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Better Know a Fighter: Junior Dos Santos

Now that we’re done weeping over Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic‘s career funeral pyre, we might as well turn toward the promise of the future by taking a harder look at the man who beat him at UFC 103 — Junior "Cigano" Dos Santos.  What you see in the above video is the lone loss on Dos Santos’ professional record.  It happened in November of 2007 when he faced off against submissions specialist Joachim Ferreira.  This fight was actually a rematch after Dos Santos beat Ferreira via submission due to exhaustion about seven months earlier.  As you can see, the armbar comes when Dos Santos gets a little careless working out of Ferreira’s guard, and the next thing he knows a mild annoyance becomes a fight-ender.  So what does this mean?  In itself, probably nothing.  But it reminds us of something else, and that’s that we have yet to see how Dos Santos does against the kind of ground specialists who populate the American/UFC heavyweight scene.  That’s right, I’m talking ’bout wrestlers, son.


What we know about Dos Santos at this point is that he’s a big, aggressive guy who likes to bang.  Some combination of all three of those attributes have accounted for all three of his UFC victories, such as this memorable execution via uppercut against Fabricio Werdum in his debut:

But since he came out of the Brazilian leagues and into the UFC, where he faced a jiu-jitsu specialist and two European strikers, we still don’t know if the guy had any takedown defense at all.  In a division where the keys to the kingdom are held by a former NCAA wrestling champ, and where (arguably) the top two contenders also specialize in taking people down and then bouncing their heads off the mat with a series of punches, that could end up being important down the road.

So far, we have absolutely no idea what "Cigano" can do against a big meathead looking to put him on his back and negate his kickboxing skills.  So what do we do?  Well, judging from the video below, we know that he can work from the top, has no problem winning by sheer brutality, and has excellent taste in music.  Maybe that’s enough for now.

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Disco-Platypus- September 23, 2009 at 5:35 am
Here is the big problem with the "235lb" weight class suggestion: it rests on the failed assumption that a large contingent of HW fighters are now above, and will continue to be above, the 285lb max - not only is this not necessarily the "norm" now, history will tell us it most likely won't be in the future.

See, making a "235lb" division because of the current make-up of the HW division - I mean, honestly, the suggestion is because of one-person: Brock Lesnar - is not prudent, nor practical. What's next? A Cro-Cop-like striker dominates the division in the next few years, and we will then claim a "235lb" division needs to exist because of the smaller speed advantage? It is great to think about, but an entirely silly position, particularly given the historical weakness of the UFC's HW division.
lek1221- September 22, 2009 at 2:49 pm
After rewatching these videos, no one should put the guy down (hiding behind our keyboards). He has accomplished so much, no one is perfect. He won a tournament which at the time was the apex of mma in the world - that's awesome.
Fedor vs. Bas- September 22, 2009 at 1:13 pm
@ Jugger

I against more weight classes as well. It has destroyed boxing with weight classes 2-3 lbs away from each other. Not that I'm a large fan anyways.

And the 195lb class is just not necessary! I hope the UFC doesn't mess with that.

But the 60lb gap between 205 & 265 is just too large. And you're entirely right that there are tons of guys walking around 235-245 that would be better off fighting at 235lbs instead of against guys cutting weight to make 265.
Cosmin- September 22, 2009 at 1:04 pm
Woo! NOFX playing during the submission replay in the first vid!
DiazBros209- September 22, 2009 at 12:05 pm
I don't care how good your chin is, when you're under Brock Lesnar getting your face jerked off, you're going out.
portland mma- September 22, 2009 at 11:59 am
@ Fedor, who said Dos Santo swould fight Anderson? My point was he has those awesome fighters training him. He obviously wouldn't fight any of those guys, a lot Brazilians seem to be like that especially the guys at black house.
Jugger- September 22, 2009 at 11:55 am
I agree with Fedor vs Bas. Even before Brock was around I felt like the 206-265 spread was too much. I don't want 30 different weight classes, but splitting the HW class right down the middle would give a lot of fighters some new options. There are just too many HW's walking around at 225-245 lbs. Those guys need a fair weight class to fight in.
Fedor vs. Bas- September 22, 2009 at 11:48 am
Will Dos Santos fight Anderson? Anderson won't fight Lyoto? Why would he fight someone in his own camp when the standard is already set that they will not.
LockDown- September 22, 2009 at 11:15 am
@steampunk22

Wat???? Suspect chin? Cain survived all those megablocks Kongo threw at him. Guy has a titanium chin.
Any other HW would have succumbed to that striking ownage.
portland mma- September 22, 2009 at 11:06 am
Also people can say whatever they want about Cain when he fought Kongo but watch Kongo try to get up after the fight is over, whatever you think happened he got fucking wrecked.
portland mma- September 22, 2009 at 11:05 am
I'm guessing the guys ground game has improved since Nog and the rest of team black house has taken him under their wing, that is one of the exciting things to me about Cigano, he's got Lyoto, big Nog, little Nog, Anderson Silva and Paulo Filho (when he's not wandering around in a drug induced daze) helping him every step of the way. I think Dos Santos is a true contender or will be here soon.
Fedor vs. Bas- September 22, 2009 at 10:59 am
The UFC needs to create a 235lb division. It is right in the middle of 205 & 265. There is no way a guy like Dos Santos, a guy who walks into the cage at 238 can beat Brock who was to cut 15-20 lbs to make the 265 limit.

There is a huge discrepancy between these two weight classes, and i'm tired of hearing about a 195lb weight class when the real "need" is at 235lbs.

There would be a lot of quality fighters in each division, especially now that the HW division is getting stacked.
ReDx- September 22, 2009 at 10:56 am
If Cain wins next month then I think they'll put Cain vs Santos as the #1 contender match
K.E.G.- September 22, 2009 at 10:51 am
@BuckWild
If Kongo had even a glimmer of a ground/wrestling game he would have finished Cain early in all three rounds. Cain will get outed when he is put up against a well rounded top tier UFC heavyweight. He should just drop to 205 now the future of HW lies with dudes that are have to cut to 265
steampunk22- September 22, 2009 at 10:50 am
@Buckwild I think the only reason that Velasquez survived that fight was because Cheick couldn't hit him more than once and has some of the weakest takedown defense in the whole division, he got dropped several times in the first two rounds. A slightly harder hit, or a combo wouldve done him in i think. I think that fight served more as a demonstration of Kongo's inability to finish a fight / defend takedowns than it did Cain's chin. I think he's a tough kid don't get me wrong, but Kongo only hit him three times and dropped him with each shot lol, he just doesnt have any finish. Which is odd because Kongo is really just a terrifying dude, seems to lack confidence though. Anyways, I agree that he can probably take a punch, but I dont think he can take two in a row. I guess we'll see soon enough!
BuckWild- September 22, 2009 at 10:45 am
@ steampunk22

Brock got stuck a couple of times by Mir but not really tested I'll give you that but Cain, ate everything Kongo threw at him and kept on coming. So to me, his chin is very tested at this point. He can take a punch.
BuckWild- September 22, 2009 at 10:42 am
"Oh look at his ears wiggle"

classic!
steampunk22- September 22, 2009 at 10:39 am
yeah pretty stoked to see how he can hold up in a pretty interesting division. Lots of really strong ground fighters in his way to the top although some of them have pretty suspect chins (velasquez, lesnar essentially un tested but wobbled by mir). going to be an interesting fighter to watch. that armbar that he tapped to was pretty nice, although you would think Mamute wouldnt be able to get too much leverage at that angle, it was pretty nice. good post guys.
lesnerisafag- September 22, 2009 at 10:31 am
one word. sweet.
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