Miocic utilized his striking to outbox Cormier in their rematch.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight fighter Daniel “DC” Cormier had recently been on a cresting wave of success over the past year and a half. For a time, Cormier was simultaneously the UFC Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight belts, relinquishing the Light Heavyweight belt on December 28th, 2018. Not even the No Contest decision he earned after his fight with Jon “Bones” Jones was overturned, after Jones tested positive for the steroid, turinabol, slowed “DC” down. Cormier even knocked out Stipe Miocic for the UFC Heavyweight belt July 7th of last year.
Saturday night, Stipe Miocic broke the wave like his hometown shores of Lake Erie with calm, steady resistance.
Miocic (19-3, 15 KOs) defeated Cormier (22-2, 10 KOs, 5 sub.) by TKO via punches in the fourth round of their UFC 241 championship fight, Saturday, August 17th, at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. The Euclid, Ohio native showed those Midwestern values of patience, grit, and determination while he waited for his opportunity to take out Cormier. Miocic employed a very rigid strategy of standing up and boxing the stockier Cormier which payed off midway through the fourth round.
For the first three rounds, Cormier looked like he was in full command. He quickly took Miocic down with a vicious double-leg in the first round, and it was almost a cakewalk for the veteran grappler. Miocic survived. Miocic continued taking damage the rest of the fight, eating stiff rights from Cormier, Miocic’s eye swelling by the third.
Cormier may have underestimated Miocic’s stamina. It did not seem he was expecting to go past the second or third round. Miocic also tried a different strategy. Last time he met Cormier, Miocic fought a straight up fight, getting knocked out for his efforts. This fight, Miocic stayed away from letting the fight come to him and insisted on boxing Cormier. Miocic barely even threw a kick. This strategy worked. For a while, Cormier channeled Mike Tyson, trying to come inside to “dirty box”, but Miocic used his length to keep Cormier at bay.
During the fourth round, Miocic’s game plan worked. Cormier began to show wear, and that gave Miocic the opening he needed. Miocic timed Cormier’s movements well enough to land multiple heavy left hooks to his body. After two shots, Cormier’s side was welting up, and he was breathing more heavily. At 4:09 into the fourth, Cormier could not stop the flurry of punches from Miocic.
On the rest of the entertaining card, saw Nate Diaz win in a decision over fellow welterweight “Showtime” Anthony Pettis. As expected, Diaz utilized his rubbery athleticism and his devil-may-care attitude against Pettis, who rarely goes deep into fights. Not looking rusty at all for his hiatus (the reason for taking time off, he groused, was because “everybody sucked”), Diaz went after Pettis early and often, transitioning back and forth from stand up to ground game, countering everything “Showtime” Pettis tried to throw at him. Diaz even escaped a healthy guillotine choke, proving he is not done yet. As a matter of fact, he wasted no time, in typical Diaz form, to call out future opponents, like Jorge Masvidal.
Another bout saw two middleweights with dissimilar personalities and similar fighting styles as Paulo Costa defeated Yael Romero by unanimous decision. These two went to war, throwing bombs at each other. The flashy Romero tried his typical mind games –tongue-wagging, dancing—but Costa did not fall for them, even mocking Romero with sticking his own tongue out and dancing. Costa outworked Romero until the end, even as Romero took Costa down to no avail.
The rest of the main card saw featherweight Sodiq Yusuff defeat Gabriel Benítez (TKO punches), and middleweight Derek Brunson defeat Ian Heinisch by decision.