The Match Up - Middleweight
Typical finishing move: TKO punches (4)
Typical finishing move by Sarafian: RNC(2)/Arm Triangle Choke (2)
Santos Jr. +135
3 Things You Should Know
1. TUF Brazil is producing UFC ready prospects at a rate proportional to Terrence Malick filmmaking. Don't expect Sarafian to change this principle.
Expecting the international versions of TUF to debut with something even half as good as the original in terms of prospect output was always gonna be a miraculous outcome. But there was still hope that we'd at least get some good depth, similar to TUF. Not everyone has to be a Rashad Evans. But even a Chris Leben can suffice, and right now the international fight climate can only muster an Amir Sadollah drizzle.
Some of the runner ups have done well for themselves. Names like Sergio Moraes, and Godofredo Castro might end up being better than their counterparts in Cezar Ferreira, and Rony Jason when all is said and done. Nonetheless, it's a little unfortunate. Brazil isn't quite the Edmonton Oilers of TUF, but you still want a little more considering the country's pedigree in producing top notch fighters.
2. The motherboard named Antonio dos Santos "Junior Alpha" Jr. should be a challenge for Sarafian, even if the Jungle Fight LHW title means only slightly more than a used Twix wrapper.
No disrespect to Jungle Fight's hardware. But dos Santos didn't exactly face a gang of Riffs to get through the division. However, he has a solid skillset. He's a stocky MW, and packs a lot of power in his fists. He's not as active as he could be, but being 26 means he's in his prime, and could pick up a few things with the right training and direction.
Despite his elephant legs, he doesn't use his kicks all that much. He's also fairly comfortable on the ground, so don't be surprised if this bout ends up with a lot of clinch work, and some old school top control.
It's hard to tell what his ceiling is. He's not fast or particularly athletic despite his build, but he's sturdy and capable of catching his opponents with some sizzle.
3. Best case scenario: quick TKO finish by dos Santos (Jr). Worst case scenario: Renzo Gracie vs. Michiyoshi Ohara.
Sarafian is on an awful run. He didn't look that bad even in defeat against Cezar or CB, but I have no idea what he was doing against Kunimoto. Not that Kunimoto is bad. He isn't. But Kunimoto is a lot like Sarafian: talented but flawed. And Sarafian just looked a little more flawed than Kiichi that night.
It's a little hard to say how these fight plays given how the small amount of footage there is on dos Santos Jr. Junior Alpha. After all, Sarafian will want this bout on the ground, and dos Santos' takedown defense is essentially an x-factor. Although one of the things you can typically bet on these days is for a fighter to have takedown defense like he/she has good submission defense: it's just easier to prepare these days since the fundamentals are less complicated than generating offense.
Having said that, Daniel is still a good fighter who I think deserves the benefit of the doubt. His striking is not terrible, and he was on a decent enough season of TUF that I think functionally getting to the finals warrants optimism. Dos Santos Jr, as I said, is pretty plodding. While he's not slow, he doesn't shuffle on the feet enough to really take advantage of that power in his fists. Sure, footwork is not a weapon in and of itself, and some fighters can make it work to their advantage, but only athletes. dos Santos Jr. isn't the athlete in this fight, and that's usually the difference.
Sarafian by Decision.