It has been said that the winner of the rubber match between Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier at UFC 252 would be recognized as the greatest heavyweight in UFC history.
Miocic (20-3) cemented his place atop the conversation by defeating Cormier by unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 48-47) to retain the title at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
DAZN scored the fight 49-46 for Miocic.
The first round was a pretty close one that had Miocic and Cormier having their moments on the feet. But in the closing minute, Cormier blasted Miocic with an overhand right hand and immediately followed by a body kick. He brought the momentum into the second by being quicker to the draw and landing the heavier blows that seemed to be wearing Miocic down. But the complexion of the fight changed with about 25 seconds left in the round, when Miocic dropped Cormier with consecutive right hooks. Miocic tried to close the show but time ran out. From there it was all Miocic.
The 37-year-old was lighter on the feet and landed more significant strikes, including a 43 to 17 advantage in the third round. The champion also disrupted Cormier's rhythm by him against the cage and control the fight from the clinch. It all proved to be too much for Cormier to overcome, and Miocic would prove to be the better man by winning the final two fights of the trilogy.
For Cormier (22-3, one No Contest), it was not the fairy tale ending he was looking for. Heading into UFC 252, Cormier said this would be his last fight. While he left a small crack open, the 41-year-old feels this will be it.
"I'm not interested in fighting for anything but titles, and I don't imagine there's going to be a title in the future," Cormier said in his post-fight interview. "So that will be it for me. I've had a long run. It's been great. I just fought my last fight for a heavyweight championship and it was a pretty good fight."
Here is what happened at UFC 252.
UFC 252: Miocic vs. Cormier 3 results
(All times Eastern)
Stipe Miocic powers by Daniel Cormier to retain the UFC heavyweight title
1:00 a.m.: Miocic def. Cormier by unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 48-47) to retain the UFC heavyweight title. Some bad sportsmanship by Cormier after the scorecards were read. He walked out in disgust as he thought he won. Not the way you want to see a great champion and fighter go out. Fortunately, he stuck around for the interview after.
Round 5: A smart final round by Miocic. He went with what worked in the last three rounds: Landing the heavier shots and continuously working the clinch to wear Cormier out. The fight should go to Miocic. We go to the judges. (10-9 Miocic, 49-46 Miocic)
Round 4: A great job by Miocic. Any time Cormier got going, Miocic would use his power and bully Cormier to the cage. Cormier needs a stoppage to win. (10-9 Miocic, 39-37 Miocic)
Round 3: All Miocic. He controlled Cormier in the clinch and used his heavy right hands to keep him at bay. At the end of the round, Miocic eye poked Cormier. Marc Goddard told Cormier he didn't see it. Why Cormier isn't going for a takedown is beyond me. (10-9 Miocic, 29-28 Miocic)
Round 2: Cormier was on his way to winning the round with excellent striking until Miocic connected on a double right hand to stun Cormier and sent him to the canvas. With 10 seconds left, Miocic got on top and landed a series of shots. When Cormier got up, he was shaky and had a bit of a stumble going to his corner. Cormier is in severe trouble. (10-9 Miocic, 19-19)
Round 1: A close opening stanza that was leaning toward Miocic until Cormier landed a hard overhand right which rocked Miocic and sent him back to the cage. Cormier proceeded to hand a hard body kick with a few seconds remaining to steal the round. Cormier needs to watch out for the eye pokes as he got warned for one by referee Marc Goddard halfway through the round. (Cormier 10-9)
12:17 a.m.: It is now time for the main event of UFC 252 as Stipe Miocic defends the heavyweight title against No. 1-ranked Daniel Cormier.
Cormier (22-2, one No Contest) won the gold by first-round knockout at UFC 226 in July 2018. One year later at UFC 241, Miocic (19-3) reclaimed the belt with a fourth-round stoppage.
Now we are here. Cormier says win, lose or draw and that's it. Miocic wants to send him out with a loss and be known as the greatest heavyweight in not just UFC but MMA history.
Marlon Vera upsets Sean O'Malley
12:02 a.m.: Vera def. O'Malley by TKO at 4:40 of the first round. The tide of the fight changed when O'Malley went for a feint and severely hurt his right ankle. O'Malley never was the same and Vera took advantage by attacking the right leg with leg kicks. He sent O'Malley to the canvas and landed a hard left hand followed by a sharp left elbow. That was all referee Herb Dean needed to see and stopped the fight.
Dean made the right call in stopping it. O'Malley, who went off on a stretcher, was injured and in no shape to continue. Give Vera credit because he did win but would like to see a rematch when O'Malley is healthy, as he was winning the opening round until the injury occurred.
Vera has now won six of his last seven fights.
11:47 p.m.: It's time for the co-main event of UFC 252 as No. 14-ranked Sean O'Malley faces off with Marlon Vera in bantamweight action. O'Malley (12-0) comes off a knockout win over former title challenger Eddie Wineland at UFC 250. Vera (15-6-1) has won five of his last six. O'Malley is a rising star in the sport with a rocket ship attached to his back.
This is O'Malley's toughest test to date. Can Vera derail the hype train or does "The Suga Show" continue?
Jarzinho Rozenstruik blasts through Junior Dos Santos
11:35 p.m.: Rozenstruik def. Dos Santos by TKO at 3:47 of the second round. After a kickboxing session in the opening round, Rozenstruik made sure things didn't go to the third round. Dos Santos clipped Rozeenstruik with a left hook but Rozenstruik blasted the former heavyweight champion with a check left uppercut followed by two right hands to send him to the canvas. A couple of hard shots sent Dos Santos packing and got Rozenstruik back on track as he reinserted himself as a force in the division.
A hard loss for Dos Santos as he's now lost three consecutive bouts. He's 36 years old with nothing left to prove. It's time to consider hanging up the gloves.
