The fight we’ve all been waiting for has finally arrived! After nearly a full year since their rematch in the octagon, Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic are ready to culminate the best trilogy in UFC history. This time around, Stipe Miocic walks in as the Heavyweight champion. DC hopes avenge his loss from last year, and walk out of the octagon for the last time (so he says) as the UFC Heavyweight champion.
UFC 252 is a loaded card from front to back. As we know, Cormier and Miocic will do battle in the feature bout. The co-main event will have bantamweights clash as rising newcomer Sean O’Malley takes on Marlon Vera. The action kicks off on UFC Fight Pass at 7PM with 2 fights. The UFC Prelims can be seen on ESPN and ESPN Plus at 8PM. Finally, the main card bell time is set for 10PM LIVE on PPV. Let’s breakdown the main card match-ups, and lay down some predictions for tonight.
(C) Stipe Miocic vs. “DC” Daniel Cormier (1)
Odds: Cormier (-118) Miocic (-105)
The culmination of UFC’s greatest trilogy comes to you this evening in the octagon as two future Hall of Famers do battle for the heavyweight championship. The beginning of the trilogy saw Daniel Cormier reign supreme against Stipe via knockout in the first round. The second encounter between them ended with Miocic’s revenge on his rival via 4th round knockout. Will this be DC’s final fight in the octagon? Can he walk out a champion like GSP? Maybe Stipe shows that he’s the king of the heavyweights, and finishes off DC’s career with a defining victory. Both fighters have waited long enough, and tonight we’ll see who’s the best!
Prediction: Miocic via KO, 2nd Round
“Sugar” Sean O’Malley (14) vs. “Chito” Marlon Vera
Odds: O’Malley (-313) Vera (+215)
The co-main event features an important battle in the bantamweight division. Sean O’Malley is ready to prove that he’s arrived on the bantamweight scene, and is a true contender in the division. It’s hard to argue after his last 2 appearances in the cage have resulted in 1st round knockouts. The competitor standing in O’Malley’s rise to stardom is Marlon Vera. Marlon suffered a unanimous decision loss to Yadong Song his last time in the cage. Prior to that defeat, he reeled off 5 straight victories. O’Malley can grapple, but loves to stay on his feet, judging from his 7 knockout wins. Vera is a BJJ specialist with 8 submission victories, but can has power on his feet. Everyone is picking O’Malley in this fight (3-1 odds), but can Vera shock the world and deliver “Sugar” Sean with his 1st loss? As they say, that’s why we fight the fights! Tune in for this one!
Prediction: O’Malley via KO, 1st Round
“Cigano” Junior Dos Santos (5) vs. “Bigi Boy” Jairzinho Rozenstruik (6)
Odds: Rozenstruik (-130) Dos Santos (+105)
This bout features two heavyweights hoping to enter the title conversation with a victory tonight. Junior Dos Santos is an accomplished veteran and former UFC Heavyweight champion. However, he’s suffered 2 straight losses by knockout to Francis Ngannou and Curtis Blaydes. Dos Santos will look to rebound against tonight’s opponent, Jairzinho Rozenstruik. “Bigi Boy” is 10-1 overall, but suffered his first defeat at the hands (literally) of Francis Ngannou back in May. Rozenstruik achieved two victories over established veterans Allistair Overeem and Andrei Arlovski prior to his most recent loss. The winner of this fight will likely head into a top 5 fight, and potenially a title opportunity sooner rather than later. These heavyweights are going to throw heavy hands, and expect a brutal knockout when all is said and done.
Prediction: Rozenstruik via KO, 1st Round
Herbert “The Blaze” Burns vs. “The Pit” Daniel Pineda
Odds: Burns (-270) Pineda (+205)
The talk heading into this fight is Herbert Burns missing weight for the fight. Burns weighed in 3.5 lbs over, and will forfeit 20% of his purse. The fight WILL go on. Burns enters the fight on a 5 fight win streak after choking out now Ex-UFC fighter Evan Dunham. Herbert is 2-0 in the UFC after 2 quick finishes, and is hoping to follow in the footsteps of his brother, Gilbert Burns. “The Blaze” will hope to get the fight to the ground quickly, and control the mat for another victory. Burns has tremendous respect for his opponent, Daniel Pineda. He comes into this contest with 39 professional fights under his belt. Daniel Pineda returns to the UFC octagon after 6 years in which he lost 4 of 5 fights, and ultimately released from the promotion. Pineda returns to the octagon in hopes of better success. He’s currently riding a 4 fight win streak, and 8-2 since his UFC departure. Pineda likes to take the fight to the mat, making 18 opponents tap out in his career. This fight will likely live on the mat battling for position, and whoever gets the upper hand may get their opponent to tap.
Prediction: Burns via Unanimous Decision
“The Magician” John Dodson vs. Merab Dvalishvili
Odds: Dvalishvili (-270) Dodson (+205)
The always entertaining John Dodson kicks off the main card against Merab Dvalishvili. Dodson has lost 3 of his last 5 fights in the octagon, including a tough unanimous decision defeat to current champion Petr Yan. Dodson has 12 knockout victories in his career, and has let the judges decide his fate in 21 fights, winning 10 decisions. “The Magician” has never been knocked out or submitted. Merab Dvalishvili has won 4 straight fights, all via unanimous decision. Merab has taken great trust in the judges as he’s gone the distance in 11 contests, winning 8 decisions. Dodson is trying to crack the top 10 once again, and re-establish himself as a contender in a talent-filled division. Merab will attempt to secure his 5th staright victory, and potentially land in the top 10 in rankings. Look for this fight to go 15 minutes, with the judges making the call in this one.