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UFC 252 card: Stipe Miocic vs Daniel Cormier 3 full fight preview

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight rivals Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormeir will settle their trilogy TONIGHT (Aug. 15, 2020) at UFC 252 inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada.

It’s impossible to tell the story of these two Heavyweights without mentioning the other. Miocic was firmly established as a dominant kingpin among big men ... until Daniel Cormier slept him with a single shot. Likewise, Cormier pretty effortlessly handled Derrick Lewis in his sole Heavyweight title defense, but when a big money fight with Brock Lesnar failed to materialize, “DC” again met Miocic in the cage.

This time, Miocic left him sleeping.

For one final time (maybe), Cormier will walk to the Octagon, and one man will leave with the title. Whether talking bragging rights or legacy, the stakes are major, so let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for the main event fighters:

Stipe Miocic

Record: 19-3
Key Wins: Daniel Cormier (UFC 241), Fabricio Werdum (UFC 198), Alistair Overeem (UFC 203), Junior dos Santos (UFC 211), Mark Hunt (UFC Fight Night 65), Andrei Arlovski (UFC 195)
Key Losses: Daniel Cormier (UFC 226), Junior dos Santos (UFC on FOX 13), Stefan Struve (UFC on Fuel TV 5)
Keys to Victory: Miocic is perhaps the premier example of how effective a fighter can become with a well-rounded skill set, solid understanding of feints, and great physical attributes. There is no single skill that standouts out to an extreme degree regarding the two-time champion except perhaps his ability to fight smart with major punches flying at his dome.

Despite winning the second fight, it was not Miocic’s best performance. In truth, Miocic somewhat willingly committed entirely to a boxing match against a shorter man with a sharper jab. It’s especially odd when Cormier’s history of struggling with kicks and knees.

Miocic has to mix it up! That left hook to the belly is great and should be utilized once again, but Cormier surely has some tricks up his sleeve to counter it after a year away from the cage. If Miocic is digging his left kick to the mid-section too, that would be a considerable help.

In addition, Miocic should be trying tp punch into the collar tie. That’s traditionally a Cormier tactic, sure, but Miocic is the taller and possibly stronger man. If Alexander Gustafsson can shoot a brutal knee into Cormier’s jawline, there’s no reason Miocic cannot hammer the body with knees then look to do the same. If nothing else, hanging on Cormier’s head a bit would discourage some of his slips and rolls.

Daniel Cormier

Record: 22-2 (1)
Key Wins: Stipe Miocic (UFC 226), Derrick Lewis (UFC 230), Anthony Johnson (UFC 210, UFC 187), Alexander Gustafsson (UFC 192), Josh Barnett (Strikeforce: Barnett vs Cormier), Anderson Silva (UFC 200)
Key Losses: Stipe Miocic (UFC 241), Jon Jones (UFC 182)
Keys to Victory: An Olympic wrestler with a considerably improved kickboxing game, Cormier is generally happy to wrestle or trade punches. How much he relies on either strategy will be an interesting choice, as it cannot be ignored that wrestling is exhausting, and Cormier is 41 years old.

In the second bout, Cormier pursued the pocket with far too much gusto. Why work so hard and expose himself to Miocic’s body shots when he really doesn’t need to? Instead, I’d like to see Cormier work from the end of his jabbing range.

In both fights, Cormier really tore up his opponent’s face with sharp jabs. He also did fantastic work slamming the lead leg, a tactic proven to work. Perhaps if Cormier wouldn’t have abandoned the right low kick in the rematch, there would be no need for a trilogy at all!

If Cormier is tattooing Miocic’s face with jabs and ripping apart his lead leg, the pressure is now on Miocic to come to “DC.” Not only will that increase the power on the jab, but Cormier loves to snatch up the single on advancing foes.

Bottom Line

Barring the potential addition of Jon Jones to the Heavyweight title mix — which, let’s be honest, has been talked about for so long that it’s tough to seriously consider it an option — it would seem that all roads lead to a Francis Ngannou rematch for Stipe Miocic. If he wins, he’s the defending champion, and Ngannou is next in line. Should he come up short, Miocic is still a pretty great option for the vacant belt.

In terms of legacy, handling Cormier a second time is definitely huge.

As for Cormier, “DC” is aiming to retire with a world title, an accomplishment very rare in combat sports. To do so in addition to two-division champion status? Well, only Georges St. Pierre can claim that duo of accomplishments, and that’s pretty good company! Beyond that, Cormier genuinely seems to believe he’s much better than Miocic.

It’s time to prove it.

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 252 fight card this weekend right here, starting with the ESPN+/Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN+/ESPN at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 252: “Miocic vs. Cormier 3” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

At UFC 252, Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier will complete their trilogy. Which man will earn the victory?