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wandshogun09

UFC 241: Cormier vs Miocic 2 - Aug 17 🇺🇸

Who wins and how?   

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We’re going back to Cali on Saturday 17th August. The Octagon is back in Anaheim with a monster of a card.

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PPV MAIN CARD
Daniel Cormier vs Stipe Miocic - Heavyweight Title

Anthony Pettis vs Nate Diaz 

Yoel Romero vs Paulo Costa 

Sodiq Yusuff vs Gabriel Benítez 

Derek Brunson vs Ian Heinisch  


ESPN PRELIMS
Devonte Smith vs Khama Worthy

Raphael Assuncao vs Cory Sandhagen

Christos Giagos vs Drakkar Klose

Manny Bermudez vs Casey Kenney


ESPN+ PRELIMS
Hannah Cifers vs Jodie Esquibel

Kyung Ho Kang vs Brandon Davis 

Sabina Mazo vs Shana Dobson  

 

Those top 3 fights! The rest is so-so, some of it is quite good. But it’s all about the top 3 on this one. Only a few weeks out now so hopefully it all stays intact. 

 

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Daniel Cormier vs Stipe Miocic 2 headlines this bastard. Great fight. It’s taken a little while but we got there in the end. And, for Stipe, it’s the least immediate feeling immediate rematch ever. 

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The first fight went down at UFC 226 in July 2018. It was a big champion vs champion blockbuster. The first time in UFC history that the reigning heavyweight champion was fighting the reigning 205lbs champion. Miocic was coming in on a monstrous run of dominance. The best streak of any heavyweight champ in the company’s history. He’d wasted the likes of Francis Ngannou, Junior Dos Santos, Alistair Overeem, Fabricio Werdum, Andrei Arlovski and Mark Hunt. In consecutive fights. Stopped all of them bar Ngannou. He was THE man. While DC had beaten Alexander Gustafsson, Rumble Johnson twice, Volkan Oezdemir and Anderson Silva. As well as the ongoing saga with Jon Jones, obviously. They’d both pretty much cleaned out all the available top challengers at the time. So the UFC had them coach TUF and then do the big Superfight at UFC 226. 

I don’t know how it’s been rewritten now but going in, I think opinion from MMA fans and media was almost unanimous that DC was probably getting battered. He was unbeaten as a heavyweight but Stipe had been terrorising the division and DC was getting up in age and not far removed from that bad knockout to Jones which left him a blubbering wreck. I thought it was asking a bit too much for him to go up to heavyweight and take on Stipe. 

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I was wrong. We all were. Cormier knocked Stipe out in the first round, ended Stipe’s streak and became the first man to hold both the UFC heavyweight and light heavyweight titles at the same time. 

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It wasn’t without controversy. There was some eye poking during the fight which put some doubt on it, but that was soon overshadowed when Brock Lesnar got in the cage and had a little WWE style shovefest with DC to close the show. 

For the next few months, the talk was that DC would retire by the time he turned 40 years old, so March 2019. And the plan was for him to fight Brock and Jon Jones again before hanging up the gloves for good. Miocic stuck to his guns that he deserved a rematch with DC but it wasn’t looking likely. Cormier came back to save the MSG show in November, beating Derrick Lewis with ease and making good coin for the privilege. All the while, Stipe still sat on the sidelines. But while it was a risky game to play, it worked out for Stipe in the end. The Brock talks fizzled out and with Jones doing his own thing, DC healed up a back injury and needed a dance partner. 

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The rematch is on. 

“I always said that I was going to fight until I turned 40, which would’ve been the card March 2nd, but I couldn’t make that one. If I hold true to what I was saying then this would be the final one. I don’t anticipate fighting much past this. I just want to go out there and do my thing. I truly believe that he’s going to be a better version of himself. I don’t think for a second that he’s going to make the same mistakes this time. I think it’s going to be a much more difficult fight.” - Daniel Cormier

It’s a fascinating fight and I’m really not sure how it goes. On the one hand, you have to imagine Cormier goes in as the favourite. He won by first round knockout last time and Stipe’s done nothing since to remind people what a savage he is. But I don’t know. The first fight ended so early that we didn’t get to see how their styles really matched up for any significant amount of time that would give us a proper gauge on how a longer fight would go. Many of the reasons I thought Stipe would win the first time are still there. And DC’s older, fatter, thinking retirement and coming off a back injury. Plus, we know Stipe wasn’t his first choice of opponent. Just how up for this is he? It’s an interesting one. 

