UFC booking Ciry Gane – Jairzinho Rozenstruik

Ciryl Gane UFC

The UFC is in the process of finalizing a big heavyweight matchup. First reported by La Sueur, the promotion is booking a heavyweight clash between undefeated prospect, Ciryl Gane (7-0), and Jairzinho Rozenstruik (11-1).

The fight will take place at the UFC‘s Fight Night on March 13th. Just this morning, we learned that the headliner of that card will be the highly anticipated matchup between Khamzat Chimaev and Leon Edwards.

Adding this heavyweight battle just shows that the UFC is stacking the deck again for another fight night. Entering this contest, both of these top contenders rank inside the UFC’s top seven at heavyweight.

They also both share a common last opponent. They both knocked out Junior Dos Santos in the second half of 2020 in their last performance. Prior to that win over JDS, Rozenstruik had suffered his first career loss at the hands of Francis Ngannou.

Rozenstruik met Ngannou at UFC 249. The winner of the fight was poised to be the top contender in the heavyweight division. Bibi Boy called out Ngannou and paid for it. Ngannou put Rozenstruik to sleep in 20 seconds.

However, Rozenstruik has had some real bright spots in the UFC outside of that loss. Of course, there is the victory over JDS, but he also owns knockouts over Alistair Overeem, Andrei Arlovski, and Allen Crowder.

The UFC’s Top Heavyweight Prospect

Arguably the most intriguing heavyweight in the UFC entering 2021 is Ciryl Gane. Once a top training partner of Francis Ngannou, Gane has really started to blossom as a top heavyweight for the promotion.

Fighting JDS at UFC 256 was the first big test for Gane. He passed that test with flying colors. Gane certainly looks the part of a top heavyweight contender. If he’s able to get by Bigi Boy, he might only be a win away from a title shot.

The heavyweight division is in a fascinating spot. Jon Jones is preparing for his heavyweight debut while Ngannou is getting ready to fight Stipe Miocic for the title. Whoever wins between Gane and Rozenstruik will be squarely in the title picture after March 13th.

State of the UFC’s heavyweight division entering 2021

MMA, Stipe Miocic

2021 will usher in a new day in the heavyweight division. As we enter January 2021, it has been three years since UFC heavyweight champion, Stipe Miocic (20-3), fought someone not named Daniel Cormier (22-3, 1 NC).

At UFC 220 back in January of 2018, Miocic defended his title against Francis Ngannou (15-3). Ngannou was being billed as the next big thing having destroyed every contender the UFC had put in front of him.

However, Miocic showed off his greatness that night shutting out the French contender. However, Miocic would lose his title in the summer of 2018 when he was knocked out in the first round by Daniel Cormier.

The UFC then angled for Cormier to face Brock Lesnar in a superfight. The proposed matchup with Lesnar was supposed to be Cormier’s last UFC fight. The fight never materialized and Cormier went on to defend his title against Derrick Lewis (24-7, 1 NC).

Cormier defeated Lewis and waited for the Lesnar fight. Again, it never came together so Cormier decided to give Stipe Miocic a rematch at UFC 241. After dominating the fight early, Cormier got knocked out by Miocic in the fourth round.

After that fight, Miocic needed to take some time off. A year later, Miocic and Cormier finished their trilogy at UFC 252 in Cormier’s last fight. Miocic won the fight by unanimous decision cementing himself as the heavyweight GOAT.

UFC’s heavyweight division in 2021

With the Miocic – Cormier trilogy behind us, it’s time for the UFC’s heavyweight division to move on in 2021. However, Miocic will face a familiar foe in his first title defense of the year. He will once again take on Francis Ngannou.

Ngannou’s losses to Miocic then Derrick Lewis might have been the best thing for him. He’s rededicated himself to the sport and he’s looked untouchable since. After losing a decision to Lewis, Ngannou is 4-0 with four first round knockouts.

Not only that, but none of those opponents have gone more than 71 seconds. The UFC’s predator looks better than ever and he’s expected to face Miocic in March for the heavyweight title.

Another exciting aspect of the heavyweight division in 2021 is the arrival of Jon Jones (26-1,1 NC). Jones is widely considered to be the greatest fighter of all-time and he’s finally decided to move up to heavyweight.

After reigning over light heavyweight for nearly a decade, Jones is preparing for a shot at the heavyweight title. He’s expected to face the winner of Miocic – Ngannou over the summer or early next fall.

Other Contenders

Behind Jones there are a number of compelling contenders. Derrick Lewis and Curtis Blaydes (14-2, 1 NC) are expected to faceoff in 2021. They were supposed to fight in November, however, Blaydes tested positive for COVID and the fight was scrapped.

