Francis Ngannou vs. Junior dos Santos
|Date & Time||Saturday June 29, 2019, 11:30 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Ngannou -241 / dos Santos +199 -- Over/Under:
Francis Ngannou and Junior dos Santos fight Saturday during UFC on ESPN 3 at the Target Center.
Francis Ngannou enters this fight with a 13-3 record and has won 69 percent of his fights by knockout. Ngannou has won seven of his last nine fights and is coming off a February win over Cain Velasquez. Ngannou is averaging 2.05 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 37 percent. Ngannou is averaging zero takedowns with an accuracy percentage of zero percent. Ngannou is coming off a knockout victory in less than 30 seconds where he didn’t even land anything clean and Velasquez ended up blowing out his knee. While it wasn’t a devastating finish, it just shows the power that Ngannou has, as even partial strikes have enough pop to do the damage. Each of Ngannou’s last four victories have come by knockout and all 13 of his wins overall have been finishes. There’s no surprises with Ngannou, as the guy is one of the scariest standup strikers in the sport and wants a fight standing up where he can put his boxing background to work. Ngannou puts together his punches cleanly, throws accurate combinations and usually lands a strong overhand or a devastating uppercut that closes the deal. Ngannou is putting his opponent to sleep if he lands cleanly, it’s just that simple. The only hope is that Ngannou runs out of gas and that power fades, which is why conditioning has been his downfall over the course of his career. This will be Ngannou’s first career fight in Minnesota.
Junior dos Santos enters this fight with a 21-5 record and has won 71 percent of his fights by knockout. dos Santos has won six his last 10 fights and is coming off a March win over Derrick Lewis. dos Santos is averaging 4.76 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 48 percent. dos Santos is averaging 0.34 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 56 percent. dos Santos got an impressive win over the Black Beast where he landed a powerful leg kick to the gut that changed the fight and allowed him to eventually put things away with ground and pound. dos Santos earned fight of the night honors for the performance and has a chance to win four straight fights for the first time in seven years. dos Santos is one of the best boxers in the heavyweight division with terrific technique and still enough power for his opponent to respect. dos Santos also has more variety to his stand up, as he’ll mix in some spinning back kicks and isn’t afraid to work the body rather than head hunt for the quick finish. dos Santos is also a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, so his ground game can’t be overlooked despite five of his last eight wins coming by knockout. This will be dos Santos’ first career fight in Minnesota.
Anytime you can get an experienced and accomplished fighter like dos Santos at these prices, you must consider it. You have to go back to the 2013 bout against Cain Velasquez the last time dos Santos was this big of an underdog, and this price is even steeper than the +175 he was back then. dos Santos is the more balanced fighter of the two and could win this fight if he taps into his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and looks for takedowns to take Ngannou out of his comfort zone while wearing him down and taking away his power. There’s a case to be made for the plus money. With that said, Ngannou is a wrecking machine who has a clear edge standing up and it’s only a matter of time before he lands that one clean shot. Ngannou is also better at stuffing takedowns than people give him credit for, so a ground game plan for dos Santos is easier said than done. At this stage of his career with his age and the wars he’s been in, I don’t see dos Santos surviving what Ngannou brings to the table standing up.
This is a fun fight between two legends, but Ngannou has a clear edge and is likely to win this fight with a vicious knockout.