UFC Heavyweight Champion Stipe Miocic seeks to retain his title against Daniel Cormier at UFC 252.
BANTAMWEIGHT FIGHT: MERAB DVALISHVILI VS. JOHN DODSON — 10:19 PM ET
Merab Dvalishvili defeated John Dodson by unanimous decision to open the main card of UFC 252.
Dvalishvili (12-4) put together a solid outing against Dodson (21-12), controlling the pace of the fight and reminding the bantamweight division that he is going to be a very tough out. While still seeking his first UFC finish, Dvalishvili dominated the fight.
Dvalishvili landed significant knees onto the lower body of Dodson in the opening five minutes, displaying a patient approach on Dodson that won him the round. Dodson came out with a more aggressive approach in the second round, but Dvalishvili was constantly one step ahead. The lack of output for Dodson through the first two rounds was a serious concern, and that was only amplified by Dvalishvili’s combination of takedowns, movement, and right hands.
While the fight is extremely disappointing for Dodson, that was a relentless, one-sided victory for Dvalishvili, who now picks up the biggest win of his career.
PREVIEW — 9:55 PM ET
UFC Heavyweight Champion Stipe Miocic seeks to retain his title against Daniel Cormier at UFC 252. Cormier claims this will be the final fight of his storied career, and Miocic plans to send his opponent into retirement with one final defeat.
This will mark the third time Miocic and Cormier step into the Octagon to face one another. Cormier (22-2, 1 NC) made quick work of Miocic (19-3) in their first meeting two summers ago, but Miocic regained the Heavyweight Championship last summer when he wore down an exhausted Cormier in the fourth round. The main event of UFC 252 will prove whether Cormier was simply out of shape in that fight, which he openly admits, or whether time has caught up to him and he is no longer the elite fighter he once was.
The card also features two bantamweight fights, another heavyweight bout, and a catchweight fight.
“Sugar” Shane O’Malley looks to continue his ascent to stardom. O’Malley (12-0) meets bantamweight Marlon “Chito” Vera. Though Vera (15-6-1) is a sizable underdog, he can stand-and-bang with O’Malley, and he will not be intimidated by the prospect of trading shots. Vera represents the biggest test to date for the 25-year-old O’Malley.
UFC 252 also includes a second heavyweight battle, as Jairzinho Rozenstruik looks to regain his momentum with a victory against Junior dos Santos. Rozenstruik (10-1) had been on a 10-fight win streak but was absolutely wrecked this past May by Francis Ngannou. Now standing in his way is the immensely talented dos Santos (21-7), who is also chasing a win after dropping his past two fights. This fight will come down to strikes, which may favor dos Santos, one of the most skilled boxers in the UFC.
A featherweight fight pitting Herbert Burns against Daniel Pineda now shifts to catchweight after Burns arrived three-and-a-half pounds overweight at weigh-ins. This was intended to be an exciting showcase fight where either Burns (11-2) or Pineda (26-13, 2 NC) could improve their standing, but it loses steam after Burns missed weight. And the second bantamweight fight on the card pits Merab Dvalishvili against John Dodson. Dvalishvili (11-4) is expected to pick up a win, and some much needed momentum, as a considerable favorite against Dodson (21-11).
A solid card leads to a must-see main event. All eyes will be on Miocic and Cormier as they fight for both the heavyweight title and their legacies. If Cormier wins, there is always the chance that he will call out longtime rival Jon Jones for one final fight.