Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned pay-per-view (PPV) business last night (Sat., Sept. 10, 2016) as UFC 203 went down inside Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. The main event saw Stipe Miocic hold on to his Heavyweight title by absolutely crushing Alistair Overeem via vicious ground-and-pound in the very first round (video highlights here). In the co-main event, Fabricio Werdum made it two-for-two against Travis Browne, earning a unanimous decision win over "Hapa" in what truly was an odd three-round fight (see it).
Biggest Winner: Stipe Miocic
"You're not the champ until you actually defend the belt." That's an adage that every title holder in any combat sport has had echoed in their ear. That said, Miocic can boast a successful title defense to his credit after taking out "The Reem" in the first round of their main event bout. Though he may not have showed it, Stipe likely had plenty of pressure on him going into the fight, as he was fighting in front of his hometown crowd and was eager to prove that his one-punch knockout over Fabricio Werdum last May was far from a fluke.
By dismantling Overeem rather easily, Miocic erased any and all doubts as to why he's sitting at the top of the 265-pound mountain. With back-to-back knockouts in as many title fights, Stipe has proven that he's going to be one tough cookie to crack and he won't let go of his belt too easily.
Runner(s) Up: Jimmie Rivera and Mickey Gall.
Let's face it, most people expected Gall to take out C.M. Punk rather easily, which he did. Sadly, we didn't get to see what Punk had, as he failed to pop any offense thanks to an instant takedown from Mickey. After Gall choked out the former WWE superstar (video highlights here), I'm sure he breathed a huge sigh of relief because he didn't want to be the guy to lose to a MMA novice.
Not only did Rivera keep his impressive MMA win streak alive, which now sits at 19 with his win over Urijah Faber, but his win over "California Kid" is undoubtedly the biggest of his career. It's one that will put him on the map and catapult his name up the ranks. It will only get tougher for Jimmie from here, but a win over Faber is a nice feather in his cap that he can enjoy for quite some time.
Biggest Loser: Alistair Overeem.
In what was his first-ever UFC title fight, Overeem didn't look like a man who was ready for the moment. In what can only be classified as an odd performance, Alistair began his fight on a bike, running away from Stipe anytime he popped any offense off. In what one can only describe as trying to pick his shots, Overeem also didn't pop off any offense on his own. Sure, he dropped Stipe and attempted a guillotine, but other than that, his strategy was highly-questionable. Nevertheless, after Miocic finally got it to the ground, it was all she wrote for "The Reem," as Miocic unleashed hell with a flurry of strikes that put the former Strikeforce champion out for the count.
For complete UFC 203 results and coverage click here.