Stipe Miocic v Daniel Cormier UFC 252 Predictions & Tips

Leigh Copson:

The UFC heavyweight title is up for grabs when Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier complete their trilogy at UFC 252 on August 15 - so who will have their hand raised and be confirmed as the 'baddest man on the planet' this summer?

Stipe Miocic v Daniel Cormier: Where Will UFC 252 Be Held?

The venue for UFC 252 is yet to be confirmed and is unlikely to be confirmed until closer to the August 15 fight date. At present there are three options that are viable – Florida, Nevada and Abu Dhabi.

The UFC made its return with a triple-header of events at an arena in Jacksonville, Florida in May, before returning ‘home’ to Las Vegas, Nevada for four June events at the UFC APEX facility. That facility will be a frontrunner for UFC 252 too, but another option could be taking the fight overseas.

Dana White got the sporting world talking when he revealed that ‘Fight Island’ would be a real thing, and he has no confirmed that the island in question is Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. Four events, including a blockbuster UFC 251 card are set to take place there in July, so an August return is not out of the question.

Road To Stipe Miocic v Daniel Cormier 3

There is nothing in combat sports quite like a trilogy fight – a battle between two athletes to determine once and for all who is the better man or woman. The UFC will add another one of them to the history books this summer, when Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier slug it out for the heavyweight title for the third time.

Miocic is sitting atop the heavyweight ladder for the second time in his career after regaining the gold last summer. The fighting firefighter out of Cleveland embarked on an excellent run of form between May 2015 and January 2018 that saw him knock out several of the heavyweight division’s finest, with his shining moment being a first-round knockout of Fabricio Werdum to win the title in May 2016. His reign came to an end in July 2018 though, and it came to an end in shocking fashion.

Cormier’s almost flawless record had propelled him to the very top of the light-heavyweight division, but the lure of becoming one of only a handful of fighters to hold UFC titles in two different weight classes at the same time was too much for ‘DC’ to ignore and he welcomed the chance to dethrone heavyweight champion Miocic. He did not just welcome the opportunity either, he took it. Cormier went into the fight as the underdog and many felt it would end badly if he spent too much time trying to engage in the stand-up with Miocic, but that is exactly what he did and when he sent the heavyweight champion crashing to the canvas late in the first round the world was stunned.

The heavyweight division had a new champion and the UFC wasted no time in looking to set up Cormier’s first contender. Former champion Brock Lesnar was reportedly in talks to make his return to the sport and the two men came face to face in the Octagon just moments after Cormier’s victory over Miocic, but the fight never materialised and ‘DC’ instead went on to submit Derrick Lewis before 2018 was done and dusted. Miocic, meanwhile, had to wait for the chance to regain the belt, but his patience was rewarded in the summer of 2019 when he was finally granted a rematch.

The two men went to war and the judges had Cormier ahead going into the fourth round, but Miocic made a critical adjustment before that five-minute period that brought about the victory. The fighting pride of Cleveland began to hit home with repeated lefts to the body that ate away at the gas tank of the champion, and not only did it do that, it also began to present an opening for the right-hand to the head. That proved to be the defining moment with just under a minute to go. Miocic hurt Cormier with a left to the body and then unloaded with a quickfire left-right combination that backed ‘DC’ up against the cage. Sensing the end of was near, Miocic chased Cormier down and pummelled against the fence until ‘DC’ hit the canvas and Herb Dean stepped in. Miocic was back on top of the world, but what was next?

Of course, 2020 has not been a normal year by any stretch of the imagination, but the UFC is beginning to stage events on a regular basis and it was only a matter of time before the next heavyweight title fight was confirmed. We now know what that fight is – a trilogy showdown between Miocic and Cormier to settle this rivalry once and for all. But who will win the rubber match? Read on for our free Stipe Miocic v Daniel Cormier 3 predictions and tips for UFC 252…

Stipe Miocic v Daniel Cormier UFC 252 Predictions & Tips

The bookmakers have been unable to split the two men since this heavyweight title fight was announced, and that is no surprise considering what we have seen in the previous two showdowns between this pair of heavyweights.

Cormier has proven that he can stop Miocic, and in the second fight between the two men he was ahead on the judges’ scorecards when it all went wrong and he was stopped. The result may not have been ideal, but once again he had proven that not only is a supremely talented wrestler, but he also has the striking skills and power to compete with Miocic and be successful in the stand-up. This is not one-dimensional fighter – he can beat you in a whole variety of ways.

Miocic is hardly a one-trick pony either. He showed that he is capable of taking Cormier to the mat in that second meeting, but the two aspects of his game that stood out most in the rematch were his patience and his striking prowess. He did not get reckless in a desperate attempt to show the first meeting was a fluke – instead he took his time, picked his openings and adjusted his gameplan to perfection to get the win. Those body shots may not have finished Cormier, but they destroyed his cardio and presented the opening that Miocic needed to separate him from consciousness and the belt.

I believe that we will see more of the same here. Both men need to respect each other’s power so the first couple of rounds are likely to be a lot more tentative than the first two fights, but ultimately Miocic will find the holes in Cormier’s stand-up game that will allow him to punish the challenger with strikes. Those shots will eventually wear down ‘DC’, presenting Miocic with the opportunity to put an emphatic stamp on things. He will take it, leaving no doubts about who is the heavyweight division’s number one.

Adding to my belief is the fact that Cormier is now 40 years of age, has not fought for over a year and has spoken publicly about retirement. I firmly believe that once a fighter starts mentioning the ‘R’ word or begins privately contemplating it, they should probably consider giving it up there and then. MMA is a brutal sport and going out on top is extremely difficult – you do not see many fairytale farewells. Cormier has enjoyed an incredible career, but I expect him to hang up his gloves after suffering back-to-back defeats for the first time in his career.

Miocic v Cormier 3 Tips: Expect UFC 252 Predictions

Former UFC heavyweight title challenger Derrick Lewis talking to MMA Junkie: “I say Stipe will probably take it. It was a real close final [fourth] round [in their second fight]… it was a real close fight. It was back-and-forth, it was entertaining and I thought DC was going to pull it off, but he got caught so I believe Stipe is probably still going to come in there and get the job done.”

Miocic v Cormier 3 Tips: UFC 252 Fighter Predictions

Daniel Cormier talking to Yahoo Sport’s Kevin Iole: “It means the world to me. The ability to compete for the heavyweight championship is awesome and to compete against a guy I do respect so much means a lot. It’s an opportunity to finish on top, which is something I could never have imagined so long ago. I have to be more aware and respectful of his power and ability the next time around. I was able to land some shots and I think in the end, I’d landed 75 percent of my strikes. Generally, if I am landing three of every four I throw, guys aren’t tough enough to withstand that. But Stipe is. That’s one of the things that makes him different, and makes him great. If I’m landing at that clip again, I have to stay the course because I know how tough he is and because what will be coming back in my direction will be absolute bombs. I just need to be more aware and keep my hands up, defend the body shots and not let up.”