Both contenders have multiple fight winning streaks. A win for either man would put them in great position. The guy to really watch out for is Ciryl Gane (7-0). Gane just knocked out JDS at UFC 256 and is poised to be a top contender.

Of course, Alistair Overeem (47-18, 1 NC) and Alexander Volkov (32-8) are two others to watch out for. They headline a Fight Night in February. Of course there’s still Jairzinho Rozenstruik (11-1) out there who’s ranked third at heavyweight at the moment.

Miocic is finally done with Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones is entering the heavyweight picture. Francis Ngannou looks better than ever and there’s a ton of hungry and dangerous contenders behind him. Should be a fun year at heavyweight in 2021.

State of the heavyweight division ahead of UFC Vegas 15

MMA, Stipe Miocic

This weekend at UFC Vegas 15, Curtis Blaydes (14-2, 1 NC) and Derrick Lewis (24-7, 1 NC) will go head to head in a battle of top four contenders. The winner of this weekend’s fight will be squarely in the title picture.

However, the heavyweight division seems to be paused at the moment. Francis Ngannou (15-3) is the clear number one contender in the UFC‘s heavyweight division. Yet, his title fight has not been booked.

Ngannou has only fought once since the middle of 2019. He has been patiently waiting as the UFC‘s heavyweight title has been tied up for the last two years with the trilogy of Stipe Miocic (20-3) and Daniel Cormier.

Back at UFC 252, Miocic was able to finish off the trilogy with a unanimous decision win over Cormier. However, Miocic needed a little time off after the fight was over which has extended the layoff for Ngannou.

Ngannou has come out this week voicing his frustrations about his prime being wasted. The current plan is for the UFC to book the heavyweight title fight for sometime either in March or April. However, that is not confirmed.

UFC’s GOAT moving up

There’s another interesting wrinkle that’s been thrown into the UFC‘s heavyweight division and that’s Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC). Arguably the best pound for pound fighter in the world recently vacated his light heavyweight title to move up to heavyweight. 

Jones has his eyes on the UFC heavyweight title, and it’s been said that he will get a title shot in his first shot at heavyweight. However, Jones will not jump Ngannou which means we likely won’t see Jones competing for the title until the summer.

That being said, what does this weekend’s fight really mean? Without Jones, the UFC Vegas 15 winner would likely get the next shot after Ngannou. However, since Jones is moving up, the winner this weekend will likely be third in line.

Assuming either guy wouldn’t want to wait nearly a year for their title shot, the winner will likely have to take another fight. So what are the options for the winner? Well, there are a couple of options.

One option would be for the winner to take on Jairzinho Rozenstruik (11-1). Rozenstruik doesn’t have a fight booked and he’s coming off of a knockout win over Junior Dos Santos. There’s not a clear next opponent for him and he hasn’t fought either man in this weekend’s main event.

Another option would be for the winner to take on the winner of the Alistair Overeem – Alexander Volkov fight in February. Some rematches can materialize with that possibility.

I think the UFC will likely book the winner this weekend against Rozenstruik. We know that the winner this weekend isn’t getting a title shot and they’re not fighting Jones. Keep the winner active, and let them fight Rozenstruik.

Two fights to make after UFC Vegas 9

UFC, Dana White

This past weekend at UFC Vegas 9, Alistair Overeem (47-18, 1 NC) stopped Augusto Sakai (15-2-1) in the fifth round of their heavyweight main event. Despite all the obstacles, I would say that the card delivered a solid night of action for the UFC.

One of the things that is popular around the water cooler on Monday is what’s next for the fighters of the past weekend’s UFC card. With that, let’s take a look at two fights that the promotion should look to book after UFC Vegas 9.

A UFC rematch with Overeem & Rozenstruik

The first fight that I think the UFC should look to book is a rematch between Overeem and Jairzinho Rozenstruik (11-1). We just saw Rozenstruik back at UFC 252 where he knocked out Junior Dos Santos in their fight. Both contenders are ranked inside the top five.

These two men fought back in December at UFC on ESPN 7. In that fight, Overeem was getting the better of the fight and he was on his way to a decision win. However one massive shot in the final ten seconds of the fight gave the win to Rozenstruik.

Given the current state of the UFC‘s heavyweight division, a fight between the two men makes the most sense. Derrick Lewis (24-7, 1 NC) would have been another good option for Overeem, but Lewis is already booked to fight Curtis Blaydes in November.

