Junior dos Santos surprised many with a convincing victory over young prospect Tai Tuivasa in the headline bout of UFC Fight Night 142, from Adelaide, Australia, last night.
The 34 year old, former UFC Heavyweight Champion had not won consecutive fights since 2011-12 when he won the Heavyweight title from Cain Velasquez, then successfully defended the strap versus Frank Mir.
Now, some six years later, and dos Santos has turned the clock back to the most successful period of his career. The fight with a young, heavy striker, like Tuivasa was meant to be a very considerable challenge for the Brazilian but dos Santos met it impressively.
Tuivasa dominated the first round, pounding dos Santos with shots and huge leg kicks which gave dos Santos a leaden right leg, which sapped his mobility.
Needing to do considerably more, dos Santos came out swinging in the second as both fighters exchanged big shots. As Tuivasa set himself for a big right hand, he left himself vulnerable to a dos Santos assault and the Brazilian pasted Tuivasa with a big punch and took him down to the mat.
In side control, dos Santos nailed his Aussie opponent with short punches and elbows to earn the TKO win. The Adelaide crowd were not happy with that result but for dos Santos it is a very significant victory. The first man to defeat Tuivasa, dos Santos now has a potentially meaningful career still ahead of him in UFC.
So, what next for Junior dos Santos?
Can the veteran make another run for the Heavyweight title? Possibly. The division has such a dearth of credible challengers that this win will put him near to the top of the queue for another shot.
Another win should make him the number one contender. Who would he face? Daniel Cormier? Brock Lesnar? Cain Velasquez for a fourth time?
2019 could be one of the most interesting years of dos Santos's long MMA career.
Send us news tips at firstname.lastname@example.orgPublished 02 Dec 2018, 15:46 IST