Junior dos Santos engaged in a bloody war on his way to a unanimous decision over Stipe Miocic at UFC on FOX 13 on Saturday in Phoenix.
The main event featured a striking battle between two of the world’s top heavyweights, and the decision was left in the judges’ hands with scores of 48-47, 49-46 and 49-46.
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Miocic pressured JDS in the opening round. He moved forward with combinations, catching dos Santos a number of times when the two would separate from clinches. Towards the end of the first, dos Santos landed a flurry of his own to keep up the striking pace.
Miocic found more opportunities to land damaging shots in the second round. Towards the end of the period he secured a takedown and worked punches while dos Santos defended from his back.
Dos Santos landed his first significant shot on the fight in the third, placing a counter-left hook to the chin that dropped Miocic. Until the round’s time expired, Miocic looked dazed and exhausted, opening up a chance for dos Santos to control the fight on the feet.
Miocic rebounded for a larger portion of the fourth round, keeping dos Santos on his heels and eating combinations as he was backpedaling. Dos Santos, however, scored a takedown late, but only before Miocic was able to work back to the feet.
The final round showed both fighters were visibly worn, but it was Miocic who looked up at the clock a number of times, signaling his exhaustion. Dos Santos opened up the round far more active than his foe, but Miocic turned it on towards the end and battered the former heavyweight champion with combinations before time expired.
With the decision win in Phoenix, dos Santos looks to get back in the title hunt after losing his previous match to champion Cain Velasquez 14 months ago. However, he will likely need to go through interim heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum — whom dos Santos knocked out in 2008 — in order to get back to title contention.
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