MMAOB staff writer Adam Martin takes a deeper look at the main event of UFC 241, a five-round title fight between UFC heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier and former champion Stipe Miocic. The event takes place Saturday, August 17 at Honda Center in Anaheim, California.
Daniel Cormier (-135)
Cormier (22-1, 1 NC) is the UFC heavyweight champion and the former UFC light heavyweight champion. The 40-year-old American is one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time. Since making his pro debut in 2009, Cormier has put together an incredible resume in the sport. He started his future Hall of Fame career off by running the table in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix with wins over Josh Barnett and Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva. When the UFC bought Strikeforce, Cormier came over and defeated Roy Nelson, Frank Mir and Dan Henderson to earn a title shot against Jon Jones. Cormier lost a decision to Jones, but responded with wins over Anderson Silva, Anthony Johnson and Alexander Gustafsson to get another title shot at Jones. That fight didn’t go well, but Cormier has bounced back since then with wins over Volkan Oezdemir, Derrick Lewis and Miocic. Other than Jones, no one has given Cormier much trouble in his fights. And he’s undefeated when fighting at heavyweight. With his combination of elite wrestling, pristine cardio and underrated striking, Cormier has morphed into one of the most well-rounded and dangerous fighters in the game. He beat Miocic last summer in a big upset and is looking to prove it wasn’t a fluke with a win in this weekend’s highly-anticipated rematch.
Stipe Miocic (+115)
Miocic (18-3) is the former UFC heavyweight champion. The 36-year-old American is one of the greatest heavyweights in MMA history. He has been fighting in the UFC since 2011 and has racked up a 12-3 record that includes wins over the likes of Junior dos Santos, Francis Ngannou, Fabricio Werdum, Mark Hunt, Alistair Overeem and Andrei Arlovski. He has lost three times, to dos Santos, Stefan Struve and Cormier last year. Miocic is a very well-rounded fighter who is dangerous anywhere the fight goes. On the feet he has a long reach and a sharp boxing game that gives his opponents fits. He also has a dominant wrestling game and has the cardio to go a full hard five rounds. If there’s any flaw in his game it might be his chin as he has been knocked out twice. Last summer Miocic put his belt on the line against Cormier and lost it. He’s looking to show that was just a bad night at the office this weekend as he gets the change to avenge his loss and get his belt back.
Fight Breakdown: This is going to be a great fight. The first time these two fought last summer, DC finished it early with a quick knockout. Miocic has had a lot of time to prepare for this challenge again, and I believe this rematch will be a more competitive fight. Cormier has admitted in interviews leading up to this fight that he doesn’t think he’ll win by a quick knockout either and I agree with that. I expect a lot more wrestling in this rematch. Although Miocic has solid wrestling chops, Cormier should have the advantage there. On the feet the fight should be competitive as well but I think there is going to be a lot of clinching and this rematch will be a longer fight. I see Cormier controlling the fight against the cage and getting key takedowns when necessary to score points on the judges’ scorecards. I believe the standup will be closer this time around but think Cormier’s speed will be the key to him winning the exchanges. At the end of 25 minutes I predict Cormier to retain the title by winning a unanimous decision.
Prediction: Daniel Cormier wins via decision