Michel Pereira vs Anthony Pettis

If you’re not entertained when the UFC‘s Michel Pereira (24-11, 2 NC), I really don’t know what to tell you. Pereira is an absolute wild man with a wide range of powerful strikes. He used his skills to stifle and defeat Zelim Imadaev last weekend.

After the fight was over Pereira called out Jorge Masvidal. Hate to burst Pereira’s bubble, but that’s not happening. Pereira needs to get someone in the top fifteen in his next UFC outing though. Based on his techniques, I thought of someone interesting.

Pereira loves to throw flashy strikes like the showtime kick, so why not pair him against the man who made it famous? Anthony Pettis (23-10) is currently the 14th ranked welterweight in the UFC. The former lightweight champion doesn’t have an opponent at the moment.

A fight between the two men would pair two of the flashiest strikers in the UFC against each other. Men who aren’t afraid to jump off the sides of the cage to land something spectacular. It would also be a big fight for Pereira as he tries to advance his UFC career.

Three fights to make after UFC 252

UFC, Dana White

Last night we saw the end to perhaps the greatest trilogy in the history of MMA. Stipe Miocic (20-3) cemented himself as the GOAT at UFC 252 with his win over Daniel Cormier (22-3, 1 NC).

We also saw Suga Sean O’Malley (12-1) suffer his first career loss at the hands of Marlon “Chito” Vera (16-6, 1 NC). However, that fight has a massive asterisks by it due to the way that the fight was finished.

Jairzinho Rozenstruik (11-1) was also able to right the ship against Junior Dos Santos (21-8) last night. With all the action and storylines, lets take a look at the three matchups the UFC should make after UFC 252.

Stipe Miocic vs Francis Ngannou for the UFC heavyweight crown

Immediately after Miocic won last night, people were trying to figure out what would be next for the UFC heavyweight champion. Jon Jones sent out some tweets indicating he wanted a shot at Miocic. However, Dana White made it very clear what’s next.

The next UFC title shot is going to belong to Francis Ngannou (15-3). The Predator has been patiently waiting for his next shot at the gold. Ngannou did lose in his first attempt against Miocic, but that fight was almost three years ago.

Ngannou had rough back-to-back fights against Miocic and Derrick Lewis. However, since the Lewis loss, there has not been a more terrifying human in the UFC than Francis Ngannou. Ngannou has knocked out Curtis Blaydes, Cain Velasquez, Junior Dos Santos, and Jairzinho Rozenstruik in a combined two minutes and forty two seconds.

It was very refreshing to hear White be very clear about Ngannou getting the next shot at the UFC title. I believe that Jones needs to fight at light heavyweight one or two more times before his inevitable move up to heavyweight.

The rematch between Miocic and Ngannou is so fascinating. Miocic is the UFC‘s heavyweight GOAT, but Ngannou is so much better than he was a few years ago. It’s a massively dangerous fight for the heavyweight champion. Expect this fight by the end of the year or perhaps the first fight of 2021.

Chito Vera vs Sean O’Malley

Chito Vera and Suga Sean O’Malley were on their way to having a very fun fight last night until O’Malley hurt his ankle in the first round. A clearly compromised O’Malley crumbled to the mat and was finished off by Vera.

If you judge Chito’s post-fight interview, you would have think he completely outclassed and dominated the fight which was far from the case. In fact, Vera was getting touched up early and often.

O’Malley had Chito biting on nearly every feint that he was throwing. Also, Vera was hurt by multiple hard kicks early on. It looked like a technical display was coming from the Suga Show prior to the injury.

To me, it only makes sense to run this fight back. I think there needs to be a legitimate winner and I’m sorry to Chito, but you can’t claim that fight as a legit victory. He TKO’d a guy who couldn’t stand. Running this fight makes the most sense for the UFC and both fighters.

Jairzinho Rozenstruik vs Winner of Alistair Overeem/Augusto Sakai

Rozenstruik was able to get some confidence back last night after he knocked out the former UFC heavyweight champion, Junior Dos Santos. Bigi Boy was looking to bounce back after getting knocked out in 20 seconds by Francis Ngannou.

Thinking about what the UFC could do with Rozenstruik, I’m thinking a matchup between the winner of the Alistair Overeem – Augusto Sakai fight makes a lot of sense.

If Sakai is able to win, he will inch closer to the top five in the heavyweight division. He would have also won seven consecutive fights including five in the UFC. A fight between Sakai and Rozenstruik could put both men a fight away from the title.

Then of course there is Alistair Overeem. Overeem and Rozenstruik have history together. They headlined a Fight Night back in December. Overeem was clearly winning the fight and was just seconds away from securing a decision victory.