DC vs Stipe 2 promo;

Get that watched. When this rematch was first announced I wasn’t that arsed, to be honest. I liked the fight but it wasn’t really grabbing me by the bollocks. The closer it’s getting though, and the more I think about it, it’s a really fascinating rematch. So many ways to look at it and different things to consider. 

 

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Anthony Pettis vs Nate Diaz could be all kinds of amazing. This fight has been brewing for fucking years actually. The origins for this one go way back, longer than many probably realise. The first rumblings I remember regarding these two would’ve been around 2013, back when Pettis became the UFC lightweight champion. He’d just beat Benson Henderson and I vaguely recall some shit talking starting around then. Then there was more of it when Pettis beat Nate’s teammate Gilbert Melendez in late 2014 and I think there was talk of a backstage run-in in 2015. It probably all started as just Nate trying to talk his way into a title shot back when Pettis was the champ but it turned nasty at some point. 

“We’ve just always had this drama. Every time we saw each other, something was going to happen. He might have been jealous I was the champ. He wanted his shot at me. He got his McGregor fight and then went MIA. That chapter never closed in my life, so to me, this is something that had to happen. Nate is a tough dude, but he turns it on for the cameras. I’m past that drama stuff but I’m definitely looking forward to whooping his ass. I can’t wait to hurt this guy. This is a personal fight for me. Me and Diaz got problems. Now we can solve them.” - Anthony Pettis

Pettis has been massively inconsistent over the last few years. He’s been on a win one/lose one run forever, it seems. But he’s great to watch. He’s no longer talked about in that pound-for-pound conversation but he fights all the top guys and there’s usually something crazy or memorable to talk about when it’s over. Like when he knocked Wonderboy out cold with a superman punch in his last fight, from out of nowhere in a fight he was losing fairly handily. He had that nutty FOTY candidate with Tony Ferguson before that as well. He’s just fun to watch. 

Nate, on the other hand, has been on a milk carton for 3 years now. His last fight was the Conor McGregor rematch back in August 2016! He’s been linked to possible comebacks in the 3 years since but nothing came of it, obviously. He actually agreed to fight Dustin Poirier at the MSG card last November but it fell apart. This seems like it’s actually happening though. And from Nate’s POV at least, it doesn’t seem to be about the past grudges with Pettis anymore. It’s about fights that he thinks are fun and appealing for him.

“I think it’s the best fight. He’s coming off a good win and he’s one of the top guys, one of the better guys in the division. Most entertaining fighter in the UFC, I like that. It’s a guy I actually enjoy watching over the rest of these fighters. Everyone is getting boring, the fight game. If I’m going to take part in any fights, I want a fight that is interesting to not only me, but to the fight fan.” - Nate Diaz

I’m sure the beef will be cooking again by the time the fight rolls around though. Once they’re forced to be around each other at the press conferences and media days and stuff like that, it’ll probably get a bit heated again. The fight itself should be exciting regardless. Despite their history being at 155, this fight is at 170. So they won’t have to drain themselves making weight. They can just come in fresh and energetic and ready to go. I like it. You never know what you’re getting with Diaz at the best of times. The fights I expect him to get battered in are the ones he usually shines in and vice versa. After a 3 year layoff it’s even more of an unknown. Add in Pettis’ inconsistency and who the fuck knows with this? Looking at their styles I could see Pettis giving him grief if he goes with a heavy leg kicking gameplan but in all honesty I don’t have a clue. It’s a 50/50 thing at this point for me. 

Here’s a brilliant Pettis vs Diaz promo; 

Really goes into the history of this one and gets the blood pumping. Can’t wait for this fight. 

 

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Yoel Romero vs Paulo Costa. Fucking hell. Yeah, no surprise this is ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH***. Another fight that’s been bubbling up for a while now. It’s been officially signed a couple of times, planned a couple more, rumoured a bunch of times, but up until now they just haven’t been able to get them in the cage. Off the top of my head it was definitely set to go down on the MSG show in November. It fell apart. Then it was supposed to headline the ESPN show in April but Costa pulled out. There’s been all sorts of accusations back and forth between these two. Costa was suggesting that Yoel was ducking him and not signing the contract. Yoel was saying Costa failed a USADA test and that’s why they never fought.

