FightPost MMA Fighter of the Week: Junior Dos Santos
By Kieran Cobley
This week’s “Fighter of the Week” honours go to Junior Dos Santos (21-5) after he defeated Derrick Lewis (21-7) in an all-out heavyweight war at UFC Wichita.
JDS was in good form coming into this bout, with back to back wins against up and comers Blagoy Ivanov and Tai Tuivasa in his last two fights.
On the other side of the cage, “The Black Beast” was making his return to the octagon after losing in his last fight via submission, against Daniel Cormier for the UFC heavyweight belt.
Early on in the first round, Cigano tried to utilise his leg kicks while pressuring Lewis towards the cage, using them as a cover to get into his punching rage while Lewis was off balance.
Lewis was wise to this though and would go forward with his own combinations, even throwing a good head kick, which JDS managed to block.
Dos Santos looked to get the upper hand mid-way through the round, beating Lewis at his own gam by catching him with a big overhand right, rocking the Texan, but he recovered and soon went back on the front foot.
The real highlight of the round came in the last minute though: JDS landed a sweet spinning back kick to Lewis’ midsection, bending him over, and as he stepped in to apply what looked to be the finishing blow, Lewis popped right back up, and landed a heavy over hand right of his own which dropped the former heavyweight champion.
The kick had clearly hurt Lewis though, and he was unable to capitalise on his opportunity, with Dos Santos popping back up, and trying to apply the finishing strikes to Lewis, but Lewis dug deep and managed to fight off JDS until the end of the round.
The second round started very similar to the first, with JDS going with the leg kicks, but Lewis was able to stop this tactic by coming forward as the kicks were being thrown, landing punch combinations as he did.
Getting wise to this, JDS utilised his technical boxing skills, hitting Lewis with a few stiff jabs, before landing the big right hook, dropping him and reigning in the finishing blows, forcing Herb Dean to call the fight.
This fight showed that all though the heavyweight division is clearly not as strong as it was 9/10 years ago, it is still capable of putting on some exciting fights.
What’s next for JDS then? Personally, I think it should be a title shot, but with Cormier wanting Brock Lesnar, it seems more plausible we see him take on Francis N’Gannou after the Cormier/Lesnar debacle is sorted out.
Honourable mentions this week go too Nicolas Dalby who became the interim Cage Warriors welterweight champion after knocking out Alex Lohore at Cage Warriors 103 in front of his home town crowd, and to Niko Price, who knocked out Tim Means at UFC Wichita in the first round.
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