Former UFC heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos has recently been angling for a fight with reigning champ Stipe Miocic. Apparently, however, the Brazilian striker has settled for a fight with towering Dutchman Stefan Struve. The two heavyweights will meet in the main event of the UFC’s return to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada on February 19.
Dos Santos and Struve, of course, have met once before. Their first fight occurred at UFC 95, all the way back in 2009. On that night, Dos Santos earned a TKO win in a mere 54 seconds. Since that first fight, the two fighters have embarked on very different career trajectories.
Struve has has counteracted his occasional losses with modest win-streaks. Since his loss the Dos Santos, the 28-year-old has been knocked out by Roy Nelson, Travis Browne, Mark Hunt and Alistair Overeem. His most recent loss occurred in 2015, when he gave up a decision to the recently ostracized Jared Rosholt. He has interspersed these losses with wins over competition like Pat Barry, Dave Herman, Stipe Miocic, and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. In his two most recent bouts, he has knocked out Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva and submitted Daniel Omielanczuk.
Dos Santos, on the other hand, has undeniably realized greater success since his first fight with Struve. He followed his defeat of Struve with seven-straight wins, ultimately winning the heavyweight title from Cain Velasquez and defending it against Frank Mir. Unfortunately for Dos Santos, he then surrendered the title to Velasquez in a rematch, and has been hot and cold since. In his five most recent bouts he has alternated knockout losses to Velasquez and Alistair Overeem with defeats of Mark Hunt, Stipe Miocic and most recently, Ben Rothwell.
Struve and Dos Santos are, interestingly enough, the only two men to defeat the reigning heavyweight champ Miocic.
This February 19 event will mark the UFC’s second trip to Halifax. The first occurred in 2014, when Rory MacDonald defeated Tarec Saffiedine to earn a crack at the UFC welterweight title.
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