However, a massive left hook knocked Overeem out in the final seconds of the fifth round. Rozenstruik showed that he’s dangerous until the final bell. Given the nature of that contest, I would love to see a rematch. Those potential matchups makes sense considering everyone else in the top four will likely be paired up.

UFC 252 Recap: Stipe Miocic cements himself as the UFC’s heavyweight GOAT

MMA, Stipe Miocic

UFC 252 was filled with solid action from start to finish. Fight fans got to witness the conclusion to perhaps the greatest trilogy in MMA history as Stipe Miocic (20-3) and Daniel Cormier (22-3, 1 NC) went to war for third time to once and for all settle the debate on who is the greatest heavyweight in UFC history.

Stipe Miocic becomes the UFC’s heavyweight GOAT

In the main event of the evening, two of the greatest of all time battled it out to see who was the greatest heavyweight in UFC history. Cormier was looking to prove the first fight wasn’t a fluke while Miocic was looking to prove that DC’s only win in the rivalry was just that.

As the trilogy kicked off, both men touched gloves. Miocic opened with a leg kick. Both men appeared to be showing a lot of feints. Stipe landed a nice jab a minute in. Another strong low kick for Miocic.

Cormier shot for his first takedown just after the one minute mark. He briefly got Stipe down, but Miocic worked his way back up. DC started leaning on Stipe against the cage. Miocic was able to break the clinch.

DC was not throwing a lot of shots early on. Stipe was looking very fluid with his striking. Both men exchanged massive shots with about two minutes left in the round. The action came to a stop after DC landed a big eye poke.

As the action resumed, both men exchanged low kicks. Miocic landed a couple of big body shots which he followed with a solid right. DC landed a couple of big right hands late in the round. Both men exchanged big shots again and DC briefly floored Stipe to end the round. Because of that final exchange, I lean DC in round one.

As the second round started, Miocic looked to push forward. 30 seconds in, Stipe pushed forward with a couple of big shots that landed. The two men came close in a clinch and DC landed some massive shots off the break.

Stipe continued to look for good body shots throughout the first half of the round. Three minutes into the round, Stipe landed a big left hook. Cormier responded with a couple of clean jabs. The action really started to pick up late.

Miocic tried to trip Cormier in a clinch but it wasn’t successful. Cormier landed a couple of big combinations with about a minute left. Stipe rocks and floors Cormier late in the round. Miocic goes right to the mount. Close to a stoppage, but the round ends. The champion takes round two.

The third round started and Miocic looked to pressure DC. Cormier still didn’t look recovered. DC started throwing big counters, but he wasn’t on steady legs. Stipe was just stalking Cormier landing good shots.

Stipe kept trying to come over the top with big one-twos. DC clinched Miocic a minute into the round. Stipe was just leaning on DC against the cage. The two men broke with three minutes left.

DC looked to be a little more on steady legs and throwing jabs and low kicks. Miocic pushed forward again and landed some good shots that briefly hurt Cormier again. Those shots led to another clinch against the cage.

The two men broke with a minute left in the round. Stipe continued to push forward. Cormier started pushing forward late in the round, and was looking a lot more sturdy. Stipe briefly rocked Cormier again, but DC countered with a big right of his own. Another round for the champion.

The fourth round started and Cormier’s eye was almost swollen shut due to a late eye poke in the third round. DC was keeping his hands up high early on. Cormier landed a nice jab which he followed with a nice one-two.

Right after, Stipe walked Cormier to the cage in the clinch. The two men broke and Cormier landed a nice jab which Stipe followed with a solid right. DC was having a lot of issues seeing the rights from Stipe. Miocic was finding a home for those.

Three minutes in and both men landed massive right hands. Stipe continued to walk down DC. Stipe pushed Cormier again to the cage with about 90 seconds left in the round. Both men exchanged knees in the clinch.

DC used a trip attempt to create space. Cormier followed with a couple of good shots before Miocic again pushed him against the fence. The round came to an end, and I lean slightly towards Cormier who landed more shots. I have it 2-2 entering the final round.

The final round of the trilogy began with a touch of the gloves. 30 seconds in and Stipe looked a little fresher. DC landed a jab but Stipe pushed forward with a solid one-two. Another big combination from Stipe.

Cormier pushed Stipe against the fence, but Miocic reversed the position. The two men finally break halfway through the round. Both men exchanged massive shots that briefly hurt each other. They clinched again, and DC landed a massive right hook.

Miocic again pushed Cormier against the fence with two minutes left in the round. Stipe landed a big combination against the fence. DC pushed forward, but Stipe landed some shots. Stipe shot for a takedown, but DC defended.

