UFC 241 Recap: Miocic Reclaims UFC Heavyweight Title
By Matt Wise
Stipe Miocic regained the heavyweight throne with a revenge TKO victory over Daniel Cormier.
Cormier had the better of the exchanges in rounds one to three, looking quicker than his opponent despite coming in 6.5lbs heavier.
Cormier’s use of the jab looked to have been key to securing the first three rounds, and he was seemingly headed for another victory over the former champion.
However, Miocic emerged for round four with a revised game plan, targeting the champion’s body to great success. With his opponent hurt, he then landed a series of strikes to the head which folded Cormier’s legs; and his title reign.
With that, 40 year-old Cormier said post-fight that he now has a decision to make over his retirement.
Nate Diaz ended his three year lay off in style with an impressive decision win over Anthony Pettis.
Diaz perfectly executed his game plan which was to smother Pettis, and stifle his dangerous kicking repertoire.
In the early goings, though, Pettis found some success with his overhand right, which landed behind the ear of Diaz on a few occasions.
Pettis looked tired during round two, and clearly struggled to match the excellent cardio of Diaz. It looked as though we would see a stoppage as Pettis folded to Diaz’s pressure, but he used his knowhow to pull guard instead.
On the mat, Diaz also got the better of his long term rival, keeping Pettis in the body triangle, where he threatened a number of chokes.
At the end of the bout, the judges scored the contest 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 in favour of Nate Diaz.
Paulo Costa edged out Yoel Romero via decision in a back and forth thriller.
The pair set the tone from the get go, with both fighters being sent to the mat during the first round.
Romero landed his trademark flying knee through the guard, but Costa bit down on his mouthpiece and kept moving forward.
Costa’s constant pressure would have been a good look for the judges, and the Brazilian, to Romero’s disbelief, picked up the unanimous decision victory: 29-28, 29-28, 29-28.
In Featherweight action, Sodiq Yussuf defeated Gabriel Benitez via first round TKO.
Home favourite Benitez came out all guns blazing, and Yussuf fought fire with fire, landing a vicious left which cut Benitez.
The ‘Nigerian Sensation’ continued to pressure his opponent, and despite taking some damage in the process, he landed a devastating right hand which sent Benitez to the canvas. Only a few more strikes were needed before Herb Dean stepped in to end the contest.
In the main card’s opener, Derek Brunson earned a unanimous decision victory over Ian Heinisch.
Heinisch capitalised on Brunson’s slow start, landing a head kick which wobbled his opponent, but Brunson instinctively initiated the clinch.
Brunson replied in round two with a busier display, and Heinisch looked to be slowing down significantly.
With a potential even contest heading in to round three, it would be the most willing and fresh fighter to emerge the victor. The more experienced Brunson was keen to grind Heinisch down with his wrestling, but was unable to control him for a sustained period. Brunson used his jab well despite running on empty, and he reached the final bell having been the busier man.
The judges each scored the bout 29-29 Brunson’s way.
Earlier in the card:
Khama Worthy def. Devonte Smith via first round TKO
Cory Sandhagen def. Raphael Assuncao via unanimous decision
Drakkar Klose def. Christos Giagos via unanimous decision
Casey Kenney def. Manny Bermudez via unanimous decision
Hannah Cifers def. Jodie Esquibel via unanimous decision
Kang Kyung-Ho def. Brandon Davis via split decision
Sabina Mazo def. Shana Dobson via unanimous decision