UFC Fight Night 86: dos Santos uses footwork and striking to pick apart Rothwell

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Junior dos Santos is back.

He didn’t land a spectacular knockout, but his footwork and volume striking earned him a comfortable win over the streaking Ben Rothwell at UFC Fight Night 86 in Zagreb, Croatia.

“He’s too big of a guy, so I used my footwork and boxing skills,” JDS said in the post-fight interview with Jon Anik.

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There was no Fight-of-the-Night, but performance bonuses went to Derrick Lewis, Alejandro Perez, Mairbek Taisumov and Jared Cannonier. Each fighter earned a $50,000 USD bonus.

Kenai Andrews runs it down:

UFC Fight Night 86

#9 MARYNA MOROZ VS CRISTINA STANCIU

UFC Fight Night 86

Courtesy UFC/Zuffa LLC.

WINNER: MARYNA MOROZ VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

ANDREWS PREDICTION: MARYNA MOROZ VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION

Andrews: Moroz fought a smart, technical fight. She used Stanciu’s lack of UFC experience and her aggressiveness against her. That said, Stanciu did pretty good for her UFC debut. She will be back and  will learn from this fight.

IGOR POKRAJAC VS JAN BLACHOWICZ 

UFC Fight Night 86

Courtesy UFC/Zuffa LLC.

WINNER: JAN BLACHOWICZ VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Andrews: Like Moroz in the first fight, Blachowicz though he gassed early, fought smart and countered Igor’s shots with timely takedowns and strikes. Just another example of skills and smarts overcoming power and aggressiveness.

TIMOTHY JOHNSON VS MARCIN TYBURA

UFC Fight Night 86

Courtesy UFC/Zuffa LLC.

WINNER: TIM JOHNSON VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

ANDREWS PREDICTION: Tybura waited too late to unload his offence, allowing Johnson to pile up the points in the first two rounds with a volume of strikes. Not a barnburner of a bout, but Johnson looked miles better than his last fight.

FRANCIS NGANNOU  VS CURTIS BLAYDES

UFC Fight Night 86

Courtesy UFC/Zuffa LLC.

WINNER: FRANCIS NGANNOU VIA TKO (DOCTOR’S STOPPAGE)

ANDREWS PREDICTION: FRANCIS NGANNOU VIA TKO

Andrews: Ngannou’s technical striking was just too much for the Blaydes. His eye shut to the point after the second round, the doctor had to call the bout. Great performance for Ngannou, he got up quick after takedowns and landed a nice assortment of strikes.

DERRICK LEWIS VS GABRIEL GONZAGA 

UFC Fight Night 86

Courtesy UFC/Zuffa LLC.

WINNER: DERRICK LEWIS VIA TKO R1 4:48

ANDREWS PREDICTION: DERRICK LEWIS VIA TKO

Andrews: Lewis used a small opening off the break to land a nice right hand to put Gabriel away. Up to that point Gabriel was frustrating Lewis with excessive clinching. Gabriel tried to fight smart, but just got caught. Good win for Lewis.

MAIN EVENT

#4 BEN ROTHWELL VS #5 JUNIOR DOS SANTOS 

UFC Fight Night 86

Courtesy UFC/Zuffa LLC.

WINNER: JUNIOR DOS SANTOS VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION (50-45, 50-45, 50-45)

ANDREWS PREDICTION: BEN ROTHWELL VIA TKO

Andrews: JDS turned in a good technical performance, using footwork and boxing and even kicks to keep Rothwell at bay. Rothwell is used to keeping his opponents at bay, and aside from the first round, couldn’t keep up with the speed of JDS. Ben landed occasional flurries but that was it. Great win for JDS.

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@kenaiandrews

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Kenai is a former Postmedia Network online news and sports editor. He is the Editor-in-Chief for MMA Crossfire.

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