Junior Dos Santos Cruises to Victory over Ben Rothwell; UFC Fight Night Zagreb Main card Recap

On this spring afternoon the UFC headed to Croatia for UFC Fight Night Zagreb. The main event was a heavy weight bout between Junior Dos Santos and Ben Rothwell. Ben was poised to stake his claim as a legitimate title contender but he may have bitten off more than he could chew. Junior turned back the clock a few years and showed why he is still one of the best boxers in UFC heavyweight history. He eaily picked the big man apart to cruise to victory. In the co main event Derrick Lewis made quick and vicious work of Gabriel Gonzaga with a knockout in the first round. It was another action packed Sunday card for the UFC.

As predicted the fight with Junior Dos Santos(18-4) and Ben Rothwell(36-10) was met with a brief feeling out period. Ben is truly a hard man to figure out as his unorthodox style throws off anyone he fights. Junior connected more but Rothwell had the bigger shots. In the second Ben found success with an outside leg kick but after an in advert eye poke Junior started to find his jab. He landed a great right followed by a front kick that sent Rothwell to the canvas to finish the second. The third and forty rounds were all Dos Santos. Ben pressed forward but his head movement was not fast enough to avoid the quick jab of Junior. The fifth was much of the same with Junior having his way with Rothwell. He even threw in a few more legs kicks and a knee for good measure. It was the type of performance that shows Cigano is still a viable candidate in the heavy weight division and Rothwell may return to the outside looking in.

It only took one round for Derrick Lewis(15-4) to tell the Croatian fans to be quite as he put Gabriel Gonzaga (17-11) to sleep. Just as devastating as the recent Mark Hunt KO look for this highlight to be on every ones reel this year. After s very small feeling out period Gonzaga shot in for a great takedown and lay down a vicious elbow to Lewis. It would all be for not as Derrick was able to regain his footing and stalk Gabriel before missing with a huge upper cut but landing an even deadlier hook to the chin. That was all she wrote as the Black Beast found his mark and boy was it loud. Not quite sure if a title shot is in the immediate future for Lewis but one thing is for sure he is always a joy to watch.

Curtis Blaydes(5-1) unbeaten streak came to an end at the hands of Francis Ngannou(7-1). The doctor stopped the fight in after the second round and Blaydes surely wasn’t happy about it. Ngannou seemed to hold the upper hand in the fight anyway with a solid takedown in the first followed by a barrage of punches. In the second round is where Francis continued to do work on the eye to cause the inevitable.

Marcin Tybura(13-2) didn’t have the octagon debut he hoped for. After a strong first round for he and Timothy Johnson (10-2) the fight become one sided. Johnson laid in on Marcin stunning him a few times in route to a decision victory. Marcin had a few moments with a takedown and a nice kick to the head but it wasn’t enough damage to earn him his first UFC victory.

The fight between Igor Pokrajac(28-13) and Jan Blachowicz(19-5) was an intense war. The two big men went at it for all three rounds with Jan going to the takedown often when engaging on the feet. Back and forth they went through the first two rounds with Jan claiming the edge due to the takedowns. After a bloody second there was an exchange were Igor called on Jan who responded the same. Once again the two engaged until Jan took him down again. It was the right formula for victory as Jan snatched the decision from the judges.

The first round was completely dominated by the always impressive
submission game of Maryna Moroz(7-1). After eating a knee from Cristina Stanciu (5-1) she took her to the canvas with an intense body lock looking to crank her neck but was unsuccessful. The second round started off much better for Cristina as she landed a big shot early to the face of Moroz and followed up with a kick to the body. She was on the submissive attack with a missed heel hook that put Maryna on her back. After they returned to their feet Maryna landed a great combination of her own before ending the round. It seemed all tied up going into the third round and a big kick to the stomach opened up the round for Cristina. Soon after both ladies were engaged in a leg lock and arm bar war to finish the fight. The judges felt Mayrna did enough and awarded her with the win.

Up next for the UFC is UFC Fight Night Teixeira vs Evans on April 16th. The full results from UFC Fight Night Zagreb are below.

Main Card
Junior dos Santos def. Ben Rothwell via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45)
Derrick Lewis def. Gabriel Gonzaga via knockout (Round 1, 4:48)
Francis Ngannou def. Curtis Blaydes via TKO (doctor’s stoppage) (Round 2)
Timothy Johnson def. Marcin Tybura via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Jan Blachowicz def. Igor Pokrajac via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Maryna Moroz def. Cristina Stanciu via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Prelims
Zak Cummings def. Nicolas Dalby via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Alejandro Perez def. Ian Entwistle via verbal submission (Round 1, 4:04)
Mairbek Taisumov def. Damir Hadzovic via technical knockout (Round 1, 3:44)
Damian Stasiak def. Filip Pejic via submission (rear-naked choke) (Round 1, 2:16)
Lucas Martins def. Robert Whiteford via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
Jared Cannonier def. Cyril Asker via knockout (Round 1, 2:44)
Bojan Velickovic def. Alessio Di Chirico via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

Travis Brown

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