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|Junior dos Santos
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Stipe Miocic -106
Sean O’Malley -305
Junior dos Santos +115
Merab Dvalishvili -240
This Saturday night the greatest heavyweight in UFC history will be crowned. After defending his title three times, more times than any other heavyweight, Stipe Miocic lost to and then regained his UFC championship from Daniel Cormier. The two are 1-1 against each other and this rubber match between the two has been highly touted as the biggest heavyweight fight in the history of the sport.
In the co-main event, “Sugar” Sean O’Malley takes a step up in competition as he is set to take on Marlon “Chito” Vera. O’Malley is coming off of a first-round knockout win while Vera is coming off of a Fight of the Night loss that snapped a five-fight winning streak.
Two heavy hitters in Junior dos Santos and Jairzinho Rozenstruick will also throw leather on the main card.
The main card bout between Ion Cutelaba and Magomed Ankalaev has, unfortunately, been pulled from the card. The two fought back in February but the bout was ended in controversy as Ankalaev was awarded the TKO victory despite Cutelaba still being on his feet and appearing completely coherent. It was announced earlier this week that Cutelaba tested positive for COVID-19 and the bout has tentatively been rescheduled for the UFC Fight Night event taking place on August 29.
|Miocic vs Cormier 3 Information
|UFC 252: Miocic vs Cormier 3
|UFC Apex, Las Vegas, NV
|Saturday, August 15, 10 PM EST
|How to watch
|Pay-per-view, UFC Fight Pass, Watch on ESPN+ here!
Stipe Miocic is, quite possibly, already the greatest heavyweight in the history of the UFC. For starters, he’s only in the organization part-time, working his steady job as a firefighter and first-responder in his home state of Ohio. Secondly, he has more heavyweight title defenses than any other fighter in the history of the division. He was also the first man to beat Francis Ngannou and only the second man to defeat Daniel Cormier. That’s one hell of a resume.
After a loss to Junior dos Santos in 2014, Miocic went on to win six straight fights that included a win over Mark Hunt, a title win over Fabricio Werdum, and a win over dos Santos – avenging his prior loss. That winning streak was snapped when he was put up against the light heavyweight champion at the time – Daniel Cormier – in 2018, when Cormier stunned fans and pundits by knocking Miocic out in the very first round and becoming only the second “double champ” in UFC history at that time.
Miocic went on sabbatical for a little over a year, demanding a rematch and stating his arguments as to why he deserved one. And he did. And he would receive it. Last August, at UFC 241, Stipe Miocic would overcome the early adversity in a rematch with Cormier only to TKO the double champ in the fourth round. He was a champion once again. But now it was Cormier clamoring for the immediate rematch. And now here we are.
The Ohio native stands at 6 ft. 4 in. tall and has a reach of 80 inches. Miocic is one of the lighter heavyweights, usually weighing in around 230-pounds. He trains under coaches Marcus Marinelli, Joe Delguyd, and Alex Cooper at Strong Style Fight Team in Ohio. He has been fighting professionally since 2010 and also boasts NCAA Division I wrestling credentials. He has the most post-fight bonuses in UFC heavyweight history and is currently ranked as the third-best pound-for-pound fighter in the promotion.
No one was shocked when Daniel Cormier moved up to the heavyweight division. In fact, as a former Strikeforce heavyweight champion, many were shocked that, when entering the UFC, he would make the move to light heavyweight after just two fights (both wins) with the promotion. But after eight fights – six of them title bouts (including a no-contest with Jon Jones) – Cormier decided to test the waters at heavyweight. Stipe Miocic had run through most of the heavyweights so why not test his mettle against the best. Cormier’s reputation mixed with good-timing earned him an immediate heavyweight title shot. And he took full advantage of it.
As mentioned earlier, Cormier won the title from Miocic with a first-round KO. He would go on to defend the belt once against Derrick Lewis at UFC 230. Despite nagging back injuries, Cormier defeated Lewis with a rear-naked choke in the second round. It would be a little under one year before the Miocic rematch would happen.
Cormier saw much success in the second fight with Miocic, landing a lot of shots, visibly damaging his opponent. But a stiff hook to the body to Cormier changed everything and that hook led to a Stipe Miocic TKO victory. For the first time in years, Daniel Cormier did not hold any UFC gold. But he plans to get some back this Saturday night.
The physical disadvantages are noticeable, as Cormier stands five inches shorter than Miocic and also has a reach of 7.5-inches shorter. At 41-years-old, he is also four years older than his opponent and he weighed in at the last fight at 251-pounds. However, his credentials are otherworldly. He trains out of San Jose with the American Kickboxing Academy, was an Olympic freestyle wrestler, an NCAA Division I wrestler, and holds a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Leandro Vieira. He is a former Strikeforce, King of the Cage, and UFC heavyweight champion as well as a former two-time UFC light heavyweight champion. He is the number-one ranked heavyweight in the UFC and the sixth-best fighter on the pound-for-pound rankings.