Bollocks to it all. I just want to see these two beasts finally throw down. I managed to get a time machine and found this footage of the first collision. This is just after the Buffer intros...

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Seriously, this is going to be wild. You know the score with Yoel by now. You don’t go into a Yoel Romero fight expecting bell-to-bell action. He’s not that type of Arturo Gatti style fighter. But his fights are fucking engrossing because you know that at any second, in the blink of an eye, he can put you to bed with one shot from any angle or direction. He’s weird as fuck but I love the lunatic. Costa is more of a traditional and conventional murderer. No fucking about or mystery to what he’s doing. He’ll just come right at you and try to take your head off your neck. He’s 12-0 with 12 finishes and a BJJ black-belt under Big Nog. Do something about that. This better happen this time.

 

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Sodiq Yusuff vs Gabriel Benítez is one of those fights where I’m not massively familiar with either guy but have vague memories of liking what I’ve seen of both. Yusuff sounds like he could be worth keeping tabs on. 26 years old, 9-1 record, 5 finishes. Benítez is the more experienced with a 21-6 record and coming off a big slam TKO in his last fight. Usually if they put two lesser known guys on a PPV main card, it’s either because 1) the card is piss weak - not the case here, 2) they’re high on one or both guys or 3) it’s a fight they know is pretty much guaranteed fireworks. 

 

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Derek Brunson vs Ian Heinisch will understandably get overlooked on a card like this but it’s a good matchup. Brunson has kind of found his level at this point. He’s the guy just under that title mix. He’ll lose to the elite but usually beat anyone beneath that. Not a knock, Brunson is a very good fighter. But his losses to Adesanya, Whittaker and Jacare have pretty much rendered him a perennial gatekeeper in the 185 division. He’s a strong wrestler with some knockout power though and on a given night he can cause a lot of guys problems. Heinisch wasn’t really on my radar at all until his last fight. He beat Antonio Carlos Junior on points in May. I was impressed as I really rate Shoeface. Heinisch also beat Cezar Ferreira before that and is currently 13-1. If he beats Brunson here then it’ll be a strong statement that he might be a player in the contender convo before too long. 

 

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Devonte Smith vs John Makdessi sounds like fun on paper. Smith looks a bit of a prospect. Teammate of Anthony Smith at Factory X, he’s 25 years old, 10-1 record, has won his last 4 fights in the first round. He’s a talker as well. I remember him talking the head off Anik or whoever was interviewing him after this last win over Dong Hyun Ma. Might be one to keep tabs on. Makdessi should ask some questions of him at this stage of his career. If he blows through a seasoned striker like Makdessi then it’s time to start talking more about this guy.

 

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Raphael Assuncao vs Corey Sandhagen is a really interesting one for me. I’ve liked Sandhagen a lot from the fights I’ve seen so far. He beat John Lineker in a really good fight last time out and he had that incredible comeback stoppage over Iuri Alcantara a while back. He’s got an excellent ground game, goes for it in the striking, he’s scrappy, tough, all that good stuff. But he’s up against, for me, one of the better guys in the lower weightclasses over the last decade. Assuncao is no joke. He’s had his losses but he’s one of those fighters who’s just good everywhere and you won’t beat him unless you’ve really got something about you. Assuncao’s coming off that quick loss to Marlon Moraes as well so he’s going to be looking to make an example out of Sandhagen here. And if Sandhagen wins, that’s consecutive victories over Lineker and Assuncao, he’ll be knocking on the door of a top contender fight. Looking forward to this one.

 

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Manny Bermudez vs Casey Kenney should be worth a look. From the little I’ve seen of him, Bermudez seems like one of the better prospects on this card. He’s 24 years old, undefeated at 14-0 with 12 finishes and he looked fucking tremendous blasting through the usually tough Benito Lopez in a round on the Ngannou vs Cain undercard in February. Subbed Davey Grant in a minute before that as well. In fact, he’s stopped his last 6 opponents. He looks pretty legit to me. Don’t recall seeing Kenney before but he sounds like a solid opponent. He’s 12-1-1 and coming off a win over Ray Borg in March. 

