By the Numbers: Francis Ngannou vs. Junior dos Santos

By Mark Raymundo Jun 26, 2019


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Fans in Minneapolis are in for an explosive heavyweight treat as the Francis Ngannou-Junior dos Santos duel has been moved from UFC 239 to UFC on ESPN 3 slated for June 29. Dos Santos will try to be the first person to finish Ngannou while the latter will look to add another former champion to his list of victims. Let the numbers below provide some insight on which fighter could get his hand raised.

UFC championship experience

Dos Santos and Ngannou are championship-caliber fighters who have actually contended for the title. But between the two, it’s only dos Santos who was able to realize his dreams. The Brazilian has fought for the UFC heavyweight belt a total of five times.

After decisioning Shane Carwin at UFC 131, “Cigano” earned the right to challenge then newly-minted champion Cain Velasquez and won by first-round knockout. He defended the title against Mir before losing it to Velasquez in a rematch and yet again in a rubber match. Dos Santos later earned another shot but was denied by Stipe Miocic in their rematch.

Miocic is the same person who beat Ngannou for the heavyweight title at UFC 220, the latter’s lone UFC championship appearance. Before that title showdown, Ngannou compiled an undefeated Octagon record of 6-0.

Current or former UFC champions fought

Both are top-ranked heavyweights who have fought the best in the division, with the more tenured dos Santos parading a deeper resume. In fact, he has fought and defeated five UFC titleholders. The native of Santa Catarina, Brazil, had one of the most impressive Octagon debuts when he knocked out Fabricio Werdum at UFC 90. He then defeated Carwin, Velasquez and Mir in succession, and later on, Miocic.

Ngannou has faced three UFC champions, beating two of them. He knocked out Andrei Arlovski and Velasquez, and was decisioned by Miocic.

Finishing rate (knockout)

Like many in the division, Ngannou and dos Santos rely heavily on their fists. Their respective knockout finish rates, however, show that they are among the most effective. Ngannou, for example, boasts a 69 percent knockout finish rate, having starched nine of his opponents. These are Bilal Tahtahi, William Baldutti, Luis Henrique Barbosa de Oliveira, Bojan Mihajlovic, Arlovski, Alistair Overeem, Velasquez and Curtis Blaydes twice.

Dos Santos, meanwhile, has a slightly higher knockout finish rate at 71 percent. Of his 21 career victories, he was able to starch 15, namely Jailson Silva Santos, Edson Ramos, Joaquim Ferreira, Jair Goncalves, Geronimo dos Santos, Werdum, Stephan Struve, Mirko Filipovic, Gilbert Yvel, Gabriel Gonzaga, Velasquez, Mir, Mark Hunt, Tai Tuivasa and Derrick Lewis.

Finishing rate (submission)

It’s easy to forget that dos Santos is a jiu-jitsu black belt, given the power in his hands. However, he’s only had one submission stoppage, choking out Eduardo Maiorino in his second professional fight. That accounts for 5 percent of all his victories. Ngannou, on the other hand, has tapped out four opponents, making for a 31 percent submission finish rate. His victims include Rachid Benzina, Nicolas Specq, Luc Ngeleka and Anthony Hamilton. Advertisement

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