UFC on ESPN 3 Report: Francis Ngannou stops Junior dos Santos in the first round

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2019/06/30/ufc-on-espn-3-report-francis-ngannou-stops-junior-dos-santos-in-the-first-round/

Submitted by: Eric Marcotte

On Saturday night the UFC returned to the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota for their second full card on ESPN. The event was originally to be headlined by a rematch between former welterweight champions Robbie Lawler and Tyron Woodley, but after Woodley was forced to withdraw from the contest due to a hand injury, the UFC 239 matchup between heavyweight contenders Francis Ngannou and Junior dos Santos was moved to headline this event.

Jon Anik was on commentary for the night alongside Michael Bisping and Paul Felder. Performance bonuses were awarded to Francis Ngannou, Joseph Benavidez, Alonzo Menifield and Eryk Anders. The reported attendance for the event was 10,123, and had a gate of $952,204.77.


*Maurice Greene def. Junior Albini by TKO at 3:38 of Round 1
*Amanda Ribas def. Emily Whitmire by rear-naked choke at 2:10 of Round 2
*Dalcha Lungiambula def. Dequan Townsend by TKO at 0:42 of Round 3
*Jared Gordon def. Dan Moret by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).
*Eryk Anders def. Vinicius Moreira by KO at 1:18 of round 1
*Ricardo Ramos def. Journey Newson by unanimous decision (30-27 all)
*Alonzo Menifield def. Paul Craig by KO at 3:19 of Round 1
*Drew Dober def. Marco Polo Reyes by TKO at 1:07 of Round 1
*Vince Pichel def. Roosevelt Roberts by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
*Demian Maia def. Anthony Rocco Martin by majority decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-28)
*Joseph Benavidez def. Jussier Formiga by TKO in 4:47 of Round 2
*Francis Ngannou def. Junior dos Santos by TKO in 1:11 of Round 1


Both men started out aggressive, landing big shots at a high output. Greene stumbled and dropped Albini early with a jab and a straight left, and pursued the finish on the ground. They returned to their feet and Albini landed a solid shot that appeared to rock Greene, however Greene responded with a huge right hook that dropped Albini once more and landed a few follow up strikes on the ground that ended the contest.

WINNER: Maurice Greene by TKO at 3:38 of Round 1

Greene called out Andrei Arlovski in his post fight interview. This was the best Greene has looked thus far in the UFC. Now on a four-fight losing streak, one has to question Junior Albini’s future in the division.

The UFC announced that Daniel Cormier would be the latest athlete hosting Detailed, an ESPN+ series. The other two athletes who have served as Detailed hosts are Peyton Manning and Kobe Bryant, so this is a significant opportunity for Cormier. Cormier’s first episode is set to premier Monday, detailing Amanda Nunes.


Ribas was making her UFC debut tonight. She took Whitmires back early in the first round. Whitmire eventually got out of the position took top control, and spent the rest of the round in that position. In the second round Ribas brought the fight to the ground again and landed some ferocious ground and pound strikes. She took the back of Whitmire and finished the fight with a rear-naked choke.

WINNER: Amanda Ribas by RNC at 2:10 of Round 2

This was an excellent first performance by Ribas. She was overjoyed in her post fight interview and came off as very charismatic.


Both men were making their UFC debuts here, with Townsend taking this fight on short notice after Justin Ledet pulled out due to injury earlier this week. Townsend was connecting with some significant shots early in the round, but Lungiambula managed to shift the momentum of the fight by taking Townsend to the ground. Lungiambula used his superior grappling ability to control the rest of the round, and the entirety of the second. Lungiambula dropped Townsend in the third round with a left hand and a short right and finished the fight with some brutal elbows on the ground.

WINNER: Dalcha Lungiambula by TKO at 0:42 of Round 3

This was a good first impression for Dalcha Lungiambula. He showcased the ability to take Townsend to the ground seemingly at will, and finished it with some powerful strikes late into the fight. He is certainly a prospect to pay attention to going forward.

JARED GORDON (14-3, 155.5) VS DAN MORET (13-5, 155) – LIGHTWEIGHT

Paul Felder left the commentary booth before the fight due to his association with Jared Gordon which, to the best of my recollection, is a first for the UFC.

The first round was action packed and difficult to score, with both men landing a great deal of significant strikes and each scoring a takedown. This was a very exciting start to the contest. The second round took place mostly on the ground, with Gordon maintaining top control and landing some decent strikes. Round three was more of the same and I scored this fight 29-28 Gordon.

WINNER: Jared Gordon by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Gordon said he was upset about his performance tonight in his post fight interview. He spoke about his history of drug abuse, and said he fights for everyone who is going through difficulties in their life. This was a much-needed win for Gordon, who was coming into this fight off of two losses.


This would mark Anders fifth fight in the past 12 months. There was some back and forth grappling to start the fight, until Anders landed three huge punches that knocked Moreira down. Anders followed the knockdown with some strikes on the ground that knocked Moreira out, and unfortunately the referee was late to stop the fight, and Moreira clearly ate two or three huge strikes after he was already unconscious.

WINNER: Eryk Anders by KO at 1:18 of Round 1

This was exactly the performance Anders needed, going into this fight after a trio of losses. The commentators heavily criticized referee Vance Swerdan for not stopping the fight earlier.


