UFC’S Biggest Legacy Fight: Stipe v Cormier 3

Stipe Miocic v Daniel Cormier 3
Stipe Miocic v Daniel Cormier 3
  • In this the third bout of their epic trilogy the most successful UFC heavyweight of all time Stipe Miocic takes on his greatest foe Daniel Cormier.
  • Looking to end his storied career on a high, former champion Daniel Cormier returns to the octagon for the final time. In an effort to reclaim what was once and lay to rest any doubt as to who is the baddest man on the planet.
  • But having even the scores in their rematch at UFC 241, Stipe Miocic will be out to prove once again his standing as history’s greatest ever UFC heavyweight champion and the Legacy is on the line at UFC 252.

The biggest trilogy.

We’ve had some big trilogies in UFC history but I don’t think that there is any heavyweight bout that is bigger than Miocic v Cormier. Looking at the UFC 226 and 241 it’s very competitive. I think there were surprises in both fights. Daniel Cormier was a surprise to Miocic in the first fight and in UFC 241 Miocic came in well prepared for DC and maybe a little underestimated by the defending champion in the second fight.

It doesn’t get more evenly matched than this, I think both these fighters have to bring their best game. They have to be in condition. They have to be ready to go and it’s basically going to be a hard-fought five rounds for the belt this time. The two fighters have grown apart in terms of how they like one another. There’s a lot of information that they’ve now got between themselves after fighting each other twice before.

Stipe Miocic v Daniel Cormier 3
Stipe Miocic v Daniel Cormier 3

Statistics.

Looking down at the stats it seems that Stipe Miocic is just a great champion with most title fight wins in the heavyweight division. Nevertheless, there’s a lot of accolades we can put on the side of Daniel Cormier as well. But on a personal note the striking stats and the wrestling stats.

If we start with the striking, Stipe and Cormier who people typically think about as a wrestler. Both hitting the top of the leaderboards with the number of outputs. Therefore, it is quite clear that these stats show that both these guys are actually mixed, martial artists. Where DC with a strong wrestling skill set that brings a very high volume of strikes and on the other hand Stipe has a great striking game but he’s complemented by the fact that he wrestles with these fighters. Hence, this is not a fight where you can bring in one skill set and compete.

Both of these guys need to bring their “A” game. They need to bring their MMA game and they need to compete with each other in every single range. This is going to be very hard for them than the last two battles. Therefore, this is indeed a real fight between two of the best heavyweights on the planet.

Stipe Miocic v Daniel Cormier 3
Stipe Miocic v Daniel Cormier 3

UFC 226

Looking at the first two-fight chronologically and especially the fight. It was quite clear that there were surprises for Stipe but it was an emphatic performance from DC. One might argue that Stipe looked at DC as being the smaller fighter possibly not being able to be as physically imposing as he was at light heavyweight. Basically being able to bully him a little bit.

Stipe was pushing DC back and he was outboxing DC using his footwork and his head movement. However, when he became a bit stationary and that’s when DC started using his low kicks. He was chopping in heavy with those low kicks and made stipe more stationary. Thereby allowing DC to work into the clinch, where he wants that single necktie and wants to do his work from there because he has an eight-inch disadvantage.

Its something DC has to negate regardless of what range he’s in. Stipe underestimated the punching power of DC and I think DC surprised himself as heavyweight with that kind of power. Thereby knocking out stipe in the UFC 226. The single necktie and keeping stipe exactly where he wanted and coming over with the right hook. It was beautiful and something comfortable and so rehearsed for DC. As he was able to put a lot of power and leverage into it and was an angle stipe never expected.

Stipe Miocic v Daniel Cormier 3

UFC 241

Looking back at UFC 241 DC had two good rounds to start the fight off. Even though Stipe did good things at each round. Meaning his footwork was good, he’s long-range striking was good and ultimately he ended up standing still and DC ended up chopping into his legs.

In the first round, DC was able to score a big takedown. Which allowed him to control stipe for over three minutes of the round.DC landed a lot of strikes and he took very few in return. In the second round, I thought DC would wrestle Stipe much more but ended up with a clinch on slaughter. He was pushing Stipe back slipping his head off the center and getting that single necktie. Thereby, landing some heavy hits on Stipe and making it a more impactful round for DC.So it set him up for a great third round.

A lot of pundits will be looking at this and say the trueing point was at the end of the third round. But what was interesting was DC on the stall at the end of the second. Whereas his corner was going crazy and he responding with a statement asking whether he was winning a fight or losing the fight.

Looking at the initial rounds, I think DC felt like he was cruising and when he came back to the stall in the second round and he sat down. There was some sort of confidence in him as to how the fight would play out. But one might argue that it wasn’t replicated by his corner. Because they seemed to be far more realistic of the dangers of stipe and his ability to turn the fight around and come back from the brink of defeat.

Therefore looking at the statement made by DC asking whether he was losing was an implication to show that why were the corner team so worried. Because Bob cook was saying you’ve got to keep your hands up. You’ve got to keep your head moving and so forth.

I think it was almost a reflection of where DC’s confidence was and he thought that he was in complete control of the fight. Going into the third round I think he felt like he was going to replicate the same things. There wasn’t going to be an adjustment from Stipe. There was a key point in the third round where stipe was able to takedown DC. Even though the takedown wasn’t really worth a great deal for stipe.