A couple of big shots from Cormier landed, but Miocic pushed DC right back against the fence. The final 30 seconds of the trilogy ended with Miocic laying against DC on the fence. A grueling fight.

In the end, I give the final round to Stipe which would give him the fight 48-47 on my scorecard. The judges unanimously agreed giving the fight to Stipe Miocic (49-46, 49-46, 48-47). After that fight, it’s clear that Stipe Miocic is the greatest heavyweight in UFC history.

Injury leads the Suga Show’s first loss

In the co-main event of the evening, Suga Sean O’Malley (12-0) took on Chito Vera (15-6-1) in a battle of UFC bantamweights. O’Malley was looking for a victory on the biggest stage he had fought on so far.

As the fight got underway, O’Malley landed a massive leg kick that buckled Vera. O’Malley’s kicks were really strong early on. Chito was buckled twice early by leg kicks. O’Malley had his hands down early on.

Chito was getting hit hard every time O’Malley threw kicks. Vera started trying to press O’Malley up against the cage, but Suga seemed very composed. O’Malley buckled bad on his right foot and looked hurt.

Chito started really stalking O’Malley. Suga started landing some clean shots trying to hide the injury. O’Malley crumbles on clearly a comprimised leg. Chito lands a couple of elbows and Herb Dean calls a stop to the action. Very quick stoppage, but the injury had a lot to do with it.

Rozenstruik KO’s JDS in the Second

The third fight of the main card featured former UFC heavyweight champion, Junior Dos Santos (21-8), taking on top contender Jairzinho Rozenstruik (11-1). Both men were looking to bounce back after getting knocked out in their previous fights.

As the first round began, JDS opened with a leg kick. Both men appeared to be feeling the other out early on. Rozenstruik opened his striking with a massive leg kick. About 90 seconds in Dos Santos looked for a big head kick.

JDS extended for a shot, and Rozenstruik landed a big counter check hook two minutes in. Dos Santos threw his big looping right and left hook combo which landed nicely after that. JDS followed that up with a clean jab.

Rozenstruik throughout the first round did a really good job of landing inside leg kicks. Rozenstruik caught a JDS kick and blitzed trying to land some big shots. The two men briefly clinched before breaking. Dos Santos landed a big right off the break. Entertaining first round that I give to Dos Santos.

To begin the second round, Rozenstruik opened immediately with a leg kick. He tried to push forward, but nothing landed. Both men landed big leg kicks on each other in the first minute.

Dos Santos landed a nice clean right 90 seconds in. He followed that up with a couple of stiff jabs. JDS also landed a really nice lead left hook that snuck past the guard. Halfway through the round JDS landed a big straight right hand. Dos Santos was looking good.

Rozenstruik landed a big overhand right with about 90 seconds left in the round. He really started to press forward after that. JDS was floored by a big right hand. Dos Santos worked his way back up, but a couple of big shots put him down for good. A massive bounce back UFC win for Rozenstruik.

Daniel Pineda keeps 100% finish rate

The second fight on the main card was a UFC featherweight contest between Herbert Burns (11-3) and Daniel Pineda (27-13, 2 NC). Burns missed weight in this contest which forced him to give up 20% of his fight purse to Pineda.

Both fighters touched gloves to start the fight. Pineda landed a massive right hand to open things up. Pineda shot in for a takedown after landing a few more big shots. Burns was able to cut Pineda just before getting taken down.

Pineda was able to land some big shots from the top. Burns kept trying to throw up submissions, but nothing was sticking. Pineda continued to land big punches and elbows from the top as the round went on.

Burns was able to land a decent upkick when Pineda stood up briefly. Pineda got right back to top position after that. He then start landing solid shots from the top. Dominant first round for Daniel Pineda.

As the second round started, Burns was able to land some solid shots before transitioning to a takedown. Burns was able to get Pineda down to the ground with ease.

Pineda did a good job of working his way back to his feet, but Burns dragged him right back down. Burns had top control for a couple of minutes. Pineda was able to reverse the position with about two minutes left in the round.

Pineda was able to secure a crucifix position with about a minute left in the round. A few big unanswered shots caused the referee to call a stop to the action. Pineda keeps his 100% finish rate in his UFC return.

Dvalishvili stifles John Dodson over three rounds

Kicking off the PPV main card was a battle between two UFC top fifteen bantamweights as John Dodson (21-12) took on Merab Dvalishvili (12-4).

As the first round got underway, Dodson immediately took the center of the cage. Both fighters didn’t do much in the first minute just feeling the other out. Dodson would explode a couple of times early, but nothing significant landed.

