Derrick Lewis vs Junior Dos Santos
I only have one play for the Wichita card this weekend and quite frankly the only one I can get a good read on and feel confident enough in it with the value it has. Derrick Lewis’ path to victory in almost every one of his fights is to usually score the knockout early. Why? Because everything else he does isn’t very good in MMA. He does have great power behind his hands and brutal top game when he is able to get takedowns on his opponents which make it a nightmare to try and survive. He is essentially a Roy Nelson without the black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Along with being faster and more durable than Nelson but, that’s not saying much to his credit in 2019. As for his opponent, Junior Dos Santos, he has been at the top of the heavyweight division for years and fought the best of the best. Losing to only the absolute elite of the elite in that same division. Lewis isn’t anywhere near the skill level to Miocic, Overeem, or Velasquez – all of which have handed Dos Santos a TKO loss in his career.
Dos Santos’ most important issues are putting his back against the cage and simply not throwing enough to take the center of the octagon. He gets way too comfortable with hugging his back to the cage. That same tactic has cost him critical fights against Velasquez twice and Miocic just a few years ago. If he implies that same tactic here too often in the early rounds when Lewis is most fresh, then it could possibly be a short night for JDS. I don’t trust his durability enough to survive Lewis’ power when he is his strongest in the early rounds. However, I believe JDS will be able to keep Lewis from pressuring him too much by extending his jab and actually circling out. He has shown a bit of improvement in his past two wins over Ivanov and Tuivasa by initiating the pressure and using octagon control. Lewis isn’t the fastest guy in the division and usually hangs back too much. I think he’ll be very cautious trying to pressure JDS fearing the counter strikes that come way too fast for him to be prepared for.
JDS could very well knockout Lewis, but he will probably play it safe in this fight by using his jab and leg kicks every once in a while, to keep Lewis thinking. If he doesn’t pressure Lewis enough then I don’t really expect Lewis to slow down all that much. I’ll pick JDS to pick up the decision win by out striking his opponent and playing it very safe, so he doesn’t have to test his durability against Lewis’ hands.
Prop: Junior Dos Santos wins by decision (+320)