Brock Lesnar vs. Junior Dos Santos: An Early Breakdown and Prediction

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistJanuary 18, 2011

Brock Lesnar vs. Junior Dos Santos: An Early Breakdown and Prediction

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    Brock Lesnar will make his triumphant return to UFC this summer when he takes on Junior dos Santos in an epic heavyweight battle that will determine the No. 1 contender to Cain Velasquez. These two men will also be featured as coaches on the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter.

    There has been a lot written about this fight already and it is still six months from happening. People are questioning Lesnar and whether he is still really into MMA.

    For the longest time after losing to Velasquez in October no one could get in touch with Lesnar. Now he is ready to get back in the octagon for a chance to fight for the heavyweight championship.

    Junior dos Santos almost feels like "that guy who is fighting Brock Lesnar."

    He hasn't really been getting a lot of talk, which is somewhat understandable because Brock is the biggest MMA star in the United States.

    But fans of UFC know that this guy is the real deal and he will bring the fight to Lesnar.

    While the date of the fight hasn't been made official yet it's widely expected to take place at the June 11 UFC show in Vancouver, British Columbia.

    Dana White has said that they will fight at the first major event after the finale of The Ultimate Fighter, which takes place in early June.

    So we know the date and we know the participants, now it is time to take a very early look at how these two fighters stack up against each other. We have broken things down into eight different categories.

    We will compare and contrast how their skills match up against each other. After we get done with that we will offer a (very early) prediction for the dos Santos-Lesnar fight.

Head/Chin

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    Ever since Brock Lesnar took that beating from Shane Carwin in the first round of their fight at UFC 116, he has been so worried about his chin.

    You could see a little bit of that in the second round of the Carwin fight and even more so against Cain Velasquez. Brock’s so afraid of getting hit that it’s a huge detriment to him.

    He needs to take a good shot from dos Santos in this fight and not go down to get some confidence back.

    Junior dos Santos isn’t going to be afraid to stand toe-to-toe with Brock. He has only lost one fight in his professional career and that was by submission.

    We know that dos Santos can take a punch and it won’t phase him.

     

    Advantage: dos Santos, by a wide margin

Punching/Striking

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    Brock Lesnar has never been a great puncher. He comes out and will swing but he just shows punches as a way to set up the things that he does well.

    He has the body to be a very good, powerful puncher but he has never been able to use it very effectively in his MMA career.

    Meanwhile, Junior dos Santos has great punching and striking ability. He is one of the best in UFC as a matter of fact. He gets great leverage behind his punches and there is a lot of power behind it.

    He will look to strike Lesnar down to the canvas in this fight.

     

    Advantage: dos Santos

Kicking

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    Brock Lesnar rarely kicks. In fact, off the top of my head I can’t recall him actually throwing a kick in a fight. I am sure that he has but right now I can’t think of an instant that he has tried to kick.

    There is no way that Brock will look to get in a kicking contest with Junior dos Santos. If he does this fight will be over quick.

    Junior dos Santos is an expert in kickboxing and BJJ. He uses his legs very well and can keep Lesnar away from him because he uses his legs so effectively.

    There are very few heavyweights in UFC that are as prominent with their kicking as dos Santos.

     

    Advantage: dos Santos

Power

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    Brock Lesnar is a freak of nature. He is so big and so fast that it’s easy to forget how powerful he is.

    He doesn’t always use his power in his fights for one reason or another but make no mistake about it, very few heavyweights can match him in terms of sheer power.

    Junior dos Santos is no slouch when it comes to power. He can (and has) made some of the biggest fighters in the world by using his power.

    Don’t sell dos Santos short in this category. Lesnar has the edge but dos Santos could use his technique to take away the power from Lesnar.

     

    Advantage: Lesnar

Ground Ability

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    Brock Lesnar’s specialty is wrestling and working on the ground. In fact, a lot of people that have discussed this fight feel that his best shot to win is to keep it on the ground.

    Everything that he wants to do works from the ground.

    Junior dos Santos has never really worked on the ground in UFC. He trains with Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, one of the greatest ground and submission fighters in the history of MMA.

    It would be hard to fathom dos Santos not being effective on the ground given the pedigree of who he trains with.

    This is one of the most difficult categories to call.

    Advantage: Lesnar, very slightly

Submissions

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    This one goes to Lesnar almost by default.

    Junior dos Santos hasn’t won a fight via submission in 14 months and that was because his opponent had a broken orbital bone.

    The edge has to go to Lesnar because we have seen him work submissions recently.

    Dos Santos probably has the ability to get submissions but until we see it in action, we don’t know.

     

    Advantage: Lesnar

Wrestling

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    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    This is the one category that Brock Lesnar has a decided advantage over Junior dos Santos.

    Lesnar’s background is in wrestling. He was a two-time All-American wrestler in college. He is so fast and so quick that he uses his wrestling skills to get his opponents to the ground. He was able to take Cain Velasquez down twice; the problem was he couldn’t keep him down.

    Junior dos Santos started to show a little bit of wrestling against Roy Nelson at UFC 117. It was really surprising to see because he normally doesn’t like to wrestle.

    He wants to get in your face and take it to you standing up. Look for him to work on his wrestling technique leading up to this fight.

     

    Advantage: Lesnar

Mental Edge

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    No one really knows where Brock Lesnar’s head is at right now.

    He is coming off a humbling loss to Cain Velasquez and went into exile for two months. There was even some speculation that he would try to get out of his UFC contract.

    He needs this fight for a vast number of reasons, not the least of which is to try and rebuild his reputation as a fighter.

    Junior dos Santos took this fight because he didn’t want to be sitting on the sidelines for over a year (remember, his victory over Roy Nelson made him the No. 1 contender).

    He has all the momentum in the world on his side having won seven straight fights.

     

    Advantage: dos Santos

Prediction

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    So when all the smoke is cleared, all the talk is done and everything has been settled who will come out victorious?

    If you tallied up all the previous slides you will see that it is dead even, both men have the advantage in four separate categories. So really it all comes down to natural talent. Who is the more naturally talented fighter?

    Brock Lesnar has all the physical tools to be a great fighter. However, he got started in MMA at a very late age and it is likely too late to change his fighting skills. That’s not to say he can’t learn, but it could weaken the things that he does well.

    Junior dos Santos is a great stand up fighter who has done work on his wrestling and ground game throughout his career. He hasn’t had to use those skills in a fight yet but if he has to he will be prepared to do it.

    Dos Santos gets the edge in the fight because he is a much more well-rounded fighter than Lesnar is.

     

    Prediction: Junior dos Santos via decision

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