 

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Christos Giagos vs Drakkar Klose is a solid prelim fight. Giagos is 17-7, coming off a couple of wins. So far he’s come up short when he’s stepped in with that next tier of opposition like Charles Oliveira and Josh Emmett but he’s looked decent in the fights I’ve seen. Klose is 10-1-1 and has had more success in the UFC with good name wins over Bobby Green, Lando Vannata and Marc Diakiese. 

 

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Hannah Cifers vs Jodie Esquibel isn’t doing anything for me. Don’t really see any upside in either of these two. Cifers is 9-3 and I only remember her for getting smashed by Maycee Barber. Esquibel is 6-5, coming off 3 losses on the bounce and I only know her as Keith Jardine’s missus.

 

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Kyung Ho Kang vs Brandon Davis sounds alright. Standard inoffensive prelim fodder. Kang had a wild one rounder with Teruto Ishihara in his last fight in February actually. Won by submission after a mad button mashy slugfest. Can’t remember much else about him but he’s 15-8-1 and 4-1 in his last 5. Davis is 10-5 and I only remember him as the guy Zabit beat with that wacky inverted kneebar sometime last year.

 

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Sabina Mazo vs Shana Dobson could be worth a look. Just to see what Mazo is about.  She lost her UFC debut to Maryna Moroz but I’ve read she’s got some potential. She’s Colombian, 22 years old with a 6-1 record with a couple of headkick knockouts already on her resume. Dobson is 30 and was on one of the TUF seasons not too long ago. 3-2 record and has lost every time she’s stepped up. If Mazo is going to go on to be any kind of prospect, these are the fights she should be winning.



UFC 24fucking1. 

Edited by wandshogun09

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Those two hype videos were bloody great and really did their job for me. I dying to see this card now, that triple header just makes the knees go weak. Pulling for DC and Diaz, and a draw in the Romero Vs Costa fight so that they run it back twice more. 

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Nice write-up Wand. I especially enjoyed the bit about Diaz vs Pettis. I forgot they had a history with one another. 

Think an all-nighter is in order for this one. The main card is cracking. 

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Is anyone else struggling to get a read on the main 3 fights?

I am slightly leaning towards picking Romero, as I think he'll be able to catch Costa at some point and put him away. But beyond that, I have no idea how the main fights will pan out. 

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11 hours ago, jimufctna24 said:

Is anyone else struggling to get a read on the main 3 fights?

I am slightly leaning towards picking Romero, as I think he'll be able to catch Costa at some point and put him away. But beyond that, I have no idea how the main fights will pan out. 

Absolutely in the same camp as you Jim. I'm sort of edging towards Pettis by decision, Romero by 3rd round KO and DC by decision, but I am no more than 50.0001 percent on those picks. 

Pretty much I'm basing it on the idea that Diaz has been inactive for three years and Pettis, whilst alternating wins and losses, has been fighting top guys that whole time. I'm not so sure that it makes much of a difference, but it might make some, and in a three round fight, Diaz might not shake the cobwebs off early enough to win the first two rounds. They are really well matched though, when it comes to their skillset and overall ability. I'm more confident we're getting three rounds than I am of picking a winner. 

With Romero and Costa, who knows really. Costa pushes the action more, but Romero is a huge leap up in competition level. Both men have been really inactive, and Romero is nearly 42 now I think, but he's still a genetic freak and may as well be 22. Again, with it being three rounds I see Costa pushing forward and engaging more, throwing more strikes, but that could very well suit Romero. Somebody is going out on their back in this one I think. Either Costa's sprint catches Yoel before he wakes up, or everybody's favourite Cuban dances around the barrage for three rounds, then knees Paulo into oblivion right at the death. Yoel might still be too good for him for the time being. 

It would be very tempting to look at the first DC Vs Stipe fight and say, 'yeah DC has his number'. I really didn't think that going into that first fight though and the first round KO surprised me. I was sure we were going to see a cagey, tactical affair with a close decision one way or the other. I'm not sure why, based on both men usually being involved in exciting fights, but I just thought they might give each other a bit too much respect in the early going. As it was, it ended up being typical heavyweight affair, with them big bungalows getting thrown with reckless abandon. I should have bloody well known.

