UFC 241: Miocic avenges Cormier defeat, Diaz shines against Pettis

Stipe Miocic reclaims his UFC heavyeight championship, avenges loss to Daniel Cormier in rematch

Stipe Miocic reclaimed his UFC heavyweight championship in emphatic style at UFC 241, avenging his defeat against rival Daniel Cormier in their rematch with a fourth-round technical knockout victory.

Cormier largely had the better of the fight, but his efforts ultimately weren’t enough to halt Miocic’s ascent to the top of the heavyweight division.

“DC” showed off his grappling prowess in the first round, lifting Miocic onto his shoulders like he was bag of rubbish before slamming him down to the Octagon canvas.

Now on the floor, Cormier moved into Miocic’s half guard to pour on the punishment, but DC met a more resilient Miocic this time round.

Cormier knocked out Miocic in the first round little over a year ago at UFC 226. Miocic has solely been training for a rematch with Cormier ever since and looked more than prepared to withstand DC’s onslaught in the pair’s second act.

After his takedown in the first stanza, Cormier displayed his ever-evolving boxing game, peppering Miocic with jabs and following up with heavier punches over the next couple of rounds.

But Miocic, who was unrelenting in taking the fight to Cormier, switched up the gameplan for the fourth round.

He clearly saw a chink in Cormier’s armour and aimed heavy left hooks towards his foe’s body.

These body punches clearly affected Cormier and that helped set up the big right cross which sent Miocic on his way to victory.

After wobbling Cormier, Miocic shoved his opponent to the cage fence and unleashed a barrage of punches, forcing referee Herb Dean to call a stop to the fight.

Great fight and a stirring victory for Miocic, who celebrated his win with an impromptu jig afterwards.

Could we see a rubber match between the two? Or will this be the final time we see Cormier compete in the cage? Let’s hope it’s the former.

 

What layoff? Nate Diaz impresses as he dominates Anthony Pettis

It had been almost three years since we saw Nate Diaz compete in the Octagon following a long standoff with the UFC, but he looked better than ever against a tough customer in Anthony Pettis.

Pettis was riding the crest of a wave after knocking out Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson in his welterweight debut, but Diaz brought that high to an abrupt halt.

While Pettis did get some good shots in, including a right hand which sliced open the scar tissue above Diaz’s right eye along with a number of stinging leg kicks, Diaz overwhelmed Pettis while fighting on the inside.

Diaz’s boxing output was as high as ever, but he showed off the other wrinkles of his game when Pettis’ defences were weary from trying to withstand his opponent’s onslaught of punches.

The Stockton native did well to mix in takedowns and initiate scrambles to constantly have Pettis on the backfoot. In nearly all areas, Diaz had Pettis’ number.

In the third and final round, at one point Diaz had Pettis pinned against the cage and landed numerous knees to Pettis’ face.

“Showtime” Pettis did well to survive everything thrown his way, but it was Diaz who rightly emerged from the fight with the unanimous decision awarded in his favour.

After the fight, Diaz called out Jorge Masvidal for a fight and Masvidal has confirmed he would like to take it. Who wouldn’t want to see that?

 

Paulo Costa continues his rise up the middleweight ranks, edges Yoel Romero in decision

Paulo Costa overcame his toughest test yet, edging a close unanimous decision win over veteran Yoel Romero and keeping his unbeaten record in tact.

There are some quarters who question the decision, but the fact that 28-year-old Costa competed as well as he did against such a dangerous fighter in Romero does his stock plenty of favours in the middleweight reckoning.

The first round was wild with both the Brazilian and the Cuban trading knockdowns.

Costa started proceedings with a crushing left hook which sent Romero down to all fours, then Romero quickly replied with a right hand which sent “Borrachinha” falling backwards.

Borrachinha was constantly looking to pressure Romero and sought to target the body of the 42-year-old Cuban in an attempt to tire his opponent, but Romero constantly had his hovering left hand waiting to land a stinging straight or a hook.

Mixing his strikes between punches and kicks across the entirety of his opponent’s body, Costa was impressive with his output for a man who had never fought for a full three-round fight.

Likewise, Romero’s ability to withstand that punishment and seemingly have enough in his energy reserves to step things up a gear in the third round was equally astounding.

Perhaps sensing he needed a finish to win the fight, Romero took the fight to Costa and landed some brutal shots – namely a right uppercut – as well as a takedown as he marched down his opponent in effort to close the fight off in his favour.

However, it wasn’t to be as the judges awarded the fight to Costa following a brutal contest which lived up to the hype.

Costa moves to 13-0 (5-0 in the UFC) in his MMA career and he has now moved beyond his status as a middleweight prospect. It’s likely we could see Borrachinha face the victor of the UFC middleweight title unification bout between titleholder Robert Whittaker and interim champion Israel Adesanya.

Romero, who has long been in the title picture but has never lifted UFC gold, has now lost three of his last four fights.

 

UFC 241: Daniel Cormier vs. Stipe Miocic II full results:

Heavyweight Championship: Stipe Miocic def. Daniel Cormier (c) by TKO (punches) at 4:09 of round four
Welterweight: Nate Diaz def. Anthony Pettis by unanimous decision after three rounds
Middleweight: Paulo Costa def. Yoel Romero by unanimous decision after three rounds
Featherweight: Sodiq Yusuff def. Gabriel Benitez by KO (punches) at 4:14 of round one
Middleweight: Derek Brunson def. Ian Heinisch by unanimous decision after three rounds
Lightweight: Khama Worthy def. Devonte Smith by TKO (punches) at 4:15 of round one
Bantamweight: Cory Sandhagen def. Raphael Assuncao by unanimous decision after three rounds
Lightweight: Drakkar Klose def. Christos Giagos by unanimous decision after three rounds
Catchweight: Casey Kenney def. Manny Bermudez by unanimous decision after three rounds
Women’s Strawweight: Hannah Cifers def. Jodie Esquibel by unanimous decision after three rounds
Bantamweight: Kyung Ho Kang def. Brandon Davis by split decision after three rounds
Women’s Flyweight: Sabina Mazo def. Shana Dobson by unanimous decision after three rounds

Jake Hughes

Jake Hughes

Jake Hughes is an MMA writer who has covered the sport since 2013 for publications such as Vice Sports, Fightland, Sherdog and now Fighters Only, where he serves as freelance digital editor.