Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) will be back in the pay-per-view (PPV) business later TONIGHT (Sat., Aug. 15, 2020) as UFC 252 will go down from inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada. Headlining the event will be a trilogy title fight between current Heavyweight champion, Stipe Miocic, and former division king, Daniel Cormier. In the co-main event, Sean O’Malley will look to keep his ascension going when he takes on Marlon Vera.
Daniel Cormier has the rare chance to leave the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA) on top as he faces Stipe Miocic for a third and final time. The series is tied at one apiece with each man knocking out the other (see those fights here and here). Cormier is widely known as one of the greatest mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters in the history of the sport, but walking away as the 265-pound champion is something he longs for. Cormier is also known as one of the good guys, as well, though his infamous rivalry with Jon Jones often brought out his ugly side. He has been a great ambassador for the sport and for UFC, which is why he is set up with the promotion after fighting. It’s a privilege that goes to a select few and “DC” is one of those men who will be with promotion for years to come. But he still has business to take care of inside the cage later tonight, and it will be a tough final task. Cormier has only been knocked out twice in his career, once by Jones and once by Miocic. That’s why Stipe is coming in with plenty of confidence, though Cormier is adamant the adjustments the current champ made in their rematch (body shots) can not and will not be effective in the trilogy fight. Not to mention, “DC” promised to go back to his roots and grind out a win via wrestling. And getting into that type of fight with the former Olympian isn’t the best of things for Stipe.
Miocic may not be the most talkative and outgoing champion UFC has ever had, but at the end of the day the big man gets the job done. After getting his revenge on “DC” and his belt back, he was criticized by the former champ-champ and Dana White for taking too much time off in between fights to take care of his health issues. While talks of stripping him of the title did surface, it never came to be. Miocic would obviously love nothing more than to send Cormier out with a loss, but either way you look at it Stipe is likely going to get another championship fight if he loses.
Why, you ask?
If Cormier wins and retires — which he plans on doing — the title will be vacated, leaving the promotion the task of booking another title fight. Francis Ngannou has already been pegged as the No. 1 contender, so that really leaves only Stipe as the logical man to face “The Predator.” So basically win, lose, or draw Miocic is in line for another title fight after UFC 252.
It’s a tough one to pick since both excelled during their respective wins. Should Cormier stick to his word and go to his roots, it’s going to be a very long night for Miocic. On the flip side, Stipe does have the striking advantage, so if he can soften up Cormier before he gets too close, possibly landing a kill shot, we will be hearing “and still” from Bruce Buffer’s mouth.
It’s a pretty well-balanced card, but If I am being honest I would have liked a bigger fight as co-main event. Nothing against Sean O’Malley and Marlon Vera, but a couple of bigger names would have been a nice compliment to the main course.
Original Card Vs. Actual Card:
Frankie Edgar and Pedro Munhoz were set to collide at this event but were eventually pulled and moved to headline next Sat. night’s (Aug. 22, 2020) UFC Vegas 7 event. Also, Ion Cutelaba was set to rematch Magomed Ankalaev in main card action but was forced to withdraw from the bout after testing positive for COVID-19. The promotion did not opt to find a late replacement and the bout will now take place on Aug. 29.
Rogerio Bontorin was forced out of his fight against Manel Kape with an ankle injury.
Danny Chavez will bring his three-fight win streak with him to the Octagon as he makes his UFC debut against T.J. Brown. Brown — who made his way to UFC via the “Contender Series” — recently had his win streak snapped by Jordan Griffin in what was his UFC debut. Prior to that he won four in a row. Chavez, meanwhile, is coming in as the former Global Legion FC Featherweight champion.
Heavyweight bangers Chris Daukaus and Parker Porter will look to pump some new blood into the 265-pound division when they tango in big man action. It’s pretty rare to see two UFC newcomers take on one another in their debuts. This one obviously has a pretty good chance of ending early since they have a combined 15 finishes out of 17 wins.
Rising Featherweight contender Kai Kamaka will bring his five fight win streak to the eight-sided cage when he takes on fellow UFC rookie, Tony Kelley. And while I previously stated it’s a rare occasion to have UFC noobs face off, here is another case of rising prospects looking to take one another out.
How The ‘Prelims’ Look:
Felice Herrig will make her long-awaited return to action after suffering a torn ACL in 2019 to take on Virna Jandiroba. Herrig has lost two straight, so not only will she have to shake off the ring rust she’ll have to fight through the pressure of avoiding her third straight defeat. She will have a tough task in her first fight back in such a long time, as Jandiroba is 15-1 with her lone loss coming against Carla Esparza, Herrig’s best friend.
