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.