Dos Santos vs. Cro Cop

The co-headliner of UFC 103 is a fight between two heavyweight contenders when Junior Dos Santos faces Mirko Cro Cop.

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Dos Santos enters the fight as the favorite with a betting line of -135 with Cro Cop given a line of +105 according to online sports book SPORTSBETTING.com. Here is a closer look at both fighters heading into this bout, which will take place from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Tx. at 10PM ET on pay-per-view.

Junior Dos Santos (8-1):

Strengths: Dos Santos is still relatively unknown in the UFC because his two fights inside the octagon have gone less than 90 seconds each time. With an 8-1 career record, Dos Santos has not had a fight go past the first round, so clearly the Brazilian has explosive power and finishing ability. Most of Dos Santos’ wins have come by TKO, but as a student of Antonio Nogueira, he has to have some polished jiu jitsu skills as well.

Weaknesses: Like any fighter that has mowed through his early competition, you have yet to see Dos Santos tested physically and mentally. How will Dos Santos handle things if the fight goes into the second or third round? How will his conditioning hold up as the fight carries on? Does he have the will power to withstand a 15-minute war? Those are all concerns that you have to look for since Dos Santos hasn’t had a lengthy fight in his career. Also, aside from Fabricio Werdum, Dos Santos hasn’t faced the same competition that Cro Cop has over his career. Having that big-fight experience can be key when you are in a co-headlining fight.

Last Five Fights:

First round TKO win over Stefan Struve at UFC 95 on Feb. 21, 2009

First round TKO win over Fabricio Werdum at UFC 90 on Oct. 25, 2008

First round TKO win over Geronimo Dos Santos at DF 3 on May 24, 2008

First round submission loss to Joaquim Ferreira at MTL Final on Nov. 10, 2007

First round TKO win over Jair Goncalves at MTL Mo Team League 2 on Sept. 29, 2007

 

Mirko Cro Cop (25-6-2, 1 No Contest):

Strengths: Cro Cop has some of the best kicks in the business. His head kicks are legendary and his kicks to the legs and body have put people down as well. Cro Cop is a striker in every sense of the word, as he uses punches and kicks in combination to get his victories. Cro Cop also stalks his opponents and pushes the pace, not looking to shy away from a fight.

Weaknesses: Since a brutal knockout loss to Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 70 back in April of 2007, where Cro Cop was on the receiving end of a head kick, he has not seemed to be the same fighter. Cro Cop has been a little more tentative to throw his devastating strikes and leave himself vulnerable to a counter-strike. Crop Cop has also struggled with his ground game, and lost a handful of fights due to his inability to defend takedowns and get off his back once he is taken down. Dos Santos may look to take this fight to the ground, and Cro Cop has to be ready to fight off his back if he hopes to win.

Last Five Fights:

First round TKO win over Mustapha al Turk at UFC 99 on June 13, 2009

First round TKO win over Hong Man Choi at K-1 Dynamite on Dec. 31, 2008

No contest against Alistair Overeem at Dream 6 on Sept. 23, 2008

First round TKO win over Tatsuya Mizuno at Dream 1 on March 15, 2008

Unanimous decision loss to Cheick Kongo at UFC 75 on Sept. 8, 2007

 

Who will win: This is a make-or-break fight for Cro Cop. A win would push him up to one of the top contenders in the UFC heavyweight division, while a loss may take him out of contention for good. Dos Santos is still an up-and-comer no matter what happens, so Cro Cop may have more to fight for in this bout. Cro Cop has the experience and the skills to win and overwhelm Dos Santos, but he will have to be weary of a big counter strike. I expect to see Cro Cop come out motivated and eager to show he is back in the heavyweight picture, and do so with a first round TKO of the inexperienced Dos Santos.

Additional Line: Over/Under 4.5 minutes for fight length. Over (-250) Under (+175)

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Posted: 9/14/09 9:37PM ET

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