Kubrat Pulev appears to have found his niche. TMZ reports that after thrashing former UFC champion Frank Mir on Triller’s inaugural Triad Combat show last month, Kubrat Pulev will face another onetime titlist in Junior Dos Santos this coming February.
Unlike the grappling-focused Mir, “Cigano” (21-9 MMA) has long used boxing as his key weapon, and it earned him heavyweight gold with a 64-second wipeout of Cain Velasquez in 2011. The Dos Santos of those days, who went on to smash the aforementioned Mir, could have at least made for an entertaining tussle with Pulev (28-2, 14 KO). I’m not saying the guy could have felled a Klitschko, but he had the division’s best jab, a rock-solid chin, and some horrifying power in his hands.
The current 37-year-old Dos Santos is getting thrashed. That chin never recovered from the beatings Velasquez handed him in their rematches, and his habit of backing straight up has been exploited to Hell and back by everyone with the wherewithal to do so. He exited the UFC on the heels of four consecutive knockout losses.
I say this as a years-long fan of Dos Santos, a once-spectacular fighter who’s never been anything but kind and respectful: this is a mistake.