UFC 252: Miocic vs. Cormier 3 (TV: ESPN/ESPN+ PPV)
Saturday, August 15th, Early Prelims 7:00 PM ET (ESPN/ESPN+), Prelims 8:00 PM ET (ESPN/ESPN+) Main Card 10:00 PM ET (ESPN+ PPV), UFC APEX, Las Vegas, Nevada
Heavyweight Fight: Jairzinho Rozenstruik (10-1) vs. Junior Dos Santos (21-7)
Fight odds: Jairzinho Rozenstruik -125 Junior Dos Santos +105
Bantamweight Fight: Sean O’Malley (12-0) vs. Marlon Vera (15-6-1)
Fight odds: Sean O’Malley -270 Marlon Vera +230
UFC Heavyweight Title Fight: Stipe Miocic (19-3) vs. Daniel Cormier (22-2)
Fight odds: Stipe Miocic +100 Daniel Cormier -120
UFC 252 will take place this Saturday with the UFC Heavyweight Title on the line between Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier. The UFC continues its great run of fight cards as more sports like basketball and hockey continue to make their returns. The UFC has been a welcome respite to fight fans with great fights from Fight Island in Abu Dhabi and from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas. Legacies will be on the line with Cormier fighting in his final fight before he retires and Miocic has a chance to cement himself as the greatest heavyweight in UFC history.
The third fight on the card is a heavyweight fight between Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Junior Dos Santos. Rozenstruik is 32, 6’4 and 254 lbs. with a 78 inch reach. Dos Santos is 36, 6’4 and 238.5 lbs. with a 77 inch reach. Rozenstruik is one of the best knockout artists in the UFC with great power in both hands and only needs one punch to finish the fight. Dos Santos is a more well rounded fighter that utilizes more striking versatility, throwing both kicks and punches with regularity and fluidity. Dos Santos is the more experienced fighter having fought the best in the division with wins over Fabricio Werdum, Cain Velasquez, Stipe Miocic and Derrick Lewis. However, Dos Santos is coming off two straight knockout losses to Francis Ngannou and Curtis Blaydes.
Dos Santos has been knocked out 5 times in his career and could soon meet that same fate against Rozenstruik. The wars that Dos Santos has been through in his career may be starting to catch up with him at the age of 36. Rozenstruik, a fighter from Suriname comes from a kickboxing background and is blessed with one punch knockout power. Rozenstruik doesn’t have as many miles on his body and has looked like an absolute destroyer in the octagon with 9 wins by knockout in 11 career fights. His one loss came against Francis Ngannou who knocked out Rozenstriuk in only 20 seconds in his most recent fight. With knockout wins over Andrei Arlovski and Alistair Overeem its clear that Rozenstriuk is a scary heavyweight capable of ending the fight quickly. Dos Santos will want to stay on the outside and go for some take downs to make this a grappling match. Rozenstruik needs to capitalize on any openings Dos Santos gives him and make this fight a close range battle to best utilize his power.
The scary thing about Rozenstruik is that he can secure a knockout either by coming forward or stepping back to avoid his opponent and counterpunching. Dos Santos will need to remain cautious and smart in his approach to not get overly aggressive and get knocked out. This is another step up in competition for Rozenstruik, but he has impressed fans with his vicious knockouts and will need to find a home for his big right hand to stop Dos Santos. Expect another knockout win for Rozenstruik as he continues his rise in the heavyweight division.
The Co-Main Event is a bantamweight fight between Sean O’Malley and Marlon Vera. O’Malley is 25, 5’11 and 136 lbs. with a 72 inch reach. Vera is 27, 5’8 and 136 lbs. with a 70.5 inch reach. O’Malley is a special fighter that moves differently from most humans and is capable of special moments whenever he enters the octagon. Fight fans saw exactly this when O’Malley fought Eddie Wineland and slept him with a beautiful straight right after feinting an uppercut. O’Malley will also mix up his striking with kicks to keep his opponents guessing. It seems like O’Malley has next level striking and remains the most intriguing bantamweight in the division.
His opponent, Marlon Vera should attempt to make this a grappling battle in order to not get knocked out by O’Malley’s unorthodox striking techniques. Vera has 8 submission victories in his career and is a dangerous Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner that could spring the upset with a submission. O’Malley has yet to really be tested in a fight and looks like a star that has the “it” factor that makes fans want to see what he’ll do next. That is partly the reason O’Malley is in the Co-Main Event with 12 professional fights and only 3 UFC fights.
At 5’11, O’Malley is a tall bantamweight that uses his height advantage to keep opponents at his range and uses his long limbs to flummox opponents with both punches and kicks. O’Malley is difficult to predict because of his unique style of movement and the many feints that he uses to keep his opponents off balance and unsure of where the strikes will come from. O’Malley should score another knockout win against Vera because of his superior timing, striking and power.
The Main Event is possibly the biggest UFC Heavyweight Title fight in history with Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic fighting for supremacy. Cormier is 41, 5’11 and 236 lbs. with a 72.5 inch reach. Miocic is 37, 6’4 and 233 lbs. with a 80 inch reach. This will be the third time these great fighters meet with Cormier winning the first fight and Miocic winning the second fight.
Cormier won the first fight with a bit of a fluke knockout, landing a right hand in the clinch at the end of the 1st Round that caught Miocic and put him down. It’s unlikely that this happens again as it was a knockout from a weird angle. In the second fight, Miocic took Cormier into deep waters and outlasted him to secure a 4th Round TKO win. The deciding factor was Miocic landing 27 strikes to the body of Cormier. This really zapped Cormier’s stamina and lead to Miocic’s emphatic win over Cormier. Both their previous fights played out differently and the third one could go either way.
Cormier may be the more fundamentally sound fighter, but Miocic has the heart of a champion and a great chin that can take some punches to land his own strikes. There are a lot of ways this fight could go, but Miocic has a height and reach advantage, making it difficult for Comier to land strikes, unless he gets on the inside and makes this a close range fight. Miocic should utilize his jab more often and continue to attack the body of Cormier to get another win. Cormier will want to mix up his striking and wrestling to keep Miocic off balance.
Miocic was getting hit with a lot of one-two combinations by Cormier and needs to have better head movement in order to avoid those punches. What makes this fight so intriguing is that it is so evenly matched and one misstep could be the end of the fight for either fighter. Miocic should once again get a late knockout win over Cormier because of his stamina, heart, body attacks and size advantage. Cormier’s best chance is to finish the fight early. If Miocic can whether the early storm his boxing and varied attack to the head and body should be enough to secure another win. Tune in for a great night of fights from Las Vegas.