The most accomplished Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight champion ever, Stipe Miocic, was looking to prove at UFC 241 tonight (Sat., Aug. 17, 2019) that his first round knockout loss to Daniel Cormier last year was just a fluke. Cormier, meanwhile, was naturally looking to prove the opposite, as well as possibly tie a ribbon around one of the most impressive professional mixed martial arts (MMA) careers of this generation on a winning note.
Both outcomes were impossible, but a fantastic back-and-forth rematch was not, with Miocic coming from behind to score an impressive fourth round technical knockout (WATCH HIGHLIGHTS!).
Both fighters showed mutual respect during the pre-fight meeting, touching gloves and ready to get the rematch underway. Cormier got things kicked off with a series of hard low kicks that bent Miocic, who countered with the same. Cormier then went upstairs, clipping him with three separate solid shots before bouncing a left off his forehead and diving for a takedown. Cormier didn’t quite get it right away, settling for a solid slam of his 235-pound opponent. He got to work in Miocic’s guard, but nothing of significance landed early on. Cormier postured up and looked to reset, but Miocic landed a sneaky up-kick. Cormier was able to get back on top, landing some hard shots as Miocic was turtled up in defense until the round came to a close.
Cormier clearly won the opening frame, but Miocic came out with a much better gameplan to start the second, landing some solid shots in the early going. Cormier didn’t budge, though, content to stand toe-to-toe and trade shots. Cormier perhaps got a little too confident and ate some really hard shots, but he remained upright and continued to fire back. The pair continued to exchange back-and-forth for most of the round, neither fighter backing down. Cormier didn’t appear to have any respect for Miocic’s power, but the good news for him is that he continued to eat hard shots and return in-kind.
Between rounds, Cormier’s corner was furious — they clearly wanted him to to mix up tings more and keep his hands up. Miocic started the third round with a nice combination and then a kick, which he followed up with a takedown that Cormier slipped out of. Both fighters were clearly tired, locking up along the fence for about one minute to take a break. They separated and returned to the center of the Octagon, where Cormier scored with repeated jabs. Miocic dove for a takedown and actually got it to the ground, but only for a few seconds. Cormier went back to the well with his jab, which appeared to really bother Miocic. It was a better round for the former champion, but Cormier still seemed ahead on the judges scorecards.
Heading into the championship rounds, Miocic needed to dial up the pressure and turn the tide of the bout. And he started with repeated left hooks to Cormier’s liver, for which “DC” had no answer. He continued to bide his time and committed to the body, as Cormier appeared to want to take the round off so he could finish strong. But, the body shots and the composure of Miocic built up, leading to an explosion late in the round that sent Cormier backpedaling to the fence. Cormier covered up, but Miocic unloaded with a series of shots that dropped Cormier to his knees and ultimately resulted in a come-from-behind technical knockout finish.
Up until the fourth round, Miocic looked like he had nothing. But then he made the smart adjustment to work the body and breakdown Cormier with liver shots. It worked ... so did his decision to wait a full year to recover from a big knockout and wait for his rematch.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 241 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN at 8 p.m. ET, before the pay-per-view (PPV) main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+.
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