UFC Fight Night: Dos Santos vs Tuivasa Preview
By Calum Christie
The UFC make another visit to Australia this coming Saturday, where two heavyweight knockout artists meet in the centre of the Octagon. Junior Dos Santos (19-5 MMA, 13-4 UFC) squares off against 25 year-old Tai ‘Bam Bam’ Tuivasa (8-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) in Adelaide, Australia at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre.
#6 Junior Dos Santos vs #11 Tai Tuivasa
Junior Dos Santos (JDS) has recently been alternating between wins and losses in his recent bouts but is coming off the back of a victory over promotional newcomer and former PFL heavyweight champion Blagoy Ivanov (16-2) back in July.
He faces the Sydney born heavy hitter Tuivasa who was last in action at UFC 225 against former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski (27-17 MMA) and had to battle it out for a decision victory in Chicago.
This is another big test in competition for the Australian native in the experienced UFC heavyweight division, expect to see JDS use his effective striking especially the jab to keep Tai out of range, also the longer the fight goes JDS has had more experience in going the distance in the championship rounds therefore cardio could play a vital part in the outcome of the result. With the power that heavyweights possess, fights can swing either way especially with these two fighters being capable of throwing bombs. The winner may find themselves in contentions for a title shot in the future therefore a win for both guys is huge.
#10 Mark Hunt vs #15 Justin Willis
In what is expected to be the final time we see ‘The Super Samoan’ Mark Hunt (13-13 MMA, 8-7 UFC) inside the UFC cage the Las Vegas based organisation matchmakers have given Justin ‘Big Pretty’ Willis (7-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) the honours of potentially being Hunts last opponent inside the UFC.
Mark Hunt who is 1-3 in his last 4 bouts was last out in the UFC’s debut show in Moscow, Russia, where he suffered his second defeat in a row at the hands to the ‘Boa Constrictor’ Alexey Oleynik (57-11) via a rear naked choke in the very first round.
Willis fights out of AKA in California the home of the double champ Daniel Cormier – Willis is a veteran of the game even though he only has 8 professional fights having competed in Strikeforce and WSOF.
Hunt hopes of closing out his UFC career in front of his hometown crowd with a big win but Willis will make sure he spoils that party.
#14 Tyson Pedro vs #13 Mauricio Rua
In what is expected to serve as the co-main event, the home Fighter Tyson Pedro (7-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) will welcome UFC veteran Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua (25-11 MMA, 9-9 UFC) to Australia in which many fans predict could be a passing of the torch fight.
Shogun Rua has been a part of the UFC organisation since joining in 2007 since his PRIDE days, his last bout was a devastating defeat in Hamburg, Germany against light heavyweight newcomer Anthony ‘Lionheart’ Smith (31-13 MMA) where he got knocked out in the first round.
Tyson Pedro is also coming off the back to a submission defeat against submission artist Ovince Saint Preux (23-12 MMA) by way of an arm bar in the very first round back in June on the UFC Fight Pass event: Cowboy vs Edwards.
Both fighters will want to ensure that their undefeated run comes to an end on Saturday night once the octagon doors close behind them. The common shout on the lips of many fans is that ‘Fighting is a young mans game’ and that may show on Saturday as the 27 year-old Pedro looks to get back into the win column against the battle tested 37 year-old Mauricio Rua.
Jake Matthews vs Tony Martin
Both these former lightweight fighters have had a resurgence since moving to the 170lb division with Jake Matthews (14-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC) on a 3 fighting winning streak and Tony Martin (14-4 MMA, 6-4 UFC) being on a 2 fight winning streak.
The 24-year old, Melbourne born, Jake Matthews has shown how dynamic his skills are with 7 submission victories and 4 TKO wins on his resume. Back in February at UFC 221 Jake got a massive victory against a strong Chinese contender in the form of Li Jingliang which made a statement to the welterweight division that he has potential to break into the rankings.
Tony Martin is another fighter who has a wide range of skills, earning 8 out of 14 professional wins by way of submission. Although the orthodox fighter has also shown that he can get the job done using effective striking where in his last bout he got a KO win over Ryan LaFlare (14-3) at UFC 229.
This is an intriguing matchup as the fighters are evenly matched up on paper and have shown they can take the fight wherever it needs to go and still be comfortable in any situation. With both these fighters holding black belts it is very likely that they will cancel each other out on the ground and we will see a standing battle. Either way one of these fighters will experience their first loss in the welterweight division on Saturday.
Paul Craig vs Jim Crute
Paul ‘Bearjew’ Craig (10-2 MMA, 2-2 UFC) may have one of the most fascinating stories inside the UFC.
In his last bout Paul was scheduled to face highly regarded Russiam fighter Magomed Ankalaev (11-1) who was making his UFC debut at the London event back in March of 2018. Ankalaev was dominating the full fight for 14 minutes and 59 seconds until the resilient attitude of Paul Craig decided to go for a ‘hail Mary’ triangle choke with 1 second left on the clock. This victory ensured he would get another chance to compete on the biggest stage of MMA once more and that comes on Saturday against another undefeated fighter in Jim Crute (8-0 MMA).
The Australian born Jim Crute caused a storm on the regional scene fighting under local Melbourne promotion Hex Fight Series where he amassed a record of 7-0 with 4 finishes. He got the opportunity to compete on DWTNC series in July where he picked up a 1st round KO win over Chris Birchler (7-4 MMA) to earn his shot on the main stage.
This will be another tough test for the Scotsman against the 22 year-old debutant who will be hoping to hit the headlines on Saturday with a big breakout statement.
Other fights on the card include:
Wilson Reis vs Ben Nguyen
Yushin Okami vs Alexey Kunchenko
Keita Nakamura vs Salim Touahri
Elias Garcia vs Kai Kara-France