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Cormier vs. Miocic, the trilogy fight: UFC 252

Was all the hype for the trilogy fight between Miocic and Cormier worth it? Results and commentary on Cormier’s final showing with the UFC!

UFC 252 took place Saturday, August 15, 2020, in Las Vegas at the APEX. Lauded as the Trilogy fight of the decade between heavyweights Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier headlined. Rising star Sean O’Malley faced off against Marlon Vera with an unexpected twist. Let’s review!

John Dodson (22-12-0) VS Merab Dvalishvili (12-4-0)

Dvalishvili controlled the entire fight and set a solid pace. He ensured he didn’t get injured, but didn’t do much damage to Dodson. He attempted multiple takedowns on Dodson, but Dodson sprung back up like a jack-in-the-box each time. I’m not sure if Dvalishvili was playing it safe and working on scoring points or was never able to get Dodson exactly where he wanted to execute a bigger plan. Dodson seemed to have the cardio but couldn’t pull the trigger on anything. He danced in the ring a lot, looked to be hunting for shots, but disappointingly looked nervous and hesitant each round—a solid decision win for Dvalishvili.

Herbert Burns (11-3-0) VS Daniel Pineda (27-13-0-2 NC)

Pineda came out of the gate and made a defining statement! He man-handled Burns and controlled the fight both standing and on the ground. Burns looked jolty and slow. Burns did take this fight on short notice and disappointingly couldn’t execute a ground game that he has built a reputation around. Pineda dominated position on the ground and almost synched a crucifix submission, but instead rained elbow after elbow down on Burns until the referee showed mercy and called the fight. TKO win for Pineda and outstanding demonstration that he deserves to be in the UFC. 

Junior Dos Santos (21-8-0) VS Jairzinho Rozenstruik (11-1-0)

During the first round, both fighters played it safe, feeling each other out. A slow round, Dos Santos never seemed to find a grove while Rozenstruik focused on his kicks. In the second round though Rozenstruik finally unleashed and went for it. He landed a heavy combination to Dos Santos and, when it went to the mat, he lunged to seal the deal. The ref stopped the fight by TKO. Rozenstruick seems happy and confident. He also mentioned he is willing to fight whoever the UFC picks for his next match. 

Sean O’Malley (12-1-0) VS Marlon Vera (16-6-1)

Disappointment of the night! Both fighters were feeling each other out and, Vera seemed to be falling for a lot of O’Malley’s faints but was doing well with some leg kicks. Fate, though, had a plan of its own. O’Malley hurt himself late in the first round, similar to his fight against Andre Soukhamthath at UFC 222. Unlike that fight, this happened early in the match and provided Vera an opportunity. Vera capitalized on O’Malley’s injury and took the fight to the ground, where he landed some heavy elbows jarring O’Malley enough for the ref to end the battle, handing O’Malley his first loss in the UFC.

Does this loss at UFC 252 cause worry for Dana White on the frailty of O’Malley? I think it will, but only time will tell. Hopefully, this is something his doctors and rehabilitation can handle. The goal will be to get him healthy and back into the ring as quickly as possible to not stall this young man’s prospects with the UFC.  

Stipe Miocic (20-3-0) VS Daniel Cormier (22-3-0-1NC)

This one was rough. I was frustrated. I saw flashes of a Cormier that I used to know, but he looked outclassed in all aspects. Both physically and in skill, Miocic dominated the fight. Early on, there was an eye poke from Cormier into Miocic that the ref saw, and Cormier apologized. Later on, Miocic returned the favor with a deep gouge on Cromier that tore his cornea but the ref missed it, ignoring Cormier’s complaint. After that, Cormier struggled to survive. His eye swelled shut by the second, and speaking with his corner admitted he couldn’t see out of it.  Cormier managed a few jarring blows throughout the remaining rounds. Miocic, when clinched up, just controlled Cormier and easily held him against the cage. You could visibly see the frustration on Cormier’s face during this as he had no game plan to counter it. The fight ended in a decision with Miocic retaining the belt. Cormier looked disheartened and frustrated. Not the best match for any fighter putting an end to their career. Miocic, though, has proved himself as a heavyweight hero. His record shows he has gone through some of the best fighters there has ever been and redeemed himself from any losses his career has experienced. Miocic must stand ready to defend that reputation against the challenges coming his way.

Overall I would say UFC 252 was a success but weighed down with some disappointments and lack of flashy highlights for the casual fans. COVID-19 is still influencing the fight cards Dana White can generate. It will be interesting to see how much longer the UFC can keep people interested if cards continue to fall short of expectations. 

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