Jim Miller is still trucking along and shows no signs of slowing down. The 26-UFC fight veteran has enjoyed a mini career resurrection of sorts after winning three of his last four fights. His next opponent, Vinc Pichel, is 5-1 since 2014, though he could have had many more fights and potential wins under his belt had it not been for multiple injuries that sidelined him for three years.
Ashley Yoder will look to get back in the win column as she faces Livia Renata Souza who is also in search of a win after having her four-fight win streak snapped by Brianna Van Buren. Both ladies are currently on the outside of the Top 15 looking in, so a win here is a must for both if they want to inch closer to earning their first-ever spot on the rankings.
Who Needs A Win Badly:
Two talented big men will look to get back on track as former division champion, Junior dos Santos, and Jairzinho Rozenstruik will collide in what is sure-to-be a hard-hitting affair. “Cigano” has dropped two in a row via knockout to Curtis Blaydes and Francis Ngannou. “Bigi Boy,” meanwhile, saw his undefeated mark go out the window thanks to Ngannou, who flattened the big man in just 20 seconds at UFC 249. With Cormier leaving the sport a spot opens up for all contenders, so a win is crucial for both men here if they want to make a move up. But Junior needs a win pretty bad here to avoid suffering his first three-fight losing streak ever. While I highly doubt the promotion would even consider letting him go and give him the chance to sign with Bellator MMA, the Brazilian bomber still needs the “W” to assure he keeps getting big fights.
Interest Level: 8/10
It’s a nice solid offering from the promotion. The Heavyweight trilogy bout should be an epic conclusion to a great rivalry between two of the best to ever step foot inside the Octagon. Plus, we get to bid farewell to one of the true gems in MMA.
As mentioned earlier, the co-main event will see rising star Sean O’Malley attempt to collect his fifth straight UFC win as he takes on Marlon Vera in Bantamweight action. The “Suga” show has indeed stolen the show ever since he appeared on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. And though he hasn’t exactly taken on the absolute best UFC has to offer at this point, Dana White and Co. are perfectly content with bringing him along slowly. After all, it’s obvious the promotion thinks highly of him and the higher-ups are looking at O’Malley as a possible future star, so they see no reason in risking him losing against someone like Cody Garbrandt so early in his career.
That being said, Vera isn’t about to roll over and play dead for anyone. “Chito” was enjoying a nice five-fight win streak prior to losing to Yadong Song in his most recent fight. He has a wealth of experience and has big wins over Brad Pickett and Brian Kelleher and has proven to be a tough out. A win over O’Malley could be just what he needs to get over the hump and get a bigger share of the spotlight.
Also, Merab Dvalishvili will look to keep his momentum going as he goes for consecutive win number five inside the Octagon. Standing in his way is longtime veteran John Dodson, who recently snapped his two-fight skid by taking out Nathaniel Wood via knockout.
In addition, Herbert Burns is looking to earn his sixth straight win — third inside the Octagon — as he faces off against Daniel Pineda. Herbert — brother of No. 1 Welterweight contender, Gilbert Burns — has looked great in his first two UFC bouts, winning both contests via first round stoppage. Pineda, meanwhile, got the call back up to the big leagues after six years away from the Octagon.
We are in for a nice evening of fights, so all that is left to do is sit back and enjoy all of the action.
Full Fight Card:
UFC 252 PPV Main Event On ESPN+:
265 lbs.: UFC Heavyweight Champion Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier
UFC 252 PPV Main Card on ESPN+ (10 p.m. ET):
135 lbs.: Sean O’Malley vs. Marlon Vera
265 lbs.: Junior dos Santos vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik
145 lbs.: Herbert Burns vs. Daniel Pineda
135 lbs.: John Dodson vs. Merab Dvalishvili
205 lbs.: Magomed Ankalaev vs. Ion Cutelaba
UFC 252 ‘Prelims’ Card on ESPN/ESPN+ (8 p.m. ET):
155 lbs.: Jim Miller vs. Vinc Pichel
115 lbs.: Livinha Souza vs. Ashley Yoder
115 lbs.: Felice Herrig vs. Virna Jandiroba
145 lbs.: T.J. Brown vs. Danny Chavez
UFC 252 ‘Prelims’ Card on ESPN/ESPN+ (7 p.m. ET):
265 lbs.: Chris Daukaus vs. Parker Porter
145 lbs.: Kai Kamaka III vs. Tony Kelley
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 252 fight card this weekend right here, starting with the ESPN+/Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN+/ESPN at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC 252: “Miocic vs. Cormier 3” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.
***Fight card, bout order and the amount of matches subject to drastic change because of the various global quarantine restrictions.***
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