- Date & Location: Saturday Aug. 15 @ UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada
- Odds: Stipe Miocic: -105, Daniel Cormier: -115
- Prediction: Cormier by knockout
The trilogy fight between UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic and ex-heavyweight kingpin Daniel Cormier headlines the UFC 252 pay-per-view card.
The pair split their first two bouts. In July 2018, Cormier scored a first-round knockout over Miocic to capture the title and become a two-division UFC champion. In the August 2019 rematch, Miocic evened things up and regained the belt with a fourth-round TKO victory.
MIOCIC vs. CORMIER III ODDS
MIOCIC vs. CORMIER III PREDICTION & PICK
The first time these two met, Cormier wrapped things up rather quickly. His jab was effective, his leg kicks were hard and fast and his clinch work was excellent.
In their second meeting, Cormier had a higher landing percentage with his significant strikes and fought a more wide-open contest, which opened him up to get tagged more by the boxing of Miocic. Cormier also seemed to run out of gas as the fight wore on. Another error Cormier seemed to make was that he appeared to be overconfident as he fought with his hands down. The end of the fight came when Cormier left himself open for body shots in the fourth round. The change in style showed a high fight IQ from Miocic.
I believe Cormier’s loss in the rematch came because of correctable mistakes. The former champ has a good coaching team around him and I think they will shore up Cormier’s game and allow him to get back to the top of the heavyweight division.
BETTING VALUE WITH CORMIER
Cormier has 10 knockout wins among his 22 career victories. One of those was his “Performance of the Night” bonus winning stoppage of Miocic. He has gone the distance seven times in his career. Cormier’s last four victories have come via stoppage with the former champion scoring two knockouts and two submissions. Of the three losses Miocic has suffered, two have come by knockout.
I don’t believe Cormier will submit Miocic, but I could see the fight going the distance if Cormier uses his wrestling skills. He took Miocic to the mat in the second fight and did a good job of keeping him there, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Cormier will go with a safer route in this bout, especially since Cormier plans on retiring after this event.
WHO HAS THE EDGE?
Fight camps have been held under less than ideal circumstances for this bout because of the COVID-19 pandemic and that is an area of concern. Another potential worry is that fight will take place inside the small octagon the UFC has been using at the UFC Apex.
I think Cormier has the edge in training as he has a stronger team to work with near his home base in California. I also think the small cage favors Cormier as it gives him more options to fight to his strengths, which are wrestling and clinch work.
Cormier has the clear edge in this matchup.
FIGHT STATS: MIOCIC vs. CORMIER III
|Stipe Miocic||Category||Daniel Cormier|
|4.95||Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute||4.25|
|3.69||Significant Strikes Absorbed Per Minute||2.75|
|2.20||Takedown Average Per 15 Minutes||1.95|
|0.0||Submission Average Per 15 Minutes||0.5|
WHAT’S AT STAKE
It’s easy to answer this for Cormier. He has said he will retire after this contest, no matter the outcome. Cormier ended his wrestling career in disappointment when he was unable to compete at the 2008 Olympics because of kidney failure. There’s no doubt that Cormier would like to finish his MMA career as a UFC champion.
Miocic is already the most successful UFC heavyweight champion. No other heavyweight titleholder has defended the heavyweight title three times, which Miocic did during his first run as champion. If he can defend the title against Cormier, it will only add to his legacy as the best heavyweight champion in UFC history.