16 August 2020 08:37
Stipe Miocic defeated Daniel Cormier for the second time in three fights, successfully defending his Heavyweight Championship in a phenomenal five-round bout in the main event of UFC 252. Miocic tagged Cormier with a flurry of fists at the end of the second round, a vicious sequence that would have ended the fight had Cormier not been saved by the bell. The third round concluded with Cormier getting poked in the eye, which was missed by referee Marc Goddard. Miocic was also poked in the eye in the opening round, but far more damage was done when Cormier took a finger in his left eye. The 41-year-old Cormier appears to be at the end of his fighting career, with a rematch for the title a very unlikely prospect.
Miocic now controls the heavyweight division, though he is surrounded by hungry challengers in Jon Jones and Francis Ngannou. Marlon "Chito" Vera shocked "Sugar" Sean O'Malley, staking his claim to contention in the bantamweight division. Another highlight was the work of Jairzinho Rozenstruik, who reclaimed his swagger with a TKO victory against Junior dos Santos. It is an especially tough loss for dos Santos considering this is his third defeat in a row, but the win elevates Rozenstruik into the top five of the heavyweight division. Following six years away from the Octagon, Daniel Pineda celebrated his UFC return with a TKO victory against Herbert Burns, and bantamweight Merab Dvalishvili opened the card with a unanimous decision against John Dodson. If Cormier does not return, he had an incredible run in the cage, but ultimately could not get past Miocic in his final two fights. Miocic continues to build his legacy in the UFC, marking his claim as the greatest Heavyweight Champion of all-time. HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE FIGHT: CHAMPION STIPE MIOCIC VS. Stipe Miocic defeated Daniel Cormier by unanimous decision to retain the Heavyweight Championship. Miocic (20-3) now has the most heavyweight title fights in UFC history. He prevented Cormier (22-3, 1 NC) from using his wrestling skills, and a poke to the eye of Cormier, one that went unnoticed by referee Marc Goddard, altered the final rounds of the fight. The two heavyweights felt each other out in the first five minutes, and both tagged their opponent with some solid shots, especially a significant right hand from Cormier to the face of Miocic. The second round opened with Miocic hitting Cormier with a couple shots, but Cormier responded with some power punches of his own. Through two rounds, this fight was all about trading shots, as Miocic did not allow Cormier to work off the mat. Miocic ended the second round with consecutive right hooks, and was in a position to end the fight if the round was not in its final seconds. As the third round started, a compromised Cormier appeared to be one shot away from losing the fight, but persevered despite some heavy shots from Miocic. The round ended with an eye poke to Cormier that the referee missed, which did far more damage than the eye poke that hit Miocic in the first round. By the start of the fourth round, Cormier could barely open his left eye. Yet he continued the round, incredibly, and laid some damage on Miocic. Entering the fifth and final round, it appeared to be anyone's fight. BANTAMWEIGHT FIGHT: SEAN O'MALLEY VS. Marlon "Chito" Vera took advantage of O'Malley (12-1), who injured his right knee in the opening round. HEAVYWEIGHT FIGHT: JAIRZINHO ROZENSTRUIK VS. Junior dos Santos won the UFC Heavyweight Championship in 2011, and Jairzinho Rozenstruik made that seem like ancient history in their heavyweight fight. Rozenstruik (11-1) connected with a dynamic left-right combo in the second round, then quickly sent dos Santos (21-8) back to the mat with a barrage of fists for a TKO victory. Rozenstruik won his first 10 fights, then met reality when he was obliterated by Francis Ngannou this past May at UFC 249. But with the potential of some openings atop the heavyweight division, this was an extremely important win. Dos Santos had a slight edge in the opening round, but Rozenstruik's power was simply too much. After six years away from the UFC, Daniel Pineda returned with an impressive victory against Herbert Burns. Pineda (27-13, 2 NC) won the fight by TKO in the second round following referee stoppage. Burns (11-3) did enough damage to Pineda's left eye that it was not a certainty he would have even been allowed to fight in the third round, but Pineda did not allow it to reach that point. Burns was the favorite entering the fight, but he did not make weight and ultimately was a step behind in the second round. Pineda delivered some ground-and-pound punishment to finish the fight, and the 35-year-old makes his return to UFC a triumphant one. BANTAMWEIGHT FIGHT: MERAB DVALISHVILI VS. Merab Dvalishvili defeated John Dodson by unanimous decision to open the main card of UFC 252. Dvalishvili (12-4) put together a solid outing against Dodson (21-12), controlling the pace of the fight and reminding the bantamweight division that he is going to be a very tough out. While still seeking his first UFC finish, Dvalishvili dominated the fight. Dvalishvili landed significant knees onto the lower body of Dodson in the opening five minutes, displaying a patient approach on Dodson that won him the round. Dodson came out with a more aggressive approach in the second round, but Dvalishvili was constantly one step ahead. While the fight is extremely disappointing for Dodson, that was a relentless, one-sided victory for Dvalishvili, who now picks up the biggest win of his career. UFC Heavyweight Champion Stipe Miocic seeks to retain his title against Daniel Cormier at UFC 252. Cormier claims this will be the final fight of his storied career, and Miocic plans to send his opponent into retirement with one final defeat. This will mark the third time Miocic and Cormier step into the Octagon to face one another. Cormier (22-2, 1 NC) made quick work of Miocic (19-3) in their first meeting two summers ago, but Miocic regained the Heavyweight Championship last summer when he wore down an exhausted Cormier in the fourth round. The main event of UFC 252 will prove whether Cormier was simply out of shape in that fight, which he openly admits, or whether time has caught up to him and he is no longer the elite fighter he once was. The card also features two bantamweight fights, another heavyweight bout, and a catchweight fight. O'Malley (12-0) meets bantamweight Marlon "Chito" Vera. UFC 252 also includes a second heavyweight battle, as Jairzinho Rozenstruik looks to regain his momentum with a victory against Junior dos Santos. Rozenstruik (10-1) had been on a 10-fight win streak but was absolutely wrecked this past May by Francis Ngannou. Now standing in his way is the immensely talented dos Santos (21-7), who is also chasing a win after dropping his past two fights. This fight will come down to strikes, which may favor dos Santos, one of the most skilled boxers in the UFC. And the second bantamweight fight on the card pits Merab Dvalishvili against John Dodson. Dvalishvili (11-4) is expected to pick up a win, and some much needed momentum, as a considerable favorite against Dodson (21-11). All eyes will be on Miocic and Cormier as they fight for both the heavyweight title and their legacies. If Cormier wins, there is always the chance that he will call out longtime rival Jon Jones for one final fight.