LAS VEGAS – The UFC officially capped off their second PPV event from the UFC Apex in a great card headlined by a historic trilogy between a retiring Daniel Cormier and the most successful heavyweight champion in history, Stipe Miocic.
Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier
In the main event, we saw an instant classic with many tales told. In the first round, Stipe seemed to be getting the better of the exchanges with DC until the end of the round when DC rocked and wobbled the current champion, potentially winning him the round.
In the second round, the round was very close until the last 15 seconds when Stipe hurt DC bad. DC grabbed Stipe out of desperation to stop the TKO from coming to fruition but got up extremely dazed and giving nothing but one-word answers and commands to his corner. He was in a lot of trouble heading into the third.
In the third round, DC started slow and dazed but was able to gather himself back and stay in the fight. An unintentional eye poke at the beginning of the third round gave him some time to rest and recover as well. Stipe got the better of the exchanges and took another round. At the end of the third round, a giant eye poke, unseen by Referee Mark Goddard, happened from Stipe to DC. Mark Goddard denied stopping the fight as he said it was a punch, but as the replays showed, the eye poke was very deep and really damaging to the former champion’s left eye.
Despite the eye poke, DC was able to take it back to Stipe and make the fourth round an incredibly close one, that many had DC winning; making the fight 2-2, for many, going into the 5th round.
In the 5th round, both fighters left their all in the octagon. Stipe was able to hold DC against the fence in many crucial moments in an otherwise even round, giving him the nod on most scorecards. No matter what your or anyone’s scorecard read, Daniel Cormier vs. Stipe Miocic 3 will always be a fight to remember and a tough pill for people to swallow seeing DC retire at such a low moment.
The fighters clearly knew each other extremely well, making the fight as competitive as it was. DC kept hitting Stipe with the overhand right while exiting a clinching exchange in the same fashion he finished Stipe in the first fight. Stipe kept landing the left hook to the body followed by a flurry up top in the same fashion he finished DC in the second fight.
This was the closest of one of the greatest trilogies of all time. Congratulations to Stipe Miocic on becoming the undisputed greatest Heavyweight fighter in the world, and congratulations to DC on an unbelievably elite and successful career; you will be missed!
What’s Next for the Fighters
For Stipe, The rematch with Francis Ngannou is the deserving fight. Jones might get the next shot but as Dana White said in the post-fight press conference, Ngannou is next. I personally have a slight suspicion that Stipe is going to take some time off after this trilogy, that has engulfed the past 3 years of his career, and maybe allow an interim title fight between Jones and Ngannou to happen. If not, Ngannou will get the fight if they don’t agree on terms, Jones will be next. I would be concerned to see Ngannou’s reaction if Jones gets the fight over him, but that’s the world of Sports promotion that we live in.
For DC, it’s podcasting, commentating, broadcasting, detailing, rating adjusting, coaching, parenting, and all the other things that the star from Lafayette Louisiana is doing these days. He said in the post-fight interview with Joe Rogan,
“I’m not interested in anything but titles and I don’t imagine there’s gonna be a title in the future. so that’ll be it for me.”
Sean O’Malley vs. Marlon Vera
In the co-main event, rising star “Suga” Sean O’Malley took on another very hot prospect in Marlon “Chito” Vera. The fight began with Sean O’Malley landing heavy leg kicks and good shots on Vera. Towards the middle of the round, it appeared that O’Malley had something wrong with his right leg. At one point he rolled his ankle just walking forward towards Vera. Soon Vera realized “Suga” was impaired and stormed forward knocking down O’Malley and getting a very early TKO stoppage due to O’Malley’s clear injury. I don’t know if much was proven in that fight with Vera, but it was a win for him nonetheless.
What’s Next for the Fighters?
For Vera, I would love to see him fight Dvalishvili next. They are both on the same timeline, close in the rankings, and coming off of big wins.
For O’Malley, I am interested to see what injury he has. I’m not sure of the severity of it, so I couldn’t for sure say what’s next for him. What I do think is that if he recovers in a relatively quick amount of time, then a fight with a top 15 ranked fighter coming off of a win is best. Although he is coming off of a loss himself, due to the circumstances, it is best to allow his rise to continue. This loss to Vera won’t halt the full star power of the “Suga Show”
Stipe Miocic def. Daniel Cormier via unanimous decision (48-47, 49-46, 49-46)
Marlon Vera def. Sean O’Malley via First Round TKO (4:40)
Jairzinho Rozenstruik def. Junior Dos Santos via Second Round TKO (3:47)
Daniel Pineda def. Herbert Burns via Second Round TKO (4:37)
Merab Dvalishvili def. John Dodson via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Vinc Pinchel def. Jim Miller by unanimous decision (29-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Virna Jandiroba def. Felice Herrig via First Round Armbar Submission (1:44)
Danny Chavez def. T.J. Brown by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Livia Renata Souza def. Ashley Yoder by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Early Preliminary Card
Chris Daukaus def. Parker Porter via first-round TKO (4:28)
Kai Kamaka def. Tony Kelley via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)