GSP vs Hughes, Couture vs Liddell, Edgar vs Maynard, the UFC has seen some classic trilogies over the years. These fights don’t come by easily. In order to get to the point which a trilogy becomes feasible, the narrative needs to exist that either fighter could win. With Daniel Cormier vs Stipe Miocic we have that in abundance. In their first fight, DC shocked the MMA world not by winning but through his method of victory. Everyone expected DC to use his superior wrestling to take Stipe to the ground and unleash vicious ground and pound. Or Stipe to use his superior boxing to piece DC up on the feet. At the tail end of round 1, Daniel Cormier landed a nasty hook in the clinch to send Stipe Miocic sailing towards the canvas before the referee stepped in.
In the 2nd fight, DC controlled the fight. He had the octagon control, he was out striking Stipe and his wrestling skill set was there should he need it. After three rounds I think most scoring the fight would have had it 30-27 to the champion. In MMA though as we know, things can change awfully quickly. A game plan adjustment from Stipe saw the challenger start to work DC’s body with a flurry of strikes. With DC’s cardio starting to wain and the body shots having their desired effect. Before long DC was on wobbly legs, as soon as DC stumbled, Stipe was on him like a flash. Going hell over leather to find the finish. Which he did at the end of round 4.
This leads us to the final chapter in this saga. We can say with the utmost certainty that this is the final chapter. As Daniel Cormier has already revealed that regardless of the outcome, this will be his final fight as a professional fighter. Adding another source of intrigue to this fight, as if it needed it. So who is going to leave the UFC Apex as arguably the greatest UFC heavyweight of all time? We’ll get to that in a little bit but first let’s look at the other fights on the main card.
John Dodson vs Merab Dvalishvilli
In most cases, at the lighter weight classes you might not see the same knockout power that you see in as you move up in weight. What you will get though is mind boggling speed and volume of output and this bantamweight clash is a perfect example of that. You’ll see two fighters trying to do two different things but at an equally rapid speed. John Dodson will look to take control of the fight through his frenzied striking which helped him to an upset victory over English prospect Nathaniel Wood in his last fight. Dvalishvilli on the other had will look to use his superior wrestling to take this fight to the ground and unleash some ground and pound. In fights like this unless one fighter is an elite talent, I tend to favour the specialist fighter, so I’ll ride with Dvalishvilli to use his combat sambo background to get the W.
Dvalishvilli via Decision
Herbert Burns vs Daniel Pineda
Herbert Burns brother of top UFC Welterweight Gilbert Burns gets a chance to showcase his talents on a PPV Main Card. This comes after earning his UFC deal on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. In his last fight he dispatched UFC vet Evan Dunham in quick fashion, getting the submission 80 seconds into the fight. Pineda who is embarking on his 2nd stint in the UFC is coming into the promotion in slightly controversial circumstances as his last 2 wins in the PFL were overturned after he tested positive for a banned substance. This fight appears to me like the UFC has booked this as a showcase for Burns, who they would love to push along with his brother. I feel Burns should win in similar fashion to his won over Dunham and in pretty timely fashion as well.
Burns via 1st Round Submission
Junior dos Santos vs Jairzinho Rozenstruik
I’m worried about this one. Junior Dos Santos is a UFC legend. Being he former Heavyweight King and one of the most dynamic heavyweights the UFC has ever seen. His mixture of world class striking, endless cardio and dazzling footwork has made him one of the most feared men in the division. Chael Sonnen even recently referred to Junior as the “Greatest Boxer” in UFC history. Not to mention, he also seems like an absolutely lovely guy. With all that being said, the reason I’m worried is I’m not sure in the latter years of his career his chin is quite there anymore. Any strikers who have knockout power will in my opinion be an issue for Junior.
In this fight he comes up against Jairzinho Rozenstruik, a fearsome kickboxer who barring his quick loss to Francis Ngannou has finished each of his UFC fights with an excessively vicious knockout. I hope I’m wrong but I think I can only see this going one way.
Jairzinho Rozenstruik via 1st Round KO
Sean O’Malley vs Marlon Vera
The Suga Show rolls on with his biggest test yet (I feel like I say that before every O’Malley fight). Sean O’Malley is looking to improve his pro record to 13-0 with a victory on Sunday morning. Vera presents a slight step up in competition from last fight against Eddie Wineland but stylistically it’s a relatively similar fight. The match up favours O’Malley and until we see him against a high level wrestler or somebody from the top echelons of the division I can’t see him being too troubled. That’s why I’m saying this hype train will not be getting derailed on Saturday night.
Sean O’Malley via 2nd Round TKO
Stipe Miocic © vs Daniel Cormier
I don’t know about you but I’m pretty pumped for this one. The final chapter in this back and forth battle sees in its culmination on Sunday morning. As previously mentioned there are so many narratives going into this fight. Can Stipe cement himself as the greatest ever UFC heavyweight? Will DC retire as one of the pound for pound greatest? Which man can make the adjustments to take control of this fight? There are so many ways this fight could go that it’s rather impossible to predict. In fact the odds currently have it as a complete dead heat. Something that I’m sure you know is very rare in MMA. As difficult as it is I’m going to have a go.
Having watched the 2nd fight a couple of times you can’t deny that for the majority of the fight DC, was taking it to Stipe. That is until the body shot adjustment that fight swung the fight in the Cleveland native’s favour. Due to this, I can’t possibly believe that DC will not have made the necessary adjustments to improve his gas tank and to avoid those nasty body shots. Stipe can of course come in with a completely different gameplan and shock DC and he more than has the boxing skills and power to retain his championship.
If I have to choose though I’ll ride with DC to formulate the gameplan that will see him ride off into the sunset as the two-time UFC heavyweight champ, although I can’t say I’m particularly confident in it.