The May 24th UFC 173 card headlined by Chris Weidman’s title defense against Lyoto Machida has announced a heavyweight co-headliner of Junior Dos Santos vs Stipe Miocic. Dos Santos, the former champion will likely be the favorite at the books when a line gets thrown out there. Dos Santos dropped a second grueling beat down to champion Cain Velasquez in his last outing in October, so he is not getting a title shot any time soon, but for Miocic a shot at Velasquz could be had with a win.
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For Miocic, this is a big step up in competition. He went the distance against veteran Gabriel Gonzaga and he roughed up Roy Nelson prior to that, but he has never faced a fighter like Dos Santos before.
Around the Velasquez losses, Dos Santos has taken out Frank Mir and he has gotten the best of iron headed Mark Hunt. These are matches that showed ‘Cigano’s offensive firepower with his hands can be withering to opponents not named Cain. Mark Hunt’s end was especially brutal, as the big man withstood power punch after power punch from Dos Santos until he collapsed in a heap.
Dos Santos has also reportedly switched up his training, heading to Nova Uniao’s camp for preparations. Though re-knowned as a camp for little guys, the school is famous for building champions, so just being around hungry fighters and other UFC Champions such as Jose Aldo and Renan Barao should be motivating to Dos Santos. A motivated Dos Santos is a scary proposition for Miocic.
Miocic has been improving. He looked to have problems with his gas tank earlier in his career, but he has gone the distance twice in recent outings and has been aggressive and set the pace most of the time. He is a big puncher who stays off the ground, and he is a wrestler who could try to take Dos Santos down if the stand up is not going his way.
Miocic is a guy with a solid team and head on his shoulders, and he will come in very prepared. Most of all he will bring a real confidence that he can do well, the question is, will he be able to show it against the ·2 guy in the division.