Dvalishvili finally shot in for a takedown halfway through the round. He was able to get Dodson down a couple of times briefly, but Dodson exploded right back up. Due to no top control, Dvalishvili didn’t get credit for those attempts. Dvalishvili landed very solid knees in the clinch while he tried to get Dodson down.

Dodson did a very good job defending takedowns, but Dvalishvili landed extremely hard knees to the thighs in the clinch. With a minute left, Dodson finally broke the clinch. Nothing followed the break which means a clear round for Dvalishvili.

Both men touched gloves as the second round began. Dodson seemed to be waiting on Dvalishvili to come in so he could counter strike. Dvalishvili shot for a takedown in the first minute but couldn’t land it which brought him to 0-8 on takedown attempts.

Dvalishvili picked up Dodson and slammed him to the ground, but before Dvalishvili could get on top, Dodson popped up. Dodson was clipped by a spinning backfist and right hook which led to another Dvalishvili takedown attempt.

Two minutes left in the round and again Dvalishvili slammed Dodson down, but before he could get on top, Dodson popped right back up. Dodson attempt to landed some shots near the end of the round but nothing landed. Two rounds in the books for Dvalishvili.

Both fighters hugged and screamed at each other to start the final round. Dvalishvili landed a decent leg kick to start the striking. Dodson looked to still be looking for the perfect counter.

Dvalishvili landed a solid right hand two minutes into the round and transitioned to a takedown attempt. He slammed Dodson, but again, Dodson got right back up. Halfway through the round, Dodson finally landed a really good counter left hook.

Dvalishvili smiled at the shot before pushing forward. Dodson appeared to be tiring late in the final round. Dvalishvili landed a big right hand with about 90 seconds left in the round.

Not a ton of action in the final minute of the fight. Clear third round for Dvalishvili as well giving him the fight 30-27 on my scorecard. The judges agreed unanimously (30-27, 30-27, 30-27). The fifth straight UFC win for Dvalishvili.

UFC 252 Final Thoughts

UFC 252 saw Stipe Miocic cement his legacy as the greatest heavyweight in the promotions history following his second victory over Daniel Cormier.

Tonight we also saw a bump in the road for the Suga Show who suffered his first career loss after injury his leg. It was an exciting night of fights that has produced so many interesting storylines.

UFC 252 Preview: Will Stipe Miocic or Daniel Cormier walk away as the heavyweight GOAT?

Tomorrow night, UFC 252 will see the conclusion of arguably the greatest trilogy in the history of MMA. Stipe Miocic (19-3) and Daniel Cormier (22-2, 1 NC) will go to war for the third time to once and for all settle the debate on who is the greatest heavyweight in UFC history.

The card is absolutely stacked with fights that should have UFC fans feeling the goosebumps already. Let’s take a dive into the main card for some previews and predictions.

Stipe Miocic vs Daniel Cormier for the UFC heavyweight title

The main event of the evening is a fight that is one year in the making as the heavyweight champion, Stipe Miocic, takes on the former champion, Daniel Cormier, for the third time.

Both of these men have won a fight against the other by knockout. This fight will truly determine the greatest heavyweight in UFC history.

For Cormier, there has only been two men in his career who have gotten the best of him. That would be Miocic and Jon Jones. Jones beat him twice although one was overturned due to Jones failing a drug test.

After Jones was stripped of his title following the second fight being overturned, Cormier resumed life as light heavyweight champion. He defended the title once before moving up to challenge Miocic for the heavyweight title.

DC knocked Miocic out in the first round. He had become a two division champion. He’s defeated the best that light heavyweight and heavyweight have had to offer. However, he would go on to lose to Miocic in the rematch.

If Cormier were to lose again, the only two men to have ever beaten him, would have both done it multiple times. That will be tough for DC the competitor to take. The Olympic wrestler is one of the greatest fighters of all time, but he needs this win to cement himself.

Miocic is the only heavyweight in UFC history to defend the title three times successfully. Stipe had to work for everything during his career. After back-to-back knockouts of Mark Hunt and Andrei Arlovski back in 2015/2016, Miocic demanded he get a shot at the title.

He went to enemy territory and knocked out the champion, Fabricio Werdum. Miocic then went on to defeat Alistair Overeem, Junior Dos Santos, and Francis Ngannou before losing the title to Cormier at UFC 226.

The second fight was a back and forth war that DC was controlling. He was landing more strikes and found some success wrestling. However, Stipe made adjustments just like a champion should.

In the fourth round, Miocic found success going to the body. After going to the body over and over, Miocic was able to transition to a head combination that put DC out.

