The Junior dos Santos we’ve been waiting on, the one whose skills took him all the way to the UFC heavyweight championship, showed up Sunday in Zagreb.
Dos Santos looked like a reinvigorated fighter in the main event of UFC Fight Night 86, the UFC’s debut card in Croatia. Instead of the headhunter who has been seen in recent fights, the former champion used slick movement and a wide variety of punishing strikes to overwhelm a game Ben Rothwell.
The judges’ scores were 50-45 across the board for dos Santos (18-4), who won for the second time in his past three fights and the third in his past six.
“I think we did the right strategy,” dos Santos said. “You can’t go against a guy that size, he’s too big. So I used my footwork and my speed and used my boxing. Forget about jiu-jitsu and wrestling, I’m a boxing guy!”
Dos Santos set the tone in the opening round, circling, landing crisp punches, then scampering to safety. Whenever Rothwell managed to close the distance, dos Santos, who now trains with American Top Team, peppered Rothwell with body shots.
This pattern continued in the second, a round which featured dueling Superman punches, and one which was punctuated in the closing seconds by dos Santos landing a big right hand, followed by a front kick which sent Rothwell crashing backward to the mat.
The pace continued in the later rounds as dos Santos mixed spinning kicks into his arsenal. Rothwell (36-10) is one of the toughest customers in the business, so he went the distance before his five-fight win streak came to an end. But he never came close to threatening dos Santos.
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Source:: mma fighting