MMAOB staff writer Adam Martin takes a deeper look at the main event of UFC 252, a five-round trilogy bout for the UFC heavyweight title between champion Stipe Miocic and challenger Daniel Cormier. The event takes place on Saturday, August 15 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Stipe Miocic (-110)
Miocic (19-3) is the UFC heavyweight champion. The 37-year-old American is a two-time UFC champion and he has an overall record of 13-3 in the Octagon. Some of Miocic’s notable wins include Cormier, Francis Ngannou, Junior dos Santos, Alistair Overeem, Fabricio Werdum, and Mark Hunt, with losses to Cormier, dos Santos, and Stefan Struve. Miocic is a fantastic athlete and is one of the most well-rounded fighters the heavyweight division has ever seen. Miocic has a strong striking attack that has helped him rack up 15 wins by knockout. He also has a very solid wrestling game. He’s always in great shape and has some of the best cardio in the division. His only real weak point is his chin as he’s been knocked out a couple of times. Overall, Miocic is one of the most complete fighters in the UFC. He’s proven himself to be a champion twice and a win over Cormier here in the trilogy would solidify his place as the greatest UFC heavyweight of all time.
Daniel Cormier (-110)
Cormier (22-2, 1 NC) is the former UFC heavyweight champion. The 41-year-old American is one of only seven two-division champions in UFC history, having been the former light heavyweight champion. He is one of the best MMA fighters of all time and he has a brilliant record of 11-2, 1 NC in the UFC. Some of Cormier’s notable wins include Miocic, Derrick Lewis, Anthony Johnson, Anderson Silva, Alexander Gustafsson, and Dan Henderson, with losses to Miocic and Jon Jones. Cormier was the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Champion and he has blossomed into one of the legends of the sport in the UFC. Cormier is one of the most successful wrestlers we’ve ever seen in MMA and he’s used the takedown as his bread-and-butter for years. But he also has power in his hands and has scored some incredible knockouts in his career. He has few weaknesses but his cardio is one. Cormier is one of the best we’ve ever seen but he says he might call it a career following this fight. Regardless of the result of the bout, he’s certainly one of the best of all time.
Fight Breakdown: I feel like the odds are dead on listing this as a Pick ’em. This is a really tough fight to call between two evenly-matched fighters who have shown they have what it takes to beat one another. Cormier shined in the first fight with the KO win, but Miocic proved his championship heart when he made the adjustments and won the rematch. I liked what Miocic did in the second fight when he started going to the body and tire Cormier out. Anderson Silva also hurt Cormier to the body, so perhaps there is a weakness there that Miocic can exploit again. No doubt Cormier is going to be extremely dangerous early on in this fight and he has what it takes on knock Miocic out. But Miocic has the better cardio, and if Cormier can’t get him out of there early, I think Miocic has the advantage the longer the fight goes. Cormier is a year older than the last time they fought and while Miocic is no spring chicken himself, he’s slightly younger which is another edge in addition to his reach advantage. Given the way the first two fights between these two played out, it’s hard to be confident picking either guy. Ultimately, however, I believe Miocic has enough edges to make me lean his way, and just like the first two fights, I don’t see this trilogy bout going the distance.
Prediction: Stipe Miocic wins via TKO