“Sugar” Sean O’Malley seems destined for stardom in the UFC. He talks the talk and he backs it up by walking the walk – and he hasn’t even cracked the top-ten in the division. An alum of the Dana White Contender Series, O’Malley debuted for the UFC proper in December of 2017 where he won a unanimous decision over Terrion Ware. He followed that with a Fight of the Night performance against Andre Soukhamthath despite injuring his foot and not being able to put weight on it. He received another post-fight bonus following that when he defeated Jose Alberto Quinonex by TKO via a head kick at UFC 248. Two short months later, O’Malley would face a tough test in Eddie Wineland at UFC 250. O’Malley would KO Wineland in under two minutes, earning him another performance of the night bonus. This fight against Marlon Vera will be his third fight in five months.
Tall and lanky for the bantamweight division, O’Malley stands at 5 ft. 11 in. and has a reach of 72 inches. At just 25-years-old, O’Malley started fighting professionally in 2013. He fights out of Arizona where he trains with the MMA Lab. He holds a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Still undefeated as a professional, Sean O’Malley ranks as the 14th-best bantamweight in the UFC.
Marlon Vera has been riding a lot of success of his own since joining the UFC. He went undefeated in 2018 and 2019, winning five straight fights against the likes of Frankie Saenz and Andre Ewell – the latter of which Vera beat via TKO earning him a performance of the night bonus. His most recent fight would be declared the fight of the night however Vera’s winning streak would be snapped as he lost a close decision to Song Yadong this past May.
Standing at 5 ft. 8 in. tall, Vera will be at a three-inch height disadvantage and will also be at a 1.5-inch reach disadvantage. Just two years older than his opponent, the Ecuadorian fighter holds a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Fighting out of California, Vera has been working with Team Oyama since 2016. He is currently unranked in the UFC bantamweight division as his last fight was held at featherweight.
The former UFC heavyweight champion had a rough time after dropping the belt to Cain Velasquez in 2012. He went just 3-4 from then until 2017. The dos Santos of old seemed to reemerge in 2018, however, as he defeated Blagoy Ivanov, Tai Tuivasa, and Derrick Lewis all in succession. Those three straight wins granted him a crack at top heavyweight Francis Ngannou, who would end up knocking dos Santos out in the first round. “Cigano” would follow that loss with another is his latest fight against Curtis Blaydes, who defeated the former champion via second-round TKO at the start of this year.
Standing at 6 ft. 4 in. tall, Junior dos Santos has a reach of 77 inches and knows how to utilize it. Known for his technical boxing skills throughout his career, dos Santos has been fighting professionally since 2006. The Brazilian-born fighter trains with American Top Team under coaches Luiz Dorea and Yuri Carlton. He holds a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Carlton. He heads into this matchup as the number-five ranked heavyweight in the UFC.
Another power puncher, Jairzinho Rozenstruik joined the UFC in early 2019 and immediately made an impact, knocking out Junior Albini with a head kick in the second round. He followed that with three more wins against Allen Crowder, Andre Arlovski, and Alistair Overeem. Unfortunately, following the Overeem fight, Rozenstruik called for his next opponent to be Francis Ngannou – and his wish was granted. This past May, at UFC 249, Francis Ngannou would knock Rozenstruik out in 20 seconds. It was his first professional loss.
Standing at 6 ft. 2 in., Rozenstruik will be two-inches shorter than his opponent. However, he will have a one-inch reach advantage over dos Santos. Born in Suriname, Rozenstruik trains with both American Top Team and Team Big Boi with trainer Michael Babb. Now 32-years-old, Rozenstruik made the transition to MMA after a professional kickboxing career in which he attained a record of 76-8-1. He is currently ranked as the sixth-best heavyweight in the division.
John Dodson entered the UFC by knocking out T.J Dillashaw in the finale of the Ultimate Fighter 14 season in 2011. Not a bad start. He has gone on to have mixed success over his nine-years in the promotion. After going 3-3 from 2015-2018, Dodson went on to drop two fights in a row – one to Jimmie Rivera and one to the man who is now the division’s champion: Petr Yan. Dodson last fought this past February, where he snapped the two-fight skid by defeating Nathaniel Woods via third-round TKO.
John Dodson stands at just 5 ft. 3 in. tall and has a reach of 66 inches. Despite his smaller stature, he is a southpaw with dynamite in his hands. Fighting since 2002, Dodson trains with Jackson’s MMA and holds a black belt in taijutsu. At the time of writing, he is ranked as the 12th-best bantamweight in the division.
Merab Dvalishvili isn’t just coming off of a win, he’s coming off of four straight wins. After losing his first two fights in the UFC, Dvalishvili has gone on to win four in a row against the likes of Brad Katona and Casey Kenney. His most recent fight came against Gustavo Lopez this past June. Dvalishvili was awarded the win by unanimous decision.
Dvalishvili will enter the cage three inches taller than his opponent and will also hold a two-inch reach advantage. The Georgia-born fighter has been fighting since 2014 and currently trains in Long Island with the Serra-Longo Fight Team. Known for his sambo and grappling skills, Dvalishvili also holds a black belt in judo. He currently rounds out the top-15 in the bantamweight division.
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