Revenge of Miocic

In Anaheim, an evening of mixed martial arts was held as part of the UFC 241 tournament. The central event of the day was the duel between Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic for the heavyweight champion title. An American of Croatian descent held the belt for two years and defended it three times, but last July Cormier took the title, sending the opponent to the knockout in the first round. A year later, a rematch took place.

During this time, Cormier managed to hold one defense, becoming the first and only wrestler who held champion belts in two different weight categories. Having defeated Derrick Lewis in November last year, the 40-year-old athlete extended his unbeaten run to seven bouts. Miocic did not appear in the octagon anymore.

At first, the duel between the two main UFC heavyweights was the same as the previous one. Cormier non-stop dominated for three rounds. The statistics on blows in the first five-minute period (53-7 in favor of the champion) and the terrifying capture that Miocic got into are more eloquent than any words. A 105-pound wrestler for several seconds hung helplessly on the opponent's back while he entertained the audience.

6'5 "230lbs and Cormier picks him up like nothing! # / uOqV0ids1Z

- UFC (@ufc) August 18, 2019

In the second and third rounds of such demonstrative mockery of Miocic was no longer there, but he still hopelessly lost the match. His face was gradually covered with hematomas, while Cormier “fluttered” over the octagon without the slightest sign of fatigue.

But everything changed in the fourth round. Miocic, not accustomed to the low growth of his rival, focused on strikes in the corps and several times hit Cormier in the liver. The reigning champion panicked and began to frantically change his defense plan, opening his head. Miocic took advantage of this to bring down a hail of blows, from which Cormier fell to the floor. The judge stopped the fight. The winner danced right in the ring - the return of the championship belt was incredible.

The defeat of Cormier, the first in heavyweight, should have greatly frightened his fans - at his age, such failures usually lead to the end of a career. But in his first comment, the wrestler said that a decision on this issue has not yet been made. Lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, with whom the American is friends and trains together, tried to cheer Cormier after the fight.

“The winner has many friends, and only the loser has real friends. Above your head, champion, you have already proved that you are one of the best among those who ever went into the octagon, ”the Russian wrote on Instagram.

The Return of Diaz

The knockout of Cormier was preceded by an equally intriguing match involving Nate Diaz. He has been waiting for his return to the octagon for three years, since he first defeated Conor McGregor in the UFC, and then lost in the return match. Diaz had planned to appear before the public before, but his duel with Dustin Porier, which was supposed to take place in the fall, fell through due to an injury to the opponent.

The career of the ex-champion gradually began to roll down - in the welterweight and light categories in which he had previously performed, other stars, led by Khabib Nurmagomedov, have long shone. Diaz also wants to meet with the latter, provoking him into conflicts. But in order to earn the title fight with the Dagestan fighter, the American needed to demonstrate his strength on someone else.

At UFC 241, Diaz met Anthony Pettis, a bright and strong, but extremely unstable athlete. Of the last ten fights, he won only four, but even lost so that he created a show for the audience. For all this, Pettis was considered the favorite of the battle - his physical capabilities were at least clear to everyone, and anything could be expected from Diaz.

He managed to surprise the fans. Diaz remembered wrestling skills and left the first round behind him while Pettis unsuccessfully searched for options in the rack. After the break, Pettis clung to the net and could not escape from the blows of the opponent. The match could well end ahead of schedule, but still the third round lasted all five minutes. Diaz won by unanimous decision and challenged Jorge Masvydalya, who recently made the fastest knockout in UFC history. The wrestler still does not dare to call for a duel Nurmagomedov, for the sake of which he will have to lose weight.

Octagon Carnival

The most spectacular duel of the evening was the battle of Paulo Costa and Yoel Romero - the future and now likely past of the middle weight category. Wrestlers from Brazil and Cuba should have met for a long time, but for various reasons, fights were postponed every time. Only in Anaheim did their paths cross.

Costa, who had not yet suffered a single defeat, quickly began the fight, but Romero resisted - at 42, he showed excellent form and excellent work in the rack, especially for an athlete who has been engaged in freestyle wrestling all his life. Each round in their confrontation was filled with a vivid spectacle, and no one intended to concede. Sometimes rivals worked for the public - they held their hands behind their backs and smiled at each other. The duel by themselves was clearly a joy.

The judges had to determine the winner, and they preferred Costa, awarding him the 13th victory in his career. Romero lost the third time in the last four bouts. Their fight was later recognized as the best of the evening.