Former UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos is confident he will emerge victorious over the hard-hitting Francis Ngannou.
After losing in his attempt to regain the title against Stipe Miocic in 2017, Dos Santos has since gone on a three-fight winning streak. His victims in that run include the likes of Blagoy Ivanov, Tai Tuivasa and Derrick Lewis.
He will now look to make Ngannou his latest victim at UFC 239 in July and stake a claim for another title shot.
“The Predator,” meanwhile, has bounced back from a loss to Miocic himself, with recent knockout wins over Curtis Blaydes and Cain Velasquez.
However, Ngannou’s wrestling and cardio, which was heavily exposed against Miocic, has yet to be tested in those recent wins. Despite that, Dos Santos thinks the fight will remain standing, even with Ngannou’s famed power.
“Whoever connects first, that guy will go down,” Dos Santos told Helen Yee in a recent interview. “Normally, it’s like that in the heavyweight division. Like I said, he’s a boxing guy but man, I have the agility of a middleweight, I can move. I have my footwork where I’m very confident. It’s not going to be easy for him to find me.”
A Third Consecutive Finish?
Dos Santos got his first finish since 2013 when he knocked out Tuivasa in the second round of their heavyweight bout last year.
“Cigano” followed it up with another second round knockout of Lewis at UFC Wichita last month. And he believes he will also finish Ngannou in the second round.
“I would knock him out. I believe second round. I’m very confident with the second round because the first round, I’m always taking time to see what my opponent is offering me, is trying to do during the fight.
“So then I can figure it out in the first round how things are working and go a little harder on the second one. So that’s why I really believe I can knock people out this way.”
Dos Santos and Ngannou will collide on the main card of UFC 239 which takes place July 6 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The card will be headlined by a light heavyweight title fight between Jon Jones and Thiago Santos.