11:30 p.m.: Hopefully not too many people bet on this fight ending in the first round because we are shockingly heading into Round 2.
11:22 p.m.: Coming up next at UFC 252, No. 5-ranked Junior Dos Santos squares off against No. 6-ranked Jairzinho Rozenstruik in heavyweight action. Dos Santos (21-7), a former heavyweight champion, is in desperate need of a win, losing by stoppage. Rozenstruik (10-1) suffered the first defeat of his career in his last time out, losing to Francis Ngannou in 20 seconds at UFC 249.
Can Dos Santos got back on track, and how does Rozenstruik rebound from his first-ever loss? Like the previous bout, don't blink as it isn't going to last long.
Daniel Pineda stops Herbert Burns to continue dominant run
11:11 p.m.: Pineda def. Burns by TKO at 4:37 of the second round. Pineda controlled the action from the opening bell. He showed great striking with improved groundwork, and it showed in the second round when he got Burns back down to the mat. He got into side control and secured a crucifix position and just poured down the brutal ground and pound shots to get the stoppage win.
Such a fantastic story. Pineda was out of the UFC for over six years. He got the call from UFC officials two weeks ago and had to cut 27 pounds at that time. That's what dreams are made of. Pineda fought through a ton of adversity to get back into the UFC and the hard work paid off at UFC 252.
11:00 p.m.: Pineda taught Burns a lesson for missing weight in the first round. He dominated for the majority of the round on the mat. Let's see if Burns can overcome some adversity.
10:55 p.m.: Up next at UFC 252, Herbert Burns faces Daniel Pineda in featherweight action. Burns (11-2) missed weight by an absurd 3.5 pounds. When he makes weight, he's a force to be reckoned with as he has nine wins by stoppage with eight of those coming by submission. Pineda (26-13, two No Contests) comes in 4-0 (2 No Contests) in his last six outings. In an amazing stat, Pineda has won every fight by stoppage (8 KOs, 18 submissions).
I wouldn't get up from my couch as you would be likely to miss a finish.
Merab Dvalishvili overpowers John Dodson to extend win streak to five
10:37 p.m.: Dvalishvili def. Dodson via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27). A dominant performance from Dvalishvili. He controlled Dodson at his own game and outstruck him. And when he wanted too, Dvalishvili took Dodson down to the mat to secure his fifth consecutive win. The bantamweight division is starting to become a premier weight class, and Dvalishvili is starting to enter the conversation as an elite guy at 135 pounds.
For Dodson, he needs to seriously consider dropping back to flyweight. Dvalishvill looked to be at least 20 pounds heavier than Dodson and had a significant height advantage. The speed and power that Dodson possesses is better suited for 125 pounds.
10:11 p.m.: Kicking off the main card of UFC 252 has No. 12-ranked John Dodson taking on Merab Dvalishvili in bantamweight action. Dodson (22-11), a former winner of The Ultimate Fighter and former flyweight title challenger, has lost two of his last three but snapped a two-fight losing streak in stopping Nathaniel Wood via third-round TKO. Dvalishvili (11-4) comes in on a four-fight winning streak and is one of only two fighters in UFC history to score more than 10 takedowns in a fight.
Can Dodson stuff enough takedowns and secure his 12th career knockout, or does Dvalishvili run his win streak to five?
Vinc Pichel scores biggest win of his career over Jim Miller
9:59 p.m.: Pichel def. Miller by unanimous decision (29-27, 29-28, 29-28). With the fight hanging in the balance heading into the third round, Pichel came out and took Miller right back down to the mat. After Miller regained a bit of control, Pichel took charge to the final bell by dominating in the clinch and landing sharp knees and kicks that were enough to secure his highest-profile win. Intrigued to see how Pichel progresses going forward. A win over a guy who has the record for most UFC fights should give Pichel a huge boost of confidence.
9:33 p.m.: The featured prelim at UFC 252 has Jim Miller taking on Vinc Pichel in lightweight action. Miller (32-14) will be competing for a record 36th time inside the Octagon and fighting for the fifth time in 17 months. Pichel (12-2) is 5-2 in the UFC, and is looking to breakthrough in what is his biggest contest to date.
Vima Jandiroba runs through Felice Herrig with a first-round submission
9:20 p.m.: Jandiroba def. Herrig by submission (armbar) at 1:44 of the first round. Jandiroba faked a right hand and then scored a takedown. Jandiroba ended up in top position and then smoothly transitioned to an armbar. Herrig tried her hardest to fight the submission off but Janiroba locked it in. With no escape in sight, Herrig tapped out. The submission was the fourth quickest in women's strawweight history.
Jandiroba is for real and nothing to be messing with. A dominant performance and watch out for the Brazilian as she's someone to watch out for in the 115-pound division. Her grappling is top notch and is right up there among the best in MMA.
9:11 p.m.: Right now at UFC 252, No. 15-ranked Felice Herrig faces Virna Jandiroba in women's strawweight action. Herrig (14-8) returns after a 22-month layoff due to a serious knee injury. Jandiroba (15-1) is a former Invicta FC strawweight champion. She lost her UFC debut to former champion Carla Esparza but rebounded with a second-round submission win over Mallory Martin in December.
How does Herrig perform after being gone for nearly two years?
9:00 p.m.: Tonight is when the world learns who is quite arguably the greatest heavyweight of all time as Stipe Miocic meets Daniel Cormier for the third time in the main event of UFC 252. Grab the refreshments, go to the bathroom and enjoy our coverage in what should be a monumental night.
UFC 252 undercard results
- Danny Chavez def. TJ Brown by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Livinha Souza def. Ashley Yoder via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
- Chris Daukaus def. Parker Porter by TKO at 4:28 of the first round
- Kai Kamaka def. Tony Kelley via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)