By: John Casale.
Recap of Fight Night 175:
Joanne Calderwood (-145) - LOSS
Vicente Luque (-200) - WIN
Herman (+140) - CANCELLED
Emmers (+140) - CANCELLED
Weekly Result: 1-1
To Date Results: 5-5
Daniel Cormier v Stipe Miocic
In what is the most anticipated heavyweight title fight in UFC history, Daniel Cormier takes on Stipe Miocic in the ultimate conclusion of what has been an epic series to date. In the first fight, DC shocked the world! Moving up to heavyweight, knocking out the champ in the first round with a nasty elbow following some impressive boxing, and seizing the belt, becoming the first ever two weight class title holder in UFC history. The second fight started out like much of the same, with DC out striking Stipe 71 to 9 in the first round. Stipe rebounded nicely in the 2nd round, landing more combos, but DC was most likely still up 2-0 on the scorecards. Come round 3, Stipe’s activity and pressure in the 2nd round started to take hold, as he began to land heavier shots, pushing DC onto his back foot. Stipe was even able to land a takedown on Cormier, which ultimately would go on to win him the round. In the 4th round, Stipe took the belt by hold. His corner noticed Cormier was leaving his liver exposed, and as Miocic pounded away at the body in the 4th, DC crumbled and Stipe Miocic snatched his belt back.
Heading into Saturday’s epic trilogy, Daniel Cormier has made it abundantly clear that this will be his last fight of his career. Both fighters are promising to bring the best possible versions of themselves into the octagon, but I believe Daniel Cormier will have the edge this weekend. On the feet, Stipe has a more traditional boxing style, which he is top class at, but DC deploys a gritty, grinding, dirty boxing style from the clinch which neutralizes some of Miocic’s power, while also allowing Cormier to stay in takedown range, where he is clearly superior. Daniel Cormier was an All-American wrestler at Oklahoma St and won global wrestling gold medals. In the smaller cage, I believe we will see DC’s most wrestling-heavy arsenal against Stipe, as Cormier will return to his roots to grab the Heavyweight belt back and to secure the title of Greatest UFC Heavyweight of All Time, in what is sure to be a thrilling title fight.
Daniel Cormier (-120)
Chito Vera v Sean O’Malley
On Saturday, the most hyped UFC fighter steps into the octagon, looking to continue his dominance. Sean O’Malley is 12-0 overall, 4-0 in the UFC, including two straight knockouts, and is drawing comparisons to Conor McGregor. The comparison is warranted, as ‘Suga Sean’ has all the makings of megastar. His striking is already on a top class tier, featuring subtle movements, deft feints, and jaw dropping power. However, on Saturday, O’Malley faces his toughest test to date, as he’ll be matched up with Marlon ‘Chito’ Vera. Vera was on a 5 fight finishing streak, before losing a very hotly debated decision to Song Yadong in May.
Chito Vera will present O’Malley with the most diverse attack he’s ever seen. Vera is probably the only fighter in the bantamweight division who can come close to matching Suga Sean’s immense length and reach on the feet. Vera can also mirror O’Malley’s stance switches and slick kickboxing. What Marlon Vera offers in this fight that will lead him to victory is his black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Vera will be the dominant fighter on the ground, despite O’Malley also being a highly qualified jiu-jitsu practitioner. Chito Vera frequently relies on his jiu-jitsu and ground game to win fights, while O’Malley solely relies on it as a defense measure and prefers to keep the fight on the feet. With the hype surrounding O’Malley, the line has skyrocketed, well beyond a price that warrants a bet on Suga Sean. Given how close I expect this fight to be, Chito Vera at +215 is stellar value.
Chito Vera (+215)
Junior dos Santos v Jairzinho Rozenstruik
This is another fight on Saturday that will go a long way in helping dictate the future of the Heavyweight division following the conclusion of the remarkable Stipe-DC trilogy. Jairzinho ‘Bigi Boi’ Rozenstruik will look to rebound, after he was the next on a long list of fighters who have been sent to the shadow realm by future heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou, losing in a quick 20 seconds. On the other hand, Junior dos Santos will look to snap his longest losing streak in his career, after two straight brutal knockouts from the hands of Curtis Blaydes and Francis Ngannou.
Despite the losing streak, and concerns about his chin, I believe JDS should be favored in this fight. While Bigi Boi did do the impossible and knock out Alistair Overeem with under 10 seconds left in the fight in December, Rozenstruik’s first foray into the upper echelon of the division was extremely challenging. Jairzinho Rozenstruik struggled to find his range and land the power shot for most of the 5 round fight. While the small cage will certainly force the action, I expect JDS to find his range against Rozenstruik and use his combos to land more strikes than Rozenstruik, eventually culminating in a finish, making Junior dos Santos a very live dog Saturday.