Newson is taking this fight on less then two weeks notice after Sergio Pettis pulled out of the originally scheduled bout against Ramos.

The first round was very even, with both fighters gauging timing and distance, and throwing big singular strikes as opposed to combinations. In the second round Newson started connecting with a series of calf kicks that looked to have an effect on Ramos. In the third Ramos shot for a takedown and Newson caught him in a tight looking guillotine, but Ramos managed to escape and landed a huge takedown that put him in top control. Ramos landed a huge spinning elbow that rocked Newson and went on the attack, and Newson responded with a leg kicked that seemed to seriously hurt Ramos toward the end of the round. I scored the fight 29-28 for Ramos.

WINNER: Ricardo Ramos by unanimous decision (30-27 all)

Ramos dedicated his win to a friend of his battling cancer. Ramos performed well against a very different opponent stylistically from the originally scheduled Sergio Pettis.


This contest opened up the main card.

Early in the fight Craig went for a spinning back kick that Meinfield easily reversed, pushing Craig to the ground and only needed a single shot to the grounded Craig to knock him unconscious. Meinfield landed three more punches before referee Herb Dean stopped the contest. Menifield’s power here was something to behold.

WINNER: Alonzo Menifield by KO at 3:19 of Round 1

Menifield has won all of his fights via stoppage, and he is another name to look out for coming out of this fight night. He looked sharp and powerful in there.


Both men started out swinging and Dober put Reyes to the ground with a left hook. Reyes managed to make it back to his feet, but Dober landed another left hook in a wild exchange that knocked Reyes out cold

WINNER: Drew Dober by TKO at 1:07 of Round 1

Both men were throwing heavy hands here, but Dober was very accurate with his strikes and he looked fantastic here. Dober looked good in his last fight against Beneil Dariush and despite the loss and I wouldn’t mind seeing him against that level of competition again in his next fight.


Roberts did a good job of mixing up his strikes in the first round and maintaining his distance to control the round on the feet. With less then a minute left in the round Roberts slammed Pichel on his head and took his back. The second round was more competitive, with both men having spurts of control on the mat, although Roberts still held a noticeable advantage on the feet. In the third round Pichel came alive, nearly locking in a standing guillotine and throwing a spinning elbow that landed flush. Pichel took Roberts to the ground and ended the fight strongly. I scored the fight 29-28 Roberts, but this one could of went either way.

WINNER: Vince Pichel by unanimous decision (29-28 all)

This was a solid win for Pichel who improved to 5-2 in the UFC. He showcased multiple facets of his offence and showed a great deal of resiliency against a tough fighter in Roberts.


This marks the 41-year-old Demian Maia’s 30th fight in the UFC.

Maia took Martin down in the first and maintained dominant position for the majority of the round. Martin did a good job defensively stopping Maia from advancing, but this round was all Maia. Early in the second Martin started out strong, blocking Maia’s takedown attempts and partially landing a head-kick, but Maia eventually got him down and they returned to the same position that they spent the majority of the first in, with Maia landing small shots, seated against the cage. The third round was extremely uneventful and Martin landed the only significant strikes. I scored this fight 29-28 Maia.

WINNER: Demian Maia by majority decision (29-28 x2, 28-28)

The decision was originally announced as unanimous, but was later corrected to a majority decision victory for Maia. This was far from Demian Maia’s best performance, but gets another win on his record to move him past Michael Bisping and Georges St-Pierre and into the sole position of second all time on the UFC win list. This was not a good fight on an otherwise action-packed card.


This was a rematch of their 2013 fight where Benavidez finished Formiga in the first round by TKO.

Benavidez started out strong with some big body shots to Formiga, and Formiga landed a hook where his thumb cut the left eye of Benavidez midway through the first round that clearly bothered Benavidez for the rest of the round. The scrambles in this fight were a treat to watch, with both of these fighters displaying elite level grappling. In the second round the leg kicks of Benavidez were clearly having an effect on Formiga. Benavidez landed a head kick on Formiga with less then 30 seconds remaining in the round and swarmed him, finishing him with seconds left in the round.

WINNER: Joseph Benavidez by TKO at 4:47 of Round 2

Another excellent performance from Joseph Benavidez, who called for a Flyweight title shot against Henry Cejudo in his post fight interview. It’s a complicated situation at flyweight right now, with Cejudo being a two-division champion, as well as recovering from an injury that will keep him on the sidelines for the rest of the year. The future of the flyweight division is still somewhat in question, but it appears likely that a Cejudo/Benavidez rematch is on the table for Cejudo’s eventual return.


Both fighters started off the fight with some brutal leg kicks in the first minute. dos Santos shot in for one of his signature wild right hands and turned his back from Ngannou on his way out. Ngannou took advantage of this landing a huge right hand that put dos Santos on the ground and Junior was clearly done. Ngannou followed up with some standing blows to the turtling dos Santos, and referee Herb Dean stopped the fight.

WINNER: Francis Ngannou by TKO at 1:11 of Round 1

The power of Francis Ngannou is unreal. In his post fight interview he called for a title shot, and after a trio of first round stoppages against Curtis Blaydes, Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos, I don’t think there is any argument against it. Ngannou looks to have completely regained the confidence lost from the Stipe Miocic fight, and is once again the scariest fighter in the world.