Yet another night of absolute martial arts mastery concluded hours ago in Anaheim California as Stipe Miocic reclaimed his UFC Heavyweight title from Daniel Cormier. Despite being the clear draw for many fans, the lead up was almost just as miraculous with an entire card full of truly spectacular performances. But when your card contains three former UFC Champions and two Olympians, is it really surprising?
Paulo Costa received the first true threat to his undefeated record in the form of Yoel “Soldier of God” Romero. The two mutants engaged in what could only be described as a Godzilla-style war for three rounds, each often purposefully moving back toward the center of the octagon just to exchange blows without the cage at their backs. By the end the two men received a standing ovation for filling the entire 15-minute fight with nothing but nonstop action and freak athleticism. Despite the close nature of the fight, Costa was awarded a unanimous decision victory over the Olympic wrestler.
Nate Diaz made his long awaited return to competition against former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis. The Stockton native looked like he’d never left the scene, his chin absorbing many tough shots from Pettis and his famed ground game allowing him to neutralize his opponent’s striking. Teeing off late in the third, Diaz took Pettis’ back to try locking in a submission. The former champ was able to turn back into Diaz’s full guard, but was unable to launch any offensive before the end of the fight. Diaz was awarded his first UFC win since 2016. Making it known that he was here to stay, Diaz immediately called out welterweight Jorge Masvidal for his next desired fight.
Much like the rest of the card, the main event certainly lived up to the hype. The fight began with DC in firm control of the pace, demonstrating his grappling pedigree alongside his striking by landing crucial head/body shots before hitting a pickup high crotch that allowed him to slam the firefighter on the canvas. Despite maintaining the pace for the first three rounds, Stipe was consistently getting uppercuts and big right straights through the fight. Changing up his approach, Stipe started repeatedly hitting a big left hook to the body visibly hobbling the champ. The gaps that opened up from the body blows gave Stipe an opening for a big right hook to the head, sending DC to the ground. A few vicious seconds of ground and pound later and the baddest fireman in Ohio is once again the UFC heavyweight champion of the world.
Stipe took time to thank his team and lightly dunk on the haters that have been joking about him in the 13 months since he lost the title. With regards to his future in the sport, DC respectfully refused to make any impulsive decisions without consulting his family. “I need to speak to my wife, and we need to make an educated decision about what to do,” DC told Joe Rogan in his post fight interview.
Thanks to all the fighters for a truly impressive payperview performance!