Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to ESPN+ pay-per-view (PPV) TONIGHT (Sat., Aug. 15, 2020) with a historic Heavyweight championship trilogy match between reigning and defending division kingpin, Stipe Miocic, and former “champ-champ,” Daniel Cormier, leading the charge. Indeed, Cormier — then-Light Heavyweight champion — shocked the mixed martial arts (MMA) world when he stopped Miocic at UFC 226 back in 2018 to secure his second, simultaneous two-division belt. But Miocic evened the score just one year later at UFC 249, stopping “D.C.” via fourth round technical knockout. That set set the stage for a classic showdown between two of the best Heavyweight fighters of all time — G.O.A.T. status is on the line!
Both fighters touched gloves in a mutual sign of respect and we were off ... Stipe opened up the action with a low kick and left jab, then another, as Cormier dove in for a high-crotch takedown. Stipe scrambled to his feet, but Cormier caught him in a headlock along the fence and peppered him with knees to the body until Stipe finally broke free. Stipe fired off a one-two combination, followed by a hard right hand to the body, while Cormier fired off a stiff jab to keep him at bay. Cormier landed a big overhand right counter, but then an eye poke stopped the action moments later. Yes, the dreaded eye poke! The referee warned that another infraction would cost Cormier a point deduction. Stipe resumed the action with more low kicks, then a right hand, which Cormier countered with a nice double right hook. Cormier caught him with a flurry as the round came to a close, wobbling Stipe, who seemed a little dazed heading back to his corner.
Stipe seemed fine coming out for the second stanza, missing with a light low kick that hit Cormier in the junk. Stipe unloaded a big left on the restart, forcing Cormier to retreat up against the fence. Cormier faked a takedown, then landed with a hard three-shot combination to either side of Stipe’s beard. Cormier kept up the pressure, hunting the body then going upstairs with hard shots that forced Stipe to regroup. Cormier kept pumping the left jab, with Stipe responding with a harder counter shot. Both fighters kept firing shots back-and-forth, nothing fight-changing, but enough to make both of them concerned about something bigger down the road. As the round came to a close, Stipe dropped Cormier along the cage with a vicious flurry as Cormier held on for dear life until the round came to a close.
Between rounds, Cormier asked his corner if he was knocked out. He was clearly hurt, but got off his stool and headed out into a prize fight seconds later against a super dangerous champion. Cormier tied up the action early, taking deep breaths over Stipe’s shoulder in an effort to recover sooner than later. He started to work the jab again, but then Stipe bullied him back into the cage with another flurry of punches. It actually appeared to be in Cormier’s best interests — he was hurt in round two and Stipe was just leaning on him throughout the round. The pair broke around the one-minute mark, with Cormier now actually being the aggressor and stalking Stipe around the cage. Cormier landed a big right hand with 10 seconds remaining, which Stipe countered with a hard shot of his own.
Stipe clearly poked Cormier in the eye at the end of the round, but the referee didn’t see it so apparently didn’t happen. As a result, Cormier came out for round four clearly compromised, but still began the action with one-two combinations and hard right hands. Stipe mushed him up agains the fence in response, but Cormier eventually circled his way out. Cormier continued to press the action, but Stipe was more than game — returning fire and smothering him up against the cage, making a tired “D.C.” carry his 230-pound frame. Cormier landed a hard right hook on the break, but Stipe shook it right off. Stipe went back to smothering him up against the fence, with Cormier looking for a trip to get the action to the ground late. Cormier exploded late with two big shots, hoping to steal a very close round.
It was super close heading into the fifth and final round, with each fighter making a case the he deserved a decision win. The only way to change that, of course, was to pull out a late finish. Stipe appeared to be the fresher fighter, while Cormier appeared to be the heavier hitter. Stipe once again pressed Cormier against the cage, with both fighters seemingly taking a short timeout before shit got crazy. Cormier went all-in with a heavy barrage, but Stipe ate each punch and countered with more of his own. Stipe once again tied up Cormier along the cage and didn’t really do much with the position until Cormier once again circled out. Stipe landed two hard rights, then actually went for a takedown, as Cormier landed a hard right hook on the break. Cormier scored with another elbow as Stipe once again tied him up along the fence and laid on him. And that’s how it ended.
Final result: Stipe Miocic defeats Daniel Cormier via unanimous decision
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