In what will be the third event of five that stretch the month of August, the UFC returns to Pay-Per-View this weekend for what should be one of the best cards of this pandemic-ridden summer. Originally slated for Dublin, Ireland, UFC 252 will be held at the UFC Apex in the company’s home of Las Vegas, NV.
While the undercard is riddled with interesting fights, the main event of the evening is one that fight fans have long-awaited. When Daniel Cormier steps into the octagon to challenge Stipe Miocic for the heavyweight belt Saturday night, it will be the third time in just over two years the pair have fought, splitting the fights 1-1.
The entire evening can be streamed on the ESPN family of networks, with the main card kicking off at 10 PM EST.
Let’s take a closer look at the trilogy slated for Saturday’s main event and see where we can spot the edge.
Stipe Miocic (19-3-0) vs. Daniel Cormier (22-2-0)
Long considered one of the best the division has ever seen, when Daniel Cormier steps into the octagon Saturday night, it could very well be the last time. Even though we’ve heard that before from the 41-year-old part-time announcer, Cormier returns almost exactly a year after losing to Miocic at UFC 241.
In that fight, Cormier battled for four rounds before ultimately succumbing to a flurry of punches (TKO) in the fourth round. Prior to the Miocic rematch, Cormier hadn’t lost since 2015, picking up a light heavyweight belt as well as a heavyweight belt (following his first fight/win against Stipe) over the eight fights leading up.
For Stipe Miocic, winning the heavyweight belt back off of Cormier last summer didn’t come without significant cost. When the two last slugged it out, Miocic won the belt but also walked away with a major retina injury from multiple eye pokes over the course of the evening.
At one point fearing he could never fight again, Miocic wasn’t cleared to fight until late January, and as recently as April publicly admitted to still seeing spots when looking out of the damaged eye.
Prior to his first fight to Cormier, a loss via KO in the first round of UFC 226 in July 2018, Stipe had held the heavyweight belt for four fights dating back to May 2016, beating the likes of Francis Ngannou along the way as he dominated the division.
Looking at the odds, sportsbook, including our friends over at Bet MGM, expect a dead even fight that is seemingly anyone’s guess.
While bother fighters are tested and would likely be heavy favorites against anyone else in the division, I see a ton of value on the likely healthier Cormier who hasn’t stopped away from the sport as much as he’s been directly in it. Likely having taken very little time out of the gym since their last fight, I like Cormier to take advantage of what I expect to be a rusty Stipe, who is rushing back into the octagon after a very serious injury.
Pick: Daniel Cormier -115
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