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UFC on FOX 13 complete fighter breakdown, Junior dos Santos vs. Stipe Miocic edition resident fighter analyst Andrew Richardson breaks down the mixed martial arts (MMA) game of UFC on FOX 13 headliners Junior dos Santos and Stipe Miocic, who battle this Saturday (Dec. 13, 2014) inside the US Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona.

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight ruler, Junior dos Santos, takes on fellow boxing specialist, Stipe Miocic, this Saturday (Dec. 13, 2014) at UFC on FOX 13 inside the US Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona.

It's been awhile since fights fans have seen dos Santos compete. Last October, he failed to remove Cain Velasquez from his throne in their trilogy match up. After recovering from that loss, the Brazilian's hand broke, and his initial match up with Miocic fell through.

When his fight with dos Santos was scrapped, Miocic instead earned an easy paycheck by decimating Fabio Maldonado in under a minute. Prior to that, Miocic defeated some legitimate heavyweights, such as Roy Nelson and Gabriel Gonzaga.

Let's take a look at the skills of both men involved in the main event.


"JDS" is one of the most feared boxers in the sport. Known for both crushing speed and fast hands, dos Santos is capable of landing blistering combinations against even strong strikers.

To test the waters, dos Santos begins by throwing out long jabs and straights. As he grows comfortable, "Cigano" begins to attack his opponent's body.

One of the most common ways that dos Santos does that is with the body jab. He dips down a little bit, which helps keep his head off the center line. By attacking with this strike, dos Santos saps his opponent's energy, stops his forward pressure, and can get them to lower his hands.

The body jab works wonders in setting up his overhand right. As his opponent's hands lower, dos Santos will switch directly to the overhand while ducking down in a similar motion to his body jab. This setup leaves his opponent wide open to the overhand, and it has toppled many of his opponents, including Velasquez.

Unlike many fighters with a strong right hand, dos Santos is quite active with his left as well. Utilizing his jab well -- both to the body and head -- dos Santos lines up his straight right. "JDS" frequently throws his left hook too and is very versatile with the punch, using it as a lead, counter, or in combination. In addition, dos Santos frequently attacks opponents who look to parry his jab with the left hook.

Finally, dos Santos has some nice kicks, although he rarely works them into combinations. When he feels so inclined, dos Santos can fire off quick, powerful kicks to his opponent's body or head.

Miocic also primarily attacks his opponent with punches. However, unlike dos Santos, Miocic is more of a volume striker, as he relies on his length and conditioning to out-work his opponents.

Miocic's boxing game is not particularly complex. It relies heavily on his jab and straight right, as Miocic can land these straight punches from a range his opponent cannot match. Occasionally, Miocic will close distance in order to land some body blows.

A large part of what makes this attack effective is Miocic's movement and feints. For a heavyweight, Miocic is rather fleet-footed, as he's constantly moving around his opponent. As he circles his foe, Miocic is actively threatening with his straight punch feints.

Miocic is also a fairly powerful low kicker. With both inside and outside kicks, Miocic is able to destablize his opponent's stance, and he even finished an opponent with low kicks prior to his UFC debut. However, Miocic does not always set up his low kicks, leaving him vulnerable to counter punches.

And dos Santos knows something about countering low kicks.


If there's an area in which Miocic may have an advantage, it's his wrestling. The former Division-1 wrestler has used his takedowns effectively thus far in his UFC career, and is now adept as using them to create opportunities to land punches as well. Against Roy Nelson, Miocic frequently attempted half-hearted takedowns in order to force Nelson to react and stay unpredictable.

For the most part, Miocic hunts for the single leg. After securing the leg, Miocic will attempt to run the pipe. He usually catches his opponent off-balance, allowing him to easily dump his opponent on the mat. If his initial attempt fails, Miocic will either abandon it to punch or run into a double leg.

When Miocic secures top position, he's pretty violent with his ground strikes. He really showcased this against Shane del Rosario, as he pounded the talented striker with elbows en route to a TKO victory.

Dos Santos rarely shoots for takedowns. When the needs arises, he usually looks for a blast double. In all likelihood, dos Santos will not be looking to take his upcoming opponent down.

Defensively, "JDS" is a really strong defensive wrestler. His sprawl is very powerful, and his balance is more than enough to avoid most single legs. Plus, dos Santos' boxing is usually rangy enough to give him time to react to his opponent's shots. Even in Velasquez's victories over the Brazilian, dos Santos was able to stuff a majority of Velasquez's shots.

In particular, dos Santos is excellent at springing back to his feet. After his opponent completes a takedown, dos Santos immediately turns away and stands. As he does this, he moves his hips out and fights the hands, which usually breaks his foe's grip.

In both bouts with Velasquez, dos Santos was troubled by Velasquez's ability to pressure him with the threat of the takedown and punches simultaneously. Outside of Velasquez, none of dos Santos' opponents have been able to replicate that success.

Expect Miocic to try.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ)

For the most part, neither man really hunts for submissions, with only a single submission victory between the two in 32 fights.

From his back, dos Santos is not bad defensively. It's hard to judge him too harshly against Velasquez, as the heavyweight kingpin is perhaps the best ground striker around today. Even then, dos Santos was able to prevent many dominant positions or quickly escape from them.

Dos Santos also showed a bit of his top game off against Mark Hunt. After opening Hunt up with elbows, he quickly capitalized on the "Super Samoan's" loose half guard by cutting through it with his knee. He then moved into the crucifix immediately, allowing him to land some nice elbow strikes.

Although we've yet to see Miocic fight from his back, his top game looked strong against both del Rosario and Joey Beltran. Against both fighters, Miocic was able to pass guard and achieve dominant positions. This is especially impressive against del Rosario, who was well known for his dangerous bottom game.

The Match Up

With a speed, power, and technique advantage, dos Santos will more than likely look to exploit the defensive holes in Miocic's game. Though his opponent has been having some solid success recently, none of his past opponents have been truly athletic, certainly not to the extent of dos Santos.

Miocic's defense may have improved, but he's still hittable even while he's in control of the bout. Against dos Santos -- a fighter who he does not having a significant boxing advantage over -- he's likely going to absorb many punches if the fight stays standing.

And Junior dos Santos does not need more than a few in order to end Miocic's night early.

With that in mind, Miocic's game plan should be pretty clear: he needs to use his wrestling in order to defeat the Brazilian. Ideally, that would mean that Miocic would use a well set up shot to drag dos Santos to the mat, but it's rarely that easy with "Cigano."

In order to utilize his wrestling, Miocic needs to both threaten with it and transition into the clinch. If Miocic can pressure dos Santos with his wrestling only to come up with a straight right hand, he could definitely hurt dos Santos with a good connection. Since dos Santos still backs straight into the fence, both his right hand and working into the clinch will work.

Velasquez wrote out a detailed strategy to defeat dos Santos inside the cage. Miocic would be a fool not to take notes from it.

Will Junior dos Santos return to his winning ways, or will Stipe Miocic pull off a gigantic upset?

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