UFC Adelaide main-event breakdown: Does Dos Santos have enough to hold off Tuivasa?

MMAjunkie Radio co-host and MMAjunkie contributor Dan Tom breaks down the UFC’s top bouts. Today, we look at the main event for UFC Fight Night 142.

UFC Fight Night 142 takes place Saturday at Adelaide Entertainment Center in Adelaide, Australia. The card airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Junior Dos Santos (19-5 MMA, 13-4 UFC)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’4″ Age: 34 Weight: 247 lbs. Reach: 77″
  • Last fight: Decision win over Blagoy Ivanov (July 14, 2018)
  • Camp: American Top Team (Florida)
  • Stance/striking style: Orthodox/boxing
  • Risk management: Good

Supplemental info:

+ Former UFC heavyweight champion
+ Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt
+ Multiple grappling accolades
+ 13 KO victories
+ 1 submission win
+ 4 first-round finishes
+ KO power
+ Solid feints and footwork
+ Consistent pace and pressure
+ Excellent boxing ability
^ Accurate shot selection
+ Good counter wrestler
+ Underrated grappling ability
^ Shows solid positional awareness

Tai Tuivasa (8-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’2″ Age: 25 Weight: 261 lbs. Reach: 75″
  • Last fight: Decision win over Andrei Arlovski(June 9, 2018)
  • Camp: Tiger Muay Thai (Thailand/Australia)
  • Stance/striking style: Orthodox/kickboxing
  • Risk management: Fair

Supplemental info:

+ Regional MMA titles
+ Pro-boxing experience
^ Record of 5-2 (3 by way of KO)
+ 7 KO victories
+ 7 first-round finishes
+ KO power
+ Deceptively athletic and agile
^ Explosive distance closer
+ Diverse shot selection
^ Variates attack levels well
+ Strong inside of the clinch
^ Strikes well off the breaks
+ Shows improved grappling/getups
^ Positional and underhook awareness

Point of interest: Savvy vs. the kitchen sink

The main event in Adelaide features a heavyweight showdown between two dangerous strikers who go about their business a bit differently.

Junios Dos Santos, who fights out of a more boxing-centric stance, is a crisp striker through and through. Working behind the pressure of his jabs and left-handed feints, Dos Santos will set up devastating overhands and uppercuts, strikes that comprise the majority of the former champion’s highlight reel.

Though the Brazilian’s right hand is often known as the cleanup hitter, his left is arguably more accurate, especially when applying his hook. Often utilizing his hooks offensively off of his jabs and feints, Dos Santos does a deceptively good job of placing check hooks to cover his tracks or drawing his opponents into them through baiting fakes.

Still, countering will probably be a potent two-way street given the propensity for violence his current counterpart will bring in close quarters.

From flying knees to crushing elbows, Tai Tuivasa bears all the weapons to keep his opponents up at night. A former boxer and longtime training partner to Australia’s top fighters (which includes the likes of Mark Hunt and Tyson Pedro), Tuivasa carries a bit more experience than meets the eye.

Despite still having to cut weight, Tuivasa moves deceptively well for a man of his size. The former Rugby stud’s athleticism especially shines through with his ability to quickly close distances, going from flicking jabs to blitzing combinations at the drop of a dime.

In his last outing against Andrei Arlovski, Tuivasa proved that could go the distance with a savvy veteran (who is also a former world champion, mind you). That said, the damage sustained by the Western-Australian warrior pointed to potential paths that others could follow – assuming he hasn’t shored them up for this contest.

Next point of interest: Grappling off the beaten path

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