MMA in 2022 gets off to a flying start as former UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos makes his first appearance post-UFC in fledgling Triller Triad Combat. The news was first reported by TMZ and later confirmed by MMA Junkie.
Junior Dos Santos Finds a New Home
JDS’s release from the UFC came as a complete surprise, even as he lost four fights in a row against Francis Ngannou, Jairzinho Rozenstruik, Curtis Blaydes, and most recently Ciryl Gane, all by stoppage. Even so, it was surprising to see him let go after all he had done for the promotion and heavyweight mixed martial arts. Fellow UFC heavyweight legend Alistair Overeem was cut after his loss to Alexander Volkov, so it could have been argued that the UFC was aiming for new blood in the heavyweight division.
Dos Santos (21-9-0 15-6-0 UFC) is one of the greatest fighters of all time, heavyweight or otherwise. He boasted an impressive resume with wins over fighters like Mirko Cro Cop, Frank Mir, Fabricio Werdum, and Stefan Struve. He fought for the belt on six different occasions. For the rest of JDS’ career, many assumed that he would pivot to another major promotion such as Bellator or PFL like his former opponent Verdum did.
Some believed that he was headed for retirement, such as many legends in the space, which would have made sense. He lost four straight fights by knockout, albeit to top contenders, but four straight KO finishes is no way to continue a career.
JDS’ opponent, Kubrat Pulev, is a 40-year-old boxer with a record of 28-2 who has challenged for the unified heavyweight title twice in 2014 and 2020. He dominated former UFC heavyweight titleholder Frank Mir in his first Triller Combat fight, knocking him out clean on the feet.
Triller Combat: What Is It?
New promotion Triller Triad Combat debuted a few months ago to some fanfare but also some ridicule- the promotion sought to answer the age-old question of boxers vs MMA fighters. The UFC sought this approach for the beginning of their reign as MMA pioneers. Still, the debate of combat superiority has continued to rage on, and the Jake Paul-Tyron Woodley saga has caused even more controversy.
The promotion competes in a triangular ring with boxing-style turnbuckles that pits MMA fighters against boxers, and they fight over the course of two-minute rounds. Crossover-style gloves and clinching are used to allow an even playing field, but there are no takedowns or wrestling allowed. It is a sight to behold, and there’s no reason why it won’t catch on, other than the fact that the talent pool is drawn from largely ageing stars. Then again, people wrote off the UFC way back so that it might be time for a change in the combat sports world.
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Featured image credits to Embed from Getty Images