Brock Lesnar vs. Junior Dos Santos: Breaking Down a Potential Matchup
With the healthy advent of Brock Lesnar back in the UFC heavyweight division, experts are busy chronicling future matchups between the former heavyweight champion and the sport's greatest heavyweight practitioners.
In a stylistic clash of brawn versus skill, a bout between Lesnar and Junior dos Santos is within the realm of future possibilities.
Clearly a contrast of styles inside the Octagon, Lesnar is known for his brute force and power to dominate his opposition, whereas JDS is hands down MMA's greatest heavyweight boxer presently.
Understanding that this matchup may never occur, we live in a world of probabilities. While this potential epic clash is exciting to dissect, the anticipation of a matchup of this caliber strikes excitement in fans worldwide.
Please follow along as I analyze the necessary skills needed to predict a victor as well as who would reign supreme between Lesnar and dos Santos.
I welcome your comments.
Skill No. 1: Strikes Landed
As Joe Rogan would state, "Junior dos Santos is a bad man." And there is no denying Rogan's fair commentary regarding JDS.
Easily the heavyweight division's most technically proficient boxer, dos Santos has landed 47 percent of his strikes, equaling an awe-inspiring 341 successful strikes in just seven UFC contests.
Shockingly, Brock Lesnar has landed 77 percent of his total strikes thrown, equaling 156 successful strikes landed in seven UFC contests.
The difference, however, is Lesnar has landed 111, or 71 percent, of those 156 successful strikes on the ground. JDS, on the other hand, has landed 76 percent, or 259, of his 341 successful strikes in the stand-up department.
Technically proficient, dos Santos is a calculating, tactical and precise striker who can pick apart his opposition on their feet and in the ground-and-pound.
Advantage in strikes landed: Junior dos Santos
Skill No. 2: Striking Defense
Often times, a fighter's best defense is a good offense. Junior dos Santos possesses talents unrivaled within the UFC heavyweight division with respect to his boxing prowess.
Mastering the sweet science, JDS's footwork, ability to manufacture and exploit striking angles, counter-punching and efficient head movement make him very difficult to hit.
Avoiding 64 percent of the potential strikes thrown in his direction, JDS's striking defense is 11 percentage points higher than Lesnar's 53 percent.
Considering that dos Santos keeps his fights standing as compared to Lesnar's propensity to take his opposition to the ground, the fact that JDS stays clear of over six out of 10 potential strikes is incredible.
A wizard at his craft, dos Santos displays dominance in all facets of the striking department.
Advantage in striking defense: Junior dos Santos
Skill No. 3: One-Punch Knockout Power
Earning five victories by TKO in just seven matchups within the famed Octagon, Junior dos Santos clearly possesses brutal knockout power.
Even though Brock Lesnar is a ferocious striker, he does not rival JDS with respect to form and technique needed to earn a TKO victory.
More of a mauler, Lesnar will suffocate the opposition, delivering heavy-handed strikes with reckless abandon.
This approach has earned Lesnar victories over Frank Mir and Randy Couture. However, this grizzly bear technique typified by Lesnar is not indicative of possessing the same level of knockout power that dos Santos delivers inside the cage.
Advantage in one-punch knockout power: Junior dos Santos
Skill No. 4: Wrestling Ability
As a former Division I All-American wrestler, there is no denying Brock Lesnar's pedigree as a grappler.
Couple this wrestling foundation with his tremendous power and dynamite explosion and Lesnar is a take-down machine inside the Octagon.
Successful in 58 percent of his take-down attempts, the only opponent to stifle Lesnar's shots was Cain Velasquez.
Even though Lesnar is an exceptional grappler, Junior dos Santos has emerged as an advanced wrestler as well.
Not one to take his opponents to the mat, JDS has shown that he can execute solid take-downs and change the dynamic of the fight.
Successful in 83 percent of the take-down attempts by his opposition, dos Santos is clearly versed in stuffing his opponent's shots and keeping the fight standing.
A slight advantage goes to Lesnar in this department. That advantage is mainly based on Lesnar's amazing size, strength and ability to powerfully execute take-down attempts.
Advantage in wrestling ability: Brock Lesnar
Skill No. 5: Jiu-Jitsu Dominance
A brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Team Nogueira, Junior dos Santos is an excellent submission grappler.
Even though dos Santos can defeat the opposition by submission, he relies on his heavy hands and his propensity to stand and trade in the center of the Octagon to earn a victory on his feet.
Lesnar, on the other hand, embraces his wrestling pedigree to take his fights to the mat. Continually developing a well-rounded jiu-jitsu game, Lesnar is attempting to complement his lethal ground-and-pound with an arsenal of submissions.
Even though Lesnar is evolving in his BJJ skill set, his overall talents as a submission grappler peril to those of JDS.
Training with "Big Nog" and the jiu-jitsu wizards of that fight school provide dos Santos a definitive advantage over Lesnar with respect to the submission grappling game.
Advantage in the jiu-jitsu dominance: Junior dos Santos
Skill No. 6: Intangibles (Size, Strength, Power, Athleticism)
Interestingly, a man who is 6'4", 240 pounds of muscle would be considered "huge" by a normal member of society.
However, when Junior dos Santos stands next to Brock Lesnar, his 240-pound frame looks miniature when compared to Lesnar's 6'3", 280-pound muscular stature.
Clearly a genetic freak, there is no denying the level of athleticism possessed by the former UFC heavyweight champion.
Parlaying his amateur wrestling career into a successful WWE championship reign, Lesnar's God-given athleticism has provided this avalanche of a man with unparalleled opportunities not only within MMA and wrestling entertainment, but professional football as well.
Junior dos Santos is an incredible athlete with obvious strength and power. He has channeled his talents fluidly into his successful run within the Octagon.
His dominance has been founded on his talents as a boxer and his abilities as a well-rounded mixed martial artist.
Conversely, Brock Lesnar is a one-dimensional fighter reliant on his athleticism to provide him with windows of opportunity not available to those less-athletic fighters.
Lesnar, in short, relies on his intangibles to remain competitive within his matchups.
Without the intangibles of strength, power and athletic ability, Lesnar's lack of a polished stand-up game, creative jiu-jitsu talent or overall MMA ability would be exposed instantly and he would not be relevant within the sport.
Advantage in the intangibles: Brock Lesnar
Winner Between Brock Lesnar and Junior Dos Santos: JDS
Analyzing the aspects of each fighter's skill set, Junior dos Santos clearly comes out on top when compared to Brock Lesnar.
More balanced in his overall MMA talents, dos Santos excels in nearly every facet of the fight game when compared to Lesnar.
A vicious boxer with lethal power, JDS has defeated top-tier talent on their feet, making the opposition look like amateurs.
An excellent striker, dos Santos's talents keep the Brazilian standing throughout his matchups, providing him opportunities to finish his fights with one punch.
Outside of Lesnar's wrestling pedigree and amazing physical abilities, JDS clearly dominates Lesnar in all aspects of this epic bout.
If these two behemoth heavyweights meet inside the Octagon, I predict a Round 1 TKO for dos Santos as he picks apart Lesnar, punishing the former champion and obliterating any hopes for Lesnar to recapture the coveted belt.
Winner: Junior dos Santos via Round 1 TKO