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.
Welcome back to The Crossfire.
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:
#9 MARYNA MOROZ VS CRISTINA STANCIU
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
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
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
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
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.
#4 BEN ROTHWELL VS #5 JUNIOR DOS SANTOS
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.