roosevelt Roberts is a Contender Series alumnus and currently undefeated. Alonzo Menifield is another Contender Series alumnus and a vicious knockout artist who will quickly ascend the light-heavyweight ranks if he can put on another impressive against Paul Craig.
Ngannou(KO), Benavidez(DEC), Maia(SUB), Roberts(SUB), Dober(TKO), Menifield(KO)
Newson(TKO), Anders(DEC), Gordon(DEC), Lungiambula(KO), Whitmire(SUB), Albini(DEC)