UFC 1 year ago

Dos Santos Looks to Reclaim UFC Heavyweight Gold

  • Dos Santos Looks to Reclaim UFC Heavyweight Gold

    PHOENIX, AZ - DECEMBER 13: Junior dos Santos (R) squares up against Stipe Miocic in their heavyweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at the at U.S. Airways Center on December 13, 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Junior Dos Santos will get his chance at reclaiming the UFC heavyweight title when he meets current champion Stipe Miocic in the headline fight at UFC 211 in Texas in May. 

The Brazilian was crowned heavyweight champion after knocking out Cain Velasquez in 2011, defending it against Frank Mir before losing it in the rematch with Velasquez at the end of 2012.

Topping a packed card at the American Airlines Center in Dallas this summer, though, the likeable former champion will have the chance at getting his hands back on UFC gold. 

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The heavyweight title has been on quite a journey since Dos Santos surrendered the belt to Velasquez at UFC 155 in the second of their trilogy of fights.

While the division had a dominant, if slightly inactive, champion in Velasquez between 2013 and 2015, Fabricio Werdum shocked the world of mixed martial arts yet again when he submitted the Mexican-American in Mexico City at UFC 188 in June of 2015, ending Velasquez's second run as champion.

 Werdum's time as the heavyweight king didn't last long, though, suffering a knockout loss to Miocic in his first defence in front of 45,000 Brazilian fans. 

Miocic, an unassuming champion who still maintains a part-time job as a fireman in his native Ohio, overcame an early knockdown against Alistair Overeem in his first defence before knocking out the Dutchman in front of a passionate Cleveland crowd.

The American's time as champion doesn't get any easier, now facing the last man to beat him in a fight that was as bloody as it was entertaining.

When Miocic last stepped into the octagon opposite Dos Santos, he dropped a controversial points victory after five brutal rounds. 

Since then, the 34-year-old has racked up four stoppage victories, the three most recent coming in the first round.

While Miocic has looked sensational ever since his loss to Dos Santos, the popular Brazilian's pre-fight odds of around 13/8 will probably convince a lot of UFC fans to take up their bonus bets to back the former champion to come away from Dallas with the belt around his waist.

Despite the tempting odds next to Dos Santos, though, Miocic's credentials as heavyweight champion certainly shouldn't be dismissed.

A baseball standout during his high-school career, Miocic's time in MMA began with boxing and wrestling, two areas in which the Cleveland hero excels and the basis for his fight style. 

Miocic's run in the UFC, which includes just two losses, has been far more consistent than Dos Santos'. 

After edging out a narrow points win over Miocic, the Brazilian suffered a devastating knockout defeat to Alistair Overeem, leading some to question whether Dos Santos should keep fighting. 

A comprehensive win over Ben Rothwell last April silenced some of those doubters, and having seen a proposed bout against Stefan Struve called off, the American Top Team fighter now finds himself in with a chance of getting his hands back on the belt.

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