The third heavyweight title fight between Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic was a product born of the first two. Both of these men know what the other guy brings to the table, and that showed tonight at UFC 252, since each man was able to evade the best of the other man. There were many hard shots landed over five rounds, from both men. But it was clear who was the fresher, more diverse fighter in there. And that’s the man that defended his title tonight – Stipe Miocic.
Cormier managed to catch Miocic with some short rights inside, and staggered him late in the first round. But after that, Miocic mostly landed the hardest shots, putting Cormier down in the second but DC got saved by the bell. The fourth was very close, but Miocic took over in the fifth to take a unanimous decision victory.
There’s one issue with the fight, and that’s an eye poke right at the end of the third round. Cormier says he couldn’t see out of his right eye for the last ten minutes, which tainted things a tiny bit.
No matter what happened tonight, if this was Daniel Cormier’s last time in the Octagon, I just want to say that the man has brought millions of people a lot of entertainment over the years and is undoubtedly one of the best fighters in the history of the sport. Props to him, and enjoy retirement if that’s what you choose to do.
- Well, that certainly isn’t what Sean O’Malley or the UFC probably wanted out of their co-main event. O’Malley seemed to hurt his ankle early in the fight when he rolled it, and he never recovered. The first round was fairly even until O’Malley tumbled to the mat in obvious pain. He got up and continued, but a crafty Marlon Vera targeted the area with kicks. An off-balance O’Malley went down once again a bit later, and there was no coming back. Vera jumped him, landed a brutal elbow, and pounded out the formerly-undefeated Suga Sean.
- O’Malley does have an out here, and the injury shouldn’t have much of an effect on his popularity or potential. Hopefully the injury isn’t too serious – after all, he has already lost two years of his career to injury (and USADA).
- Jairzinho Rozenstruik laid out Junior dos Santos during the latter stages of round two, getting back in the win column and sending JDS to his third straight loss. Their post-fight embrace was pretty cool, though!
- Wow, Daniel Pineda. I certainly wasn’t expecting him to beat the hell out of Herbert Burns on the ground. And that crucifix? That is one of the prettiest applications of the crucifix I’ve ever seen in MMA. Pineda was right on top of things, moving with Burns and keeping the arms trapped as they squirmed all over the Octagon. I always liked Pineda’s tenacity in his first UFC run, and I’m happy to see him back. Great stoppage win.
- Merab Dvalishvili is a beast. How does that guy make 135? He looked two weight classes bigger than John Dodson, and largely dominated him. Dodson just never got going, and Dvalishvili made him pay for it. He outworked Dodson both on the feet and in the grappling. Give this man some top five competition.
- Dodson’s ability to bounce up from slams is crazy though. Dvalishvili tried three different ways to slam him down after scooping him up against the cage and carrying him to the center. But all three times, Dodson just bounded off the floor, right back to his feet. That was pretty incredible, even in a losing effort.
- Vinc Pichel beat Jim Miller at his own game. Most expected Pichel to try to stand with Miller, but after dropping the first round off a flukey takedown, he started taking Miller down and beating him up on the cage. The experienced Miller gave him all sorts of fits with his submission attempts, but Pichel beat him up on the feet and ground in the third to take a well-deserved decision. I never like watching Miller lose, but it was a really interesting fight at least.
- Virna Jandiroba is amazing on the ground. She took Felice Herrig down, tied her up, mounted, and spun to the perfect armbar. Game over for Ms. Herrig.
- Daniel Chavez and TJ Brown put on an entertaining scrap. Chavez chewed up Brown’s front leg, but Brown showed his toughness off by still kicking with it – and believe me, it was jacked up. Overall though, Brown just didn’t land enough quality shots, and it cost him a unanimous decision.
- Livia Renata Souza and Ashley Yoder was mostly a lackluster battle of leg kicks. But Souza did some work in the first two rounds when she needed to. Yoder took the third, but it wasn’t enough and Souza got the W.
- Chris Daukaus has some accurate hands. Parker Porter had a couple of bright moments, but they were fleeting. Mostly he was just getting pieced up. He did recover well after getting knocked down the first time, but it wasn’t going to be long before Daukaus caught him again. He did indeed, and picked up the TKO win.
- In the opener, Kai Kamaka and Toney Kelley put on a hell of a war. Super high-paced, tons of action, and lots of damage. This is my fight of the night, and I hope these short-notice fighters get a performance bonus for their efforts. Kamaka won, but both improved their stock.
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