These are clearly the two best heavyweights in the world. They both have knockout power, they both have good grappling, and they both know how to grind and fight their way through wars.

This is just a tough fight to predict. Despite both men having finished the other, I don’t think this one is going to end early. I think this will be the first of their three fights to see the scorecards.

I believe that this fight is going to be razor close because these two men are so equal in their skill. If it does go to the cards, I’m leaning towards Cormier. Especially rounds 1-3, DC’s hand speed and wrestling will really give him an advantage.

I see Stipe being a lot stronger as the fight goes on, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Stipe ended up winning rounds 3-5. However, I think DC will do enough to take the first three rounds and survive the onslaught from Stipe near the end. DC will walk away as heavyweight champion on Saturday, but nothing would honestly shock me.

Prediction: Daniel Cormier by Split Decision

Sean O’Malley vs Marlon “Chito” Vera

The co-main event of the evening will feature the Suga Show. Arguably the UFC‘s brightest young star, Sean O’Malley (12-0), will be facing off against Chito Vera (15-6-1).

O’Malley was featured on just the second episode ever of Dana White’s Contender Series. That night, you realized there was something special about O’Malley. Since then, the guy has been like a rocket ship in terms of popularity.

2020 has been incredible for O’Malley. After issues with USADA that kept him out for two years, O’Malley has returned looking like a completely different fighter. He looks so much better than he did a couple of years ago.

His performances show that as he’s knocked out Jose Alberto Quinonez and Eddie Wineland both in the first round. Suga’s very long for the division and his striking is incredibly crisp.

We’ve also seen how tough he is when he fought Andre Soukhamthath. O’Malley broke his foot in that fight and couldn’t even stand. However he hopped around for the final round and gritted it out for a decision victory. O’Malley is the real deal.

Chito Vera is a very tough test for O’Malley. Vera is coming off of a loss to Song Yadong in a fight that some believe that he won. That fight snapped a five fight winning streak for Vera.

Chito has really good striking, and he’s got very good skills on the ground. One of the biggest knocks on Vera is his slow starts. Sometimes Vera can be a bit gun shy out of the gate.

That could be a massive problem fighting a guy like O’Malley. He cannot let himself stay on the outside being too patient or he will be picked apart. For Vera to win, he’s got to be aggressive early and he has to make it an ugly fight.

I’ve been on the O’Malley hype train since day one and I’m staying on it. I believe that O’Malley has that Conor McGregor vibe to him. While Vera will definitely be game, I think O’Malley’s precision and power are just going to be too much.

Prediction: Sean O’Malley by TKO – Round 2

Junior Dos Santos vs Jairzinho Rozenstruik

The third fight of the main card features two top six UFC heavyweights as former champion, Junior Dos Santos (21-7), takes on Jairzinho Rozenstruik (10-1).

This is a massive fight for the former champion, Dos Santos. Dos Santos has lost back-to-back fights by knockout. Those losses coming after Cigano had won three consecutive fights.

After losing the heavyweight title back in 2012, Dos Santos has been on a mission to get back to the UFC title. He’s fought for the title twice since losing it and both of those fights he lost by stoppage.

Since the first war with Cain Velasquez, Cigano has been finished five times. Despite that, Dos Santos still possesses arguably the best pure boxing in the heavyweight division.

For Bigi Boy, he’s looking to rebound after a rough first round loss to Francis Ngannou. Rozenstruik came into that fight undefeated, but was finished in just 20 seconds. Had Rozenstruik won that fight, he would have been next in line for the title.

Rozenstruik has tremendous striking with incredible knockout power. He also has shown tremendous heart as shown in the Alistair Overeem fight. Overeem had clearly been winning the fight, but Bigi Boy put him out in the final ten seconds of the fight.

This fight is so interesting because both men bring tremendous striking to the cage. Cigano has beautiful boxing while Rozenstruik has very good kickboxing.

Most people think that this fight won’t go the distance, but I’m in the minority that thinks it will. I think Rozenstruik will be a little more cautious after getting finished by Ngannou in his last one. I think Cigano’s boxing will allow him to score more points over three rounds.

Prediction: Junior Dos Santos by Unanimous Decision

John Dodson vs Merab Dvalishvili

The second fight of the evening pairs a couple of top 15 UFC bantamweights as former title challenger, John Dodson (21-11), takes on Merab Dvalishvili (11-4).

Dodson was able to prove to everyone in his last fight that he’s still a very powerful fighter at 135 pounds. The Magician got a third round TKO win over Nathaniel Wood. That win came after Dodson had lost three out of four.

