UFC on ESPN 3 Results: Francis Ngannou Beats Junior dos Santos via TKO

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistJune 30, 2019

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JUNE 29:  (L-R) Francis Ngannou of Cameroon punches Junior Dos Santos of Brazil in their heavyweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at the Target Center on June 29, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

Francis Ngannou added yet another first-round finish to his resume with a TKO win over Junior dos Santos to close out UFC on ESPN 3 in Minneapolis on Saturday.

JDS and The Predator started off slowly enough with the two exchanging leg kicks. Dos Santos even knocked Ngannou off balance with one of them, but that success was short-lived. As soon as Ngannou connected with a right hand, it was the beginning of the end.

Needless to say, Twitter was impressed:

Myron Medcalf @MedcalfByESPN

Francis Ngannou is the most dangerous man in the UFC right now. Has his flaws, but I don't think we've ever seen this level of raw power.

José Youngs @JoseYoungs

Francis Ngannou is the most horrifying fighter I've ever seen inside a UFC Octagon… #UFCMinneapolis

The man has proved time and time again that he's capable of putting nearly anyone away early if he lands one of his signature counters.

Mike Bohn @MikeBohnMMA

Francis Ngannou has stopped Junior Dos Santos, Cain Velasquez and Curtis Blaydes in less than 3 minutes total. Give that man another title shot right now. #UFCMinneapolis

After the bout, he wasn't shy about eyeing a title shot.

Shaheen Al-Shatti @shaunalshatti

Francis Ngannou calls his shot and says he wants the winner of DC vs. Stipe. Can't deny this man anymore. #UFCMinneapolis

Ngannou's stock wasn't lower than when he lost to Stipe Miocic and followed it up with a rough loss to Derrick Lewis; however, it's hard to deny that he's fought his way back to title contention with a dominant win over a former champion in dos Santos.


Main Card Results

  • Francis Ngannou defeats Junior dos Santos via technical knockout (Round 1, 1:11)
  • Joseph Benavidez defeats Jussier Formiga via TKO (Round 2, 4:47)
  • Demian Maia defeats Rocco Martin via majority decision (29-28 x2, 28-28)
  • Vinc Pichel defeats Roosevelt Roberts via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
  • Drew Dober defeats Marco Polo Reyes via knockout (Round 1, 1:07)
  • Alonzo Menifield defeats Paul Craig via KO (Round 1, 3:19)

Prelim Results

  • Ricardo Ramos defeats Journey Newson via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
  • Eryk Anders defeats Vinicius Moreira via KO (Round 1, 1:18)
  • Jared Gordon defeats Dan Moret via unanimous decision (30-27 x2, 29-28)
  • Dalcha Lungiambula defeats Dequan Townsend via TKO (Round 3, 0:42)
  • Amanda Ribas defeats Emily Whitmire via submission (Round 2, 2:10)
  • Maurice Greene defeats Junior Albini via TKO (Round 1, 3:38)


Joseph Benavidez vs. Jussier Formiga

The highly anticipated flyweight bout between top contenders Joseph Benavidez and Jussier Formiga was a wild back-and-forth affair with the same ultimate result of their fight nearly six years ago: Benavidez with a TKO victory.

Formiga put on a much better performance than he did the first time around. He arguably won the first round with some crisp striking, and the two engaged in some really fun scrambles on the ground:

ESPN MMA @espnmma

🧙‍♂️ @bisping breaks down the grappling wizardry of @JoeJitsu #UFCMinneapolis https://t.co/lmMxwfZPqb

However, Benavidez's power was once again a major difference between the two. He turned up the pressure toward the end of Round 2 and landed a beauty of a left head kick that precipitated the end. He landed combinations to put away Formiga.

UFC @ufc

The Dapper Scrapper! Emphasis on SCRAPPER tonight! #UFCMinneapolis https://t.co/AadPkCdBpF

It's hard to deny that Benavidez deserves a title shot next. He has beaten everyone there is to beat at flyweight in the post-Demetrious Johnson era. He's the last man to beat current champion Henry Cejudo and should be given the opportunity to beat him again with the belt on the line.


Demian Maia vs. Rocco Martin

Rocco Martin is pretty good at grappling.

Pretty good is not the description of a ground game that can hang with Demian Maia's.

Maia has a particular set of skills on the ground—the kind of skills that can dominate a fight without him landing a single strike. And that's almost what Maia did for the first two rounds of his fight against Martin. In his 30th UFC fight, the Brazilian took Martin to task in a grappling battle and completely shut him down with relentless passing on the ground.

The third round was mostly Maia staying away from his younger opponent and coasting to the win, but it was effective, as he took the decision.

The win moved Maia past some impressive names on the all-time wins list:

MMA Junkie @MMAjunkie

#UFCMinneapolis results: @DemianMaia def. Anthony Rocco Martin via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) https://t.co/cptdgpCXAk https://t.co/5dgjBy2F03

This wasn't the flashiest of Maia's wins, but it was the perfect example of how the jiu-jitsu master is capable of dominating a fight even against good competition.


Roosevelt Roberts vs. Vinc Pichel

There's often a fight in an MMA prospect's coming-of-age process in which a promising fighter simply loses to a veteran who knows how to grind.

For Roosevelt Roberts, it was his fight against Vinc Pichel.

Roberts got off to a good start in the first round, opening a small lead over his 36-year-old opponent. Pichel wasn't going away easily, though. Instead, the UFC veteran worked toward making the fight ugly, going for takedowns and getting to advantageous positions on the ground.

It was something that Roberts had no answer for, as he offered very little in retaliation. Although Roberts was handed his first loss, there's still plenty of hope for him as a prospect at only 25 years old.

E. Spencer Kyte @spencerkyte

Win or lose, this is a huge learning experience for Roberts. #UFCMinneapolis

This was a good barometer win for Pichel, as he is likely to get bigger fights as a gatekeeper in the division after taking out a well-respected prospect.


Drew Dober vs Marco Polo Reyes

Lightweights Drew Dober and Marco Polo Reyes fought as though they had a prearranged agreement to swing at each other until someone went down.

It didn't take long for that to happen.

Dober connected flush with hooks, and down Reyes went. He showed off a killer instinct as he jumped on his opponent and drew the finish in just over a minute.

ESPN MMA @espnmma

PRECISION STRIKE 🎯 Nearly every shot landed for @DrewDober in this finishing sequence #UFCMinneapolis https://t.co/sbOvH2rxDh

This was a nice comeback fight for Dober after a submission loss to Beneil Dariush. Reyes isn't the highest quality of opponent, but it does get Dober back in the win column and make him 4-1 in his last five fights.

Reyes is now just 1-3 in his last four fights, so he'll need to capitalize if he gets another opportunity in the Octagon.


Alonzo Menifield vs. Paul Craig

Fans hoping to see a first-round knockout didn't have to wait for the main event. Alonzo Menifield opened the main card with a memorable finish in the opening minutes when he took out Paul Craig with nasty ground strikes.

Craig was taking the wise approach in trying to wear out the prospect in the early going. He spammed takedown attempts and clinches before unleashing an ill-advised spinning kick.

Menifield made him pay:

UFC @ufc

If you make a mistake... @AlonzoMenifield will knock you out!!! #UFCMinneapolis https://t.co/jni9qziRxP

The 31-year-old moved to a perfect 9-0 with the win with seven of those nine wins going down in the opening round. His raw power and finishing ability in a weight class often devoid of good prospects make him one to continue to keep an eye on.