LAS VEGAS — The title changed hands each of the first two times that Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier fought for the heavyweight title.
On Saturday in the main event of UFC 252 at Apex, that changed.
Miocic outworked Cormier in a physical, grinding fight in which both men were poked in the eye. Judges saw it 49-46 twice and 48-47 for Miocic, allowing him to retain the title in the final bout of Cormier’s illustrious career.
Miocic hurt Cormier with two big right hands late in the second round and may have been able to finish him if there were more time on the clock.
But for the most part, it was a close and taut battle fought on the inside in which they exchanged right hands. Cormier’s best work came when he was right on top of Miocic, the same spot from which he knocked out the Clevelander in their fight at UFC 226 to claim the heavyweight belt.
Miocic, though, had a strategy of smothering Cormier and keeping him against the cage, and not allowing him to get off his hard shots.
The victory gives Miocic the unofficial but well-earned moniker as the greatest heavyweight in MMA history.
Cormier walks away as one of the greatest in the history of the game, but with a 1-3 mark and a no-contest against his biggest rivals, Miocic and light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.
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