Now, I will give Dodson a break considering those three opponents are all in the top seven and one is the current champion, Petr Yan. Dodson is going to come at you with ridiculous speed looking to put your lights out.

Dvalishvili on the other hand is going to look to take you down and smother you. The Machine is known for his dominant wrestling and that was on full display at UFC on ESPN 10.

Dvalishvili took on Gustavo Lopez and set a UFC bantamweight record in takedowns with 13. His main training partner is top contender Aljamain Sterling, so you know that Dvalishvili is going to be ready.

When it comes to the prediction, it’s a matter of where the fight takes place. The speed and accuracy of Dodson will win him the fight if he can keep it on the feet. That’s a giant if.

I think that Dvalishvili is going to be able to get Dodson down particularly in the last two rounds of the fight. I expect Dodson to have moments, but Dvalishvili’s wrestling to be too much in the end.

Prediction: Merab Dvalishvili by Unanimous Decision

Herbert Burns vs Daniel Pineda

Kicking off the main card of UFC 252 is a featherweight fight between Herbert Burns (11-2) and the returning Daniel Pineda (26-13, 2 NC). Pineda is returning to the octagon after six years of fighting in other promotions.

Burns, who is the younger brother of top welterweight contender Gilbert Burns, will be making his third appearance in the octagon. He earned himself a contract after a triangle armbar victory on Dana White’s Contender Series.

Burns has won his first two UFC fights by first round stoppage. One by KO and one by submission. The Blaze is elite on the ground just like his brother. Burns competes in top level Jiu Jitsu tournaments all over the world when he’s not fighting.

Daniel Pineda was having himself quite the 2019. Pineda entered PFL’s featherweight tournament and had two first round finishes. Elevated testosterone levels did change those two victories to non contests.

If you would have counted those, Pineda would have been returning to the octagon on a five fight first round finish streak. All 26 of Pineda’s wins have come via finish.

In looking at this fight, I’m struggling to find Pineda’s advantage. I don’t see him being the better striker, and he’s good on the ground (18 submissions), but he’s not Burns good. Burns is world class on the ground.

I think that Burns is going to have the clear advantage in this fight, and the odds speak to that. I’m going with Burns, but I think he’s going to win by showing off his superior skills on the ground.

Prediction: Herbert Burns by Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) – Round 2

UFC 252 Outlook

This main event and card gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. We are seeing arguably the two greatest heavyweights of all time fighting for the third time to settle once and for all, who is the baddest man on the planet. UFC 252 is going to be a night to remember for fight fans everywhere.

Junior Dos Santos meets Jairzinho Rozenstruik at UFC 252

UFC 252 is going to be headlined by the UFC heavyweight title fight between champion, Stipe Miocic (19-3), and former champion, Daniel Cormier (22-2), but another big-time heavyweight matchup was just added to the card. Multiple reports have confirmed that former heavyweight champion, Junior dos Santos (21-7), will be meeting Jairzinho Rozenstruik (10-1) on August 15th.

A must-win for Cigano

In 2019, Dos Santos was closing in on another UFC title shot after he had gone on a three-fight winning streak. He was finally looking like the guy that we remember that knocked out Cain Velasquez years ago. He had back-to-back knockouts over Tai Tuivasa and Derrick Lewis to put him prime shape to get a title shot. Unfortunately for Cigano, he ran into Francis Ngannou. Ngannou put Dos Santos out in the first round. Following that loss, Dos Santos was stopped by Curtis Blaydes back at UFC Fight Night 166. Dos Santos does not have any easy challenge in front of him next, and he’s desperate for a victory.

Rozenstruik looks to get back on track

Rozenstruik entered 2020 as a heavyweight prospect that everyone was talking about. “Bigi Boy” had won his first four UFC fights all by knockout including a knockout of Alistair Overeem which produced one of the worst cuts I’ve ever seen. Rozenstruik was riding high until he ran into the same problem that Dos Santos ran into, Francis Ngannou. Rozenstruik called out Ngannou after his last victory, and that proved to be a mistake. Ngannou knocked out Rozenstruik in just 20 seconds back at UFC 249. Rozenstruik will look to right this ship at UFC 252 against the former champion, Dos Santos.

Battle of Heavyweights at UFC 252

UFC 252 is going to be all about the heavyweights it appears. I cannot wait to see the trilogy conclude between Cormier and Miocic, and now I’m pumped for this matchup. I think one of these two men are going to get a stoppage, but I’m not ready to make a prediction just yet. Dana White teased this afternoon that some crazy fights were getting booked, and my guess is that this card will get even deeper as we get closer to August 15th.