It did prove to me that Dc was starting to fade and that his gas tank was slowly fading away. I think DC expected to get stipe out of there quicker than that and he expected stipe to not quite be as adaptable and as tenacious in that second fight as he was in previous matches that we’ve seen.

Hence, Stipe starts pressuring and he sensed that DC was fading a little bit. But he also didn’t want to put his foot on the gas too much and put himself in reach of that single necktie or those big swiping punches. It’s a very good point where you see Stipe moving him backward and he’s pressuring him but baiting him with high hands. Thereby opening up DC’s body for the left hooks. Which proved to be the Turing point of the fight and very lethal. Leading to the knock out of DC in the end. Thereby leaving us with a finish to DC and a finish to Stipe.

Stipe Miocic v Daniel Cormier 3

Stipe’s chances of winning.

Looking back at their previous fights and if you look at what stipe has done in his body of work in the UFC. You can piece together the perfect game plan for both of the tases guys. It’s all about them being focused and sticking to that game plan.

For stipe, he cannot be stationary like he has done in the last two fights. Because that is where he becomes vulnerable. He’s good at some good footwork. He moves really well for a heavyweight and he’s got good long-range punches.

Especially with that eight-inch reach advantage. So the basic first thing to do would be to stick and move with being in front of DC. Stay on your toes stay mobile and keep that long-range jab in his face. He’s just got to stay moving. If DC is constantly moving after Stipe, he’s basically walking into that jab. Which is going to be frustrating.

Leaving Stipe with the opportunity to line DC up for the power punch.the right hand that comes behind the jab. The other thing that has been exposed in DC is that the rising attacks are a vulnerability for him. Because his guard is like an umbrella, which basically protects him from the headshots but makes him vulnerable to body shots, knees and front kicks to the body.

Therefore, Stipe mixing his targets is going to be a massive key for him and coupling it with an anti-clinch.DC is constantly going to be trying to get his hands on him to negate that 8 inches reach advantage. But Stipe also has to know when to disengage. There are bits and pieces in both of those fights that you can take out and make the perfect game plan.

For these reasons Stipe needs to know when to attack but also when to disengage. That’s been the issue in a lot of the previous exchanges. He’s not known when to disengage. He’s missed a punch he’s been tagged a couple of times. Maybe a little bit of ego gets the better of him. Therefore, understanding that’s he’s the one with the reach advantage and thereby forcing DC to move on to him is going to be a massive key.

Therefore, anti-clinch, striking in and out of the clinch and defending takedowns is obviously going to be a part of the game plan and something he should do in order to retain the title. Because that’s what DC wants to do.

What does Daniel Cormier need to do to reclaim the title?

Well, it’s going to be the same thing for DC as well. Because we’ve seen what he can do against Stipe. We’ve seen him have success. We’ve seen him win rounds clearly.

The low kicks are going to be very crucial because assuming that Stipe does the right thing and gets on his bike and keeps moving. You’ve got to slow him down. Therefore, DC chopping into those legs buckling that knee is going to be a big key to slowing Stipe down.

Which will in turn allow him to punch his way into the clinch. The single necktie with the left hand and with the left-hand single necktie. He hits uppercuts and hooks over the top. He’s able to manipulate the movement of his opponent and also to weigh on them as well. Making them feel like they’re working harder than they actually want to.

Nevertheless, there two big facets in this game.DC has to slow Stipe down and he has to find a way into the clinch to take away that reach advantage. Also, the fact that we saw on the second fight that’s he’s an excellent wrestler. Therefore, when DC takes you down he is going to hold you down. Hence, DC getting at least one takedown around would be enough to seal him the round.

I think that’s what we saw in the first round of the second fight and I think that’s what we’re going to see in this one too. A much heavier wrestling offensive.DC is the master at controlling the back at breaking people down and forcing them to give the rear neck and choke.

Because they just don’t want any more. In that case, if he’s going to put a clinic on Stipe, he’s got to use some of his wrestling to keep this an MMA fight.If he just tries to box, I think Stipe can use his footwork and the reach advantage to out box DC.If DC can implement his wrestling well he’s definitely going to slow Stipe down and it’s going to win him rounds.

Well with the addition of Mark Henry and the analytical mind of Mark being able to watch the way Stipe moves.How he places his feet.Where he places his feet his tendencies with his hands and all those kind of things are going to be valuable.Which would allow DC to read those ranges and close distance quicker and probably get his head in safer places when Stipe is punching.

Lastly with the octagon being much smaller is going to place a major role.Considering the fact that these boys are heavyweights.Because if Stipe wants to be on his bike and moving and to create space around him.The bigger the octagon the better.I think it plays into DC’s hands with the octagon being smaller.But we also know that Stipe can fight off his backfoot as well.Therefore, it’s going to be interesting.

Given the fact that this is DC’s last fight.He’s going to come in with the typical DC mentality that is to put five rounds of hard work on the champion and get the belt back.

Who will win?

Will Daniel Cormier walk out as the Heavyweight champion in his last fight or will Stipe Miocic overcome the odds once again and cement his status as the greatest heavyweight in the UFC? On a personal note, I feel if DC can adjust he’ll emerge victoriously.

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