WEDNESDAY NEWS DIGEST: Junior dos Santos may be in line for Heavyweight Title shot, Bisping talks Romero, Hardy clarifies (w/Hiscoe’s Analysis)

By Mike Hiscoe, MMATorch contributor

Juniot dos Santos (artist Grant Gould © MMATorch)

An injury to opponent Stefan Struve may have worked in Junior dos Santos’s favor, as reports indicate he will be fighting of the UFC Heavyweight Championship very soon.

Combate out of Brazil is reporting that a bout between UFC Heavyweight Champion Stipe Miocic and dos Santos is being targeted for UFC 211, which is set to take place on May 13 from Dallas, Texas. UFC has yet to officially announce the bout.

Dos Santos and Miocic have met once before, at the Dec. 2014 UFC on Fox show from Phoenix. Dos Santos won a tightly contested decision and the fight was awarded Fight of the Night. Since the fight, Dos Santos has a loss against Alistair Overeem and a victory over Ben Rothwell. Miocic is undefeated since the fight and rebounded with knockout wins over Mark Hunt and Andrei Arlovski before winning the championship from Fabricio Werdum and defending against Overeem.

Dos Santos was scheduled to fight Stefan Struve in the main event of UFC’s Feb. 19 show from Halifax, but was pulled from the card when Struve suffered an injury and a replacement couldn’t be found.

Miocic is the top ranked heavyweight and #7 pound-for-pound in the most recent Rankings, while dos Santos is ranked #5 at heavyweight.

Hiscoe’s Analysis: Sometimes timing just works in your favor and you get a big fight. I think that’s what happened with Junior dos Santos here. There have been rumblings that he turned down some opponents as possible replacements for Struve, but I feel it is within his rights not to take a bad matchup just to save an expendable card. In the two years since they last fought, Miocic has looked great, while dos Santos looked very different physically against Overeem, but rebounded pretty well against Ben Rothwell. The Junior dos Santos of 2011-2012 would have likely walked through Ben Rothwell though, where last April they went the distance. With Cain Velasquez hurt, that doesn’t leave a lot of options at heavyweight. It was either dos Santos or Fabricio Werdum, who Miocic just knocked out last year so this was the best fight to make right now to get Miocic a fight in the first half of 2017.


-Michael Bisping is now telling media that he may be interested in fighting Yoel Romero next after previously stating that Romero would “absolutely” not be his next fight. Bisping told that he wants “the biggest money fight possible.”

-Joanna Jedrzejczyk posted on Instagram that she is about to start a new fight camp. No opponent or date has been announced, but the March 18 London show, as well as UFC 210 and 211 are awaiting top fights to be announced.

-Dan Hardy clarified remarks he made suggesting he may have thought last week’s Tito Ortiz vs. Chael Sonnen fight was fixed. He had initially tweeted “The #Bellator170 main event was more choreographed than a Brittany Spears music video,” only to delete it. On Monday’s edition of “The MMA Hour,” Hardy said that he doesn’t think the fight was fixed or choreographed, but that perhaps Sonnen didn’t go into the fight “with the intention of giving it everything he’s got.”

-Chael Sonnen was briefly on board to grapple at this weekend’s Submission Underground 3 event against Garry Tonon, but Bellator quickly pulled him from the event.

-Bellator 173 on Feb. 24 from Belfast, Ireland will feature fights from the British BAMMA organization. Bellator and BAMMA co-promoted an event from Dublin back in December. The scheduled main event is Liam McGeary vs. Chris Fields.

FloCombat has announced that Ben Askren will defend his ONE FC welterweight championship at the April 21 event from Manila. No opponent has been announced.

NOW CHECK OUT YESTERDAY’S UPDATE: TUESDAY NEWS DIGEST 1/24: Mike Goldberg says he was shocked and in disbelief when told UFC wasn’t renewing his contract (w/Hiscoe’s Analysis)

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