Midnight Mania! Francis Ngannou doesn’t believe Junior dos Santos is a jiu-jitsu black belt

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Welcome to Midnight Mania!

Junior dos Santos is a legend of the sport, a former champion with 15 knockout wins to his record. More than that, the Brazilian has been a top contender for roughly a decade, picking up plenty of signature wins along the way. Finally, “JDS” is a jiu-jitsu black belt under Yuri Carlton, who began training the Brazilian in 2012.

But Francis Ngannou — dos Santos’ opponent at UFC on ESPN 3 on June 29th — doesn’t buy into dos Santos’ supposed ground game. Here’s a quote from the Frenchman courtesy of MMAJunkie:

“First of all, I don’t believe that jiu-jitsu black belt. I don’t believe that Dos Santos jiu-jitsu black belt. I don’t know where he’s from, but I don’t believe that. And I don’t mind that at all. But you never know what some fighter is going to come out with. I always keep thinking maybe he’ll try some wrestling or a takedown, but it’s not his comfort zone. I don’t know. He might try everything. But the most important is I’m prepared for every little thing.”

Dos Santos had some unkind things to say about Ngannou’s skills as well, so I suppose it’s all fair game. Regardless, I’ve some experience in analyzing dos Santos’ skill set — I’ve written about the Brazilian in-depth probably 10 times across his UFC career.

To be frank, Ngannou’s argument carries some weight. In 11 years on the roster, dos Santos has attempted just a single submission according to Fightmetric, and it was the ill-fated guillotine attempt against Cain Velasquez that saw his head slammed into the mat! To argue for the Brazilian, his lack of offensive grappling can be explained by dos Santos’ love of punching fools into dust, and the Brazilian has generally shown sound skills from his back.

Speaking from experience, I’ve met a lot of Brazilian MMA fighters who do not live up to their supposed belt rank. At the same time, “JDS” has been doing jiu-jitsu for 15 years under talented grapplers like the Nogueira brothers and coaches at American Top Team.

In short, it’s a safe bet dos Santos knows more than he’s shown. It also isn’t likely to affect this fight in the least.


I really didn’t expect this match up, but I like it!

Turn your sound up and listen to this madness.

Jiu-Jitsu politics/refereeing soured the competitive side of the sport for me long ago. Cheers to these heroes!

Team Alpha Male (TAM) gets lots of visitors from Russia/Eastern Europe, and they all warm up the same way ↓ ↓ ↓

Paulie Malignaggi’s apparent derision for all things MMA is hilarious.

Buddy carries are a common way to end wrestling class at TAM — and a bad time to be a Flyweight!

Izzy is fresh to death.

Slips, Rips, and KO clips

Rodriguez stepped DEEP into this elbow.

Another classic boxing KO

Kevin Aguilar has proven a very entertaining and talented addition to the Featherweight roster. He squares off with Dan Ige on Saturday.

Random Land

Lil Nas X — rap/country star of Old Town Road fame — released another single today in hopes of avoiding one-hit wonder status. In new single “Panini,” the rapper mixes in elements of the Nirvana track “In Bloom.” Check out the comparison:

A lot of folks hate on the art of sampling past music, taking snippets of lyrics from well-known songs, or generally interpolating older songs into music, but they are misguided. Sampling and the like help keep decades old music alive and relevant. Obviously Nirvana is not at risk of being forgotten anytime soon, but there’s countless old soul, jazz, and reggae songs/albums being returned to the public conscious each year when sampled by a smart producer.

Oh, and if you’re wondering why hip hop albums of the last few years tend to be 20-30 tracks filled with sub-two minute songs, it’s all about that Spotify money! Each time the media that carries music progresses, and the music itself adjusts.

There’s your music knowledge for the night. Now here’s a Komodo Dragon swallowing a monkey whole to wrap this thing up.

Sleep well Maniacs! More martial arts madness is always on the way.

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