UFC 252: Miocic vs Cormier Preview & Prediction
By Cathal Geeney
Stipe Miocic vs Daniel Cormier
Stipe Miocic meets Daniel Cormier for the third time to decide who will take home the UFC heavyweight title along with their trilogy bragging rights.
Both fighters will have learnt plenty from their previous two meetings which makes this contest all the more fascinating.
Miocic is most comfortable on the feet, relying on his boxing skills. He has fast hands and powerful fists, looking to put together combinations off his jab or land big counter punches.
The fighter of Croatian heritage likes to back his opponent up against the fence and let his hands go. If you remain static and allow Miocic to tee off, it’s likely to be a short night’s work for the part-time firefighter.
Miocic found a lot of success in the fourth round targeting the body of DC when they last met, and this ultimately turned out to be the difference between the two on the night. So, it will be interesting to see if this is an approach Stipe looks to implement early on this time around.
Although not a skill the heavyweight champ generally relies on, Stipe is also an accomplished grappler. The NCAA Division 1 college wrestler demonstrated this in a very impressive decision victory over Francis Ngannou back in 2018.
DC has a huge reach disadvantage of seven and a half inches, and he will constantly look to negate this by closing the distance. He holds his hands out, fingers extended, and tries to catch or distract his opponent before firing off a jab or a quick combo down the middle.
Despite his rather rotund physique, DC is deceptively quick. The former two-weight champion will keep this pressure and look to outland Stipe as he did in their last meeting while always moving to avoid being caught.
Cormier is also known for his ‘dirty boxing’. He likes to clinch up and fight on the inside where reach doesn’t matter. It was a nasty hook as the clinch broke which finished Miocic in their first meeting.
Although Cormier had a lot of success in the striking department in both previous meetings, DC’s primary skillset is wrestling, and the former champ has made it clear that he will look to implement more wrestling this time around to regain the title.
The American Kickboxing Academy fighter has even claimed that the smaller octagon size (this event will be in the Apex in Las Vegas which is a 25-foot octagon as opposed the standard 30-foot diameter octagon) will suit his game plan and force more grappling exchanges between the pair.
This is a very tight fight and I would not be surprised if Miocic can get another stoppage. However, I think DC has too many weapons at his disposal. He will look to push the pace and not allow Stipe to get comfortable, while mixing in his wily clinch work and grappling. I’m taking Cormier to have his hand raised on Saturday night.