Kicking off the UFC 256 PPV main card tomorrow night is a fantastic matchup in the heavyweight division. Former heavyweight champion, Junior Dos Santos (21-8), will be taking on top heavyweight prospect Ciryl Gane (6-0).
This is an incredibly important fight for the former UFC heavyweight champion. Junior Dos Santos is facing a very difficult reality after his last three performances. Dos Santos has been knocked out in three straight UFC appearances.
In March of 2019, Dos Santos finished Derek Lewis in what was his third win in a row. The former champion looked to be poised to make another run at the title. However, then he ran into Francis Ngannou.
Ngannou finished Dos Santos in just 71 seconds. After that fight, Dos Santos was knocked out by Curtis Blaydes and Jairzinho Rozenstruik. Dos Santos looked really good early in the Rozenstruik fight, but a blitz by Bigi Boy resulted in a knockout.
Given the UFC‘s recent announcement about cutting the roster down, a loss could spell the end for Dos Santos. While Cigano is potentially fighting for his career, Ciryl Gane is fighting to make the next leap in his MMA career.
The former professional kickboxer turned mixed martial artist is off to a fantastic start in his career. Gane is a massive heavyweight, but he moves like a guy in the middleweight division. Extremely explosive but also very efficient when he’s in the cage.
In addition to his incredible striking, Gane has very good skills on the ground. Half of his wins so far have come via submission. He even pulled off a heel hook which is not something you see normally for the heavyweights. He has all the makings of a future champion.
UFC 256 Prediction
The sad reality of this fight is that I don’t think it’s that hard to predict. A few years ago, I would have loved this UFC 256 matchup. It would have been incredibly hard to predict given the skillsets of both men.
However, it is a different time now and Junior Dos Santos is not the same fighter he used to be. We see glimpses of the old Cigano whenever he’s in the cage. He looks to be in great shape and his hands still look incredibly crisp.
However, he still doesn’t have answers for fighters who really push him against the fence and his chin is deteriorating. I see Gane marching Dos Santos down in this fight and I think he’ll give the former champion a lot of problems.
Dos Santos’ only chance to win this fight is catching Gane and knocking him out. I do not see this fight going the distance and unfortunately for Cigano, I see him suffering his fourth straight knockout loss at UFC 256.
Prediction: Ciryl Gane by TKO – Round 1