If there was any question that Junior Dos Santos was a top contender in the heavyweight division, it was all answered as the Brazilian dominated former Pride fighter, Mirko CroCop, en route to a third round stoppage after a barrage of knees and punches forced the Croatian to verbally submit.
Dos Santos came out aggressive immediately to open the fight, as he tried to establish his dominance and take the center of the Octagon. The Brazilian fired off several good shots that put CroCop on his heels, but never putting him in any real trouble.
When it was CroCop's turn to fire back, he blasted Dos Santos with several straight lefts that caught his opponent flush, opening a minor cut over his eye.
The 2nd round saw a strong performance from Dos Santos, while CroCop played a very curious defensive game that basically consisted of putting his hands up and then pushing the Brazilian away when they got in a clinch. Dos Santos kept moving forward and landing good shots, while also opening up a good sized cut over Crocop's left eye.
As the final round started and Dos Santos up 2 rounds to none, the Brazilian wasn't playing to secure the decision as he found a weakness in CroCop's game, blasting away with knees to the body and head.
CroCop tried to cover up, but it did little good as Dos Santos just kept feeding the Croatian a steady diet of knees to the head, followed up by a big punch that appeared to bust CroCop's eye socket. Shortly thereafter CroCop was covering up and waiving at the referee to stop the fight giving the Brazilian the biggest win of his young career.
“I feel very good, my training was very hard, and tonight I got one more victory in my career,” Dos Santos stated following the TKO win. “I hope everyone enjoyed my fight, and the United States has been wonderful to me.”
With UFC heavyweight champion, Brock Lesnar, already paired up with #1 contender Shane Carwin in November, Dos Santos may have established himself as the next fighter to move into the top spot for a title shot with a victory over Pride great, Mirko CroCop. Still, Dos Santos plays a good company man and welcomes any challenger the UFC puts in front of him
“UFC's the boss, whatever they want,” said Dos Santos.