The highly anticipated third fight between UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic and former two-division champion Daniel Cormier is finally happening. According to UFC President Dana White, the trilogy will be completed at UFC 252 on August 15, 2020, at a still undetermined venue in the United States.

In their first bout, Cormier walked away with a stunning first-round upset of Miocic, ending the latter’s unprecedented run as heavyweight king of the UFC. DC successfully defended the heavyweight title by submitting Derrick Lewis in his first defense at UFC 230. Meanwhile, Miocic waited for Cormier’s win over Lewis and got his rematch.

“Fighting" Cormier Slightly Favored

At UFC 241, Cormier found success early but Miocic weathered the storm and made the necessary adjustments to earn a fourth-round finish and reclaim his belt. According to UFC stats, Cormier landed a total of 181 significant strikes to Miocic’s 123. The two heavyweight combined to land a total of 365 total strikes in just 20 minutes of action.

Two months from now, the two will settle their score and find out who the best heavyweight champion of all-time is. Miocic defended the heavyweight title more times than any champion before him. Cormier is the second fighter to hold two titles simultaneously and first to successfully defend both belts. Given their resume, there is no question that the winner at UFC 252 will be the UFC’s heavyweight GOAT.

The betting odds for this rivalry has shifted from one side to the other. DC found himself as the +175 underdog in their first bout. He closed as a -140 favorite in the rematch. For the trilogy bout, both men opened at -110 with Cormier moving to -117 as of the latest odds board from BetOnline as of June 17, 2020.

Miocic is 7-1 inside the octagon but has been a favorite only three times during that period. On the other hand, Cormier has figured in a total of nine title fights in both the light heavyweight and heavyweight division and he has closed as the underdog in five of those fights. With Miocic winning the rematch, Cormier is just slightly favored in the third bout.

“Fighting" Stipe Miocic

Miocic is the current and two-time UFC heavyweight champion. The 37-year old native of Croatia holds the record for most successful title defenses in UFC heavyweight history with a total of three during his first reign. He also has a record nine post-fight bonuses in the UFC and is regarded as the greatest heavyweight champion of all-time.

Miocic stands 6-4 tall with a reach of 80 inches while fighting out of the orthodox stance. He owns a record of 19-3 with 15 wins by way of knockout. Seven out of his last eight victories have come via knockout including five in the first round. Miocic has notable wins over Cormier, Fabricio Werdum, Francis Ngannou, Junior Dos Santos, Alistair Overeem, and Andrei Arlovski.

Miocic lands an average of 4.95 significant strikes per minute at a 52% accuracy. He absorbs 3.69 significant strikes per minute and has a striking defense of 56%. Miocic completes an average of 2.2 takedowns per 15 minutes with an accuracy of 37% and a takedown defense of 73%.

What are the Moneyline Odds?





Odds were taken from BetOnline as of 06/19/2020

“Fighting" Daniel Cormier

Cormier is a former Olympic wrestler and the former Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix champion and King of the Cage heavyweight champion. The 41-year old DC is the second fighter in UFC history to hold two different titles simultaneously and the first one to defend both titles. Cormier is currently the 5th ranked pound for pound fighter in the promotion and the #1 heavyweight contender.

DC stands 5-11 tall with a reach of 72 ½ inches and is an orthodox fighter. He has a record of 22-2 with 10 knockouts and five wins via submission. Cormier’s losses have come against Miocic and Jon Jones and nine out of his last 10 bouts have been for a championship. He owns notable wins over Dan Henderson, Frank Mir, Antonio Silva, Josh Barnett, Anthony Johnson, Alexander Gustafsson, Derrick Lewis, and Miocic.

Cormier connects on an average of 4.25 significant strikes per 15 minutes at a 52% accuracy. He absorbs 2.75 significant strikes per minute and has a striking defense of 56%. DC completes an average of 1.96 takedowns per 15 minutes with a 44% accuracy and a 77% takedown defense.

“Fighting" How Will This Fight Unfold?

Miocic was the more aggressive fighter during their first meeting. He pushed DC against the cage and roughed him up while landing one big shot after another. However, Cormier was able to knock out Miocic with a sneaky punch.

In the rematch, it was DC who was the aggressor. Both men landed heavily throughout the fight and they displayed remarkable durability as they withstood each other’s big blows. However, Miocic picked up the pace in the 4th round where Cormier’s activity diminished. After a series of body shots, Miocic weakened DC and he was able to swarm Cormier with heavy blows that led to the stoppage of the fight.

In the trilogy, Cormier cannot afford to take a round off as he did in the 4th round of their second bout. To beat Miocic, he must put non-stop pressure so that the champion cannot get his striking going. When DC was pushing the pace, he was getting the better of the exchanges because Miocic didn’t fight well on his back foot. However, Cormier is older now and I’m not sure if he can push the pace for a full 25-minutes.

As for Miocic

He must be wary of Cormier’s eye pokes. In the first bout, Miocic had vision problems from an eye poke shortly before he got knocked out. During the rematch, he also got hit in the eyes a couple of times by DC and that’s the reason why he needed surgery that delayed this trilogy bout.

This is a tough fight to predict because both men were impressive in their respective wins. However, my main issue is DC’s age and his ability to keep up with Miocic. The younger and much stronger fighter should win this fight. Regardless, DC retires as an all-time great.

Prediction: Stipe Miocic by knockout

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