Anything can happen in this fight, both men are elite and have incredible power. They can take a shot, but I'd be surprised if both can do it as well as they could 2-3 years ago. So an early KO is a definite possibility obviously. My thought is that DC is slightly better everywhere as far as his skill is concerned, not by an awfully wide margin mind you, but how's his health? He's coming off back surgery, he ballooned in weight and his hand was destroyed as well and getting rehabbed during his time off. Can he really be the same fighter as even a year ago? If anyone can grit their teeth and will through when they aren't at themselves, it's an Olympic level wrestler, but I wouldn't like to be DC two rounds into this fight, and possibly finding out that his back is about to do a Derrick Lewis. 

Three of the hardest to call fights (on paper anyway) that you're ever going to find on one card. 

 

Edited by WeeAl

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Yeah, big time. Al’s covered most of my reasons pretty well there.

DC vs Stipe 1 ended too quickly to really get much of an idea on how a rematch will go. And even if we did take something from that fight, it’s been over a year since and there are new factors now like DC talking more about retirement and coming off that back injury, and Stipe could be rusty with the year of inactivity. 

Pettis vs Diaz and Romero vs Costa, fuck knows. Was thinking Pettis’ kicking game will give Diaz issues but you just never know with Nate. He’ll look great one fight, and flat the next. And I don’t think the lay-off comes into it so much with Nate. From bits I’ve seen and read he generally stays in the gym doing something or other most of the time, even when he’s not fighting. Of course it’s no substitute for actually fighting but I don’t think the time away will effect him like it does some guys. I think a lot of it with Nate depends on how up for the fight he is. And on that front, I like the way he’s sounding going into this one. His kryptonite, like his brother, has been strong wrestlers who can outmuscle him and stifle his BJJ game. That’s not Anthony Pettis. The kicks are probably the key in this one. Diaz’s don’t check leg kicks, as we know. So that’s something Pettis might zero in on. It’s been largely forgotten now but Josh Thomson stopped Nate with a headkick as well years ago. I don’t know though. It’s one of those fights where you just throw your hands up and sit back and enjoy it. 

Can’t add anything about Romero vs Costa that WeeAl hasn’t touched on. I’m hoping Yoel busts out another highlight reel KO though. Nothing against Costa but Yoel’s got to get that belt before he retires. 

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Starting to absorb myself in the hype and build up for this.

That Okamoto interview with Diaz was bizarre. He seems shockingly removed from reality even for a professional fighter. Can only hope he loses in convincing fashion after watching that.

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I still think DC beats Stipe. I see a similar outcome to last time or DC just turning into a grappling match and dominating on the ground.

I'll have Pettis over Diaz too. If it was a 5 rounder i may have sided with Diaz but i see Pettis busting him up over 3.

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The best scenario is Stipe winning, setting up a third fight. No one fancied DC v Stipe, IIRC. Certainly not winning by 1st round KO.

DC is a broken man. He's well old and his body is starting to absolutely pack in on him. He's not been able to go a training camp for ages without his back going on him, which makes his accomplishments even more incredible. According to DC, he spent a significant amount of time on his couch while in fight camp for Stipe because he could barely move.

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Was it the Stipe fight or Lewis where he sneezed at the press conference or something and threw his back out again? As much as Stipe winning and setting up the trilogy decider would be cool, I don’t know. I’m not sure how many more training camps DC has in him. I’d rather DC beat Stipe 2-0 at the expense of a rubber match than him carry on and lose a fight he shouldn’t have because he’s done one fight too many. 

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It seems everyone has forgotten the eye poke that happened before the KO in the first fight. Was it the sole reason he lost? No, but did it play a part? Of course it did. It's harder to see a punch coming when your vision is compromised.

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3 minutes ago, wandshogun09 said:

Was it the Stipe fight or Lewis where he sneezed at the press conference or something and threw his back out again? As much as Stipe winning and setting up the trilogy decider would be cool, I don’t know. I’m not sure how many more training camps DC has in him. I’d rather DC beat Stipe 2-0 at the expense of a rubber match than him carry on and lose a fight he shouldn’t have because he’s done one fight too many. 

Stipe, IIRC. The Lewis fight he turned up with one functioning hand.

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I'm not surprised that DC's body is falling apart. 

I remember reading a while back that AKA's wrestling practices, for which he spearheads, are some of the most demanding in MMA. The AKA guys train like madmen. 

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