Junior dos Santos has demonstrated repeatedly that he’s not short on punching power. But, don’t expect the former champ to just stand in the pocket and trade shots with Francis Ngannou.

“Cigano” will face the fellow, heavyweight contender tonight at UFC Minneapolis, in a contest not too many people expect to last five rounds. After all, JDS has recorded 10 stoppage wins in his UFC run to date, while Ngannou has wracked up 8 in the Octagon. More recently, the slugger needed just over one minute – total – to take out Curtis Blaydes and Cain Velasquez.

Well, dos Santos is keenly aware of the dangers Ngannou presents, as recently the star had this to say about tonight’s match-up (quotes via MMA Fighting):

“I think this fight has everything to end in the first round,” dos Santos said. “I move really well, so he can expect that from me. Moving a lot, but always attacking, being aggressive. He must be ready to dance. Muhammad Ali-style. Fly like a butterfly, sting like Cigano — not like a bee [laughs].”

“Ngannou is a really strong guy, has heavy hands,” dos Santos said. “I think it’s no exaggeration to say he’s the most dangerous man in MMA today. A punch that connects, even if it only grazes, will knock you out. He’s a dangerous guy and I’m getting ready for that. I know his potential, the danger he offers in the fight, but that’s the type of challenge that excites me.

It’s going to be an edge-of-your-seat headliner, no question, and it would be pretty surprising if the fight ends up being a dud. That said, don’t be too surprised if JDS tries taking this fight into the mid rounds, as  a way to avoid exchanging with Ngannou when he’s fresh.

The 35-year-old dos Santos is coming off a stoppage win over Derrick Lewis in March, and has won three straight fights.

Here is the line-up for UFC Minneapolis (UFC on ESPN 3):

UFC on ESPN 3 Main Card (8 p.m. ET)

265 lbs.: Francis Ngannou vs. Junior dos Santos
125 lbs.: Joseph Benavidez vs. Jussier Formiga
170 lbs.: Demian Maia vs. Anthony Rocco Martin
155 lbs.: Roosevelt Robert vs. Vic Pinchel
155 lbs.: Drew Dober vs. Marco Polo Reyes
205 lbs.: Paul Craig vs. Alonzo Menifield

UFC on ESPN 3 Prelims (5 p.m. ET)

135 lbs.: Journey Newson vs. Ricardo Ramos
205 lbs.: Eryk Anders vs. Vinicius Castro
145 lbs.: Vince Murdock vs. Jordan Griffin
155 lbs.: Jared Gordon vs. Dan Moret
205 lbs.: Dalcha Lungiambula vs. Justin Ledet
115 lbs.: Emily Whitmire vs. Amanda Ribas
265 lbs.: Maurice Greene vs. Junior Albini

Line-up via MMA Mania

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