The first two UFC heavyweight title fights between Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier ended one knockout win apiece. At the rubber match at UFC 252 in Las Vegas, it went to the scorecards, and Miocic remains the king and has surely cemented himself as the greatest UFC heavyweight of all-time.
After getting stunned towards the end of round one, Miocic turned the tide in round two with a knockdown of Cormier and he was able to outwork, outland, and outmuscle the former two-division champion en route to a unanimous decision. Cormier’s left eye was swollen during round three and then a missed eye poke by Marc Goddard led to DC being unable to see for the final two rounds, which were close and competitive as both men poured everything they could into this highly anticipated matchup.
For Miocic, it’s his fourth overall heavyweight title defense and he has taken the trilogy over his rival, and for Cormier he effectively announced his retirement from MMA as he’d indicated.
The first strike was a Miocic leg kick. The second strike was the same inside leg kick by the champion. He landed a jab afterward. That hook to the body that Stipe had big success with in the rematch connected early. Cormier took Miocic down but Stipe was able to scramble to his feet. Cormier responded with a knee as he had Stipe in a headlock. Miocic escaped and returned to striking. A 1-2 got through for the champion, followed by a right to the body. Big right hand by Cormier over the top after a body shot by Stipe, and the champ took it. An eye poke by Cormier stopped the action — the third time in as many fights that Cormier had poked Miocic in the eye. Action resumed after a couple of minuets and Miocic absorbed an outside leg kick and came back with an inside leg kick. A right hand over the top and a double body shot by Miocic shifted Cormier. DC twice caught Stipe with right hands in the clinch. Another right hand buckled Miocic’s legs and might have even stolen the round for the challenger at the very end.
Cormier took a groin kick to start round two and there was a brief pause action. Miocic forced Cormier to retreat after a big uppercut but Daniel remain poised and regathered himself. Miocic connected on a left hook to the body while Cormier worked behind his jab and his own low kick. A lunging left hook caught Cormier at the end of the shot. Cormier was doing an excellent job of building off of his jab, while Miocic maintained his accuracy attacking DC’s body. Five big right hands in a row put Cormier down and nearly out to end round two. Stipe threw some punches in mount but not enough to stop the fight at the horn.
Miocic began the third round with a body shot and an overhand right. Three right hands and a knee swelled upCormier’s left eye up and Miocic was upping the volume and looking for the finish. Miocic walked DC to the fence, throwing shoulder strikes and then a spinning elbow to the chest on the exit. Stipe was pressuring more and while Cormier had recovered from the near-KO in round two, he was getting outworked. After a prolonged stalemate in the clinch, Cormier got hit with another right hand. They both traded rights and then Cormier got poked in the eye but the referee did not see it. Cormier said he could not see entering round four.
Both men landed jabs and then Cormier scored with a right hand early in round four. Miocic connected on an uppercut and then walked the former light heavyweight champ to the fence. Not much got done there but it muted Cormier’s offense at a time when he was behind on the scorecards. A big right by Miocic was followed by a hard right by Miocic, who forearmed him straight back to the fence once more. DC had a trip attempt that Stipe stifled and then followed with a left hook. Cormier finished the round well with two more right hands. It was Cormier’s best round since the opener.
They hugged it out to start the fifth and final round. Miocic scored with a jab and then a right hand after Cormier landed a right. This time it was Cormier driving Miocic to the cage but Stipe reversed him easily and landed some knees to the thigh. They separated with under three minutes left in the fight and then they traded haymakers after a failed takedown by Stipe. More cage control time for Miocic with under two minutes to go. Then on the exit he connected on a three-punch combo. Two more right hands by Miocic and then another right by Cormier and what looked like an elbow. Stipe again got an underhook and landed a knee to the body as the fight ended.
Official result: Stipe Miocic def. Daniel Cormier by unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 48-47) to remain the UFC heavyweight champion
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