In one of the most exciting nights of UFC mixed martial arts, UFC 241 proved to be one of the greatest fighting main feature cards of all time on Saturday night.
There was action, action and more action in all five bouts from start to finish. It was an anticipated card that came through with flying colors as blood poured from every fighter in the octagon.
One of the more anticipated bouts of the night at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California, was the rematched heavyweight fight between current champion Daniel Cormier and former champ Stipe Miocic.
A year ago, it took Cormier less than a round to stun Miocic in UFC 226 as he came in wailing with flurries and caught Miocic with a crisp elbow right to the chin which put the lights out on the Ohio native.
But in Saturday’s bout, if Miocic wanted to regain the title he held for two years until the upset by Cormier, he was going to have to fight.
As it turned out, the heavyweight match was a classic that went four rounds until Miocic put an end to the action.
From the looks of it, it really looked like Cormier got the best of Miocic despite his loss. Cormier cut and battered Miocic all over the octagon as his face showed the effects of Cormier’s strength with his punches. Cormier came out strong and was actually handling Miocic quite easily by simply overpowering him and just seemed to want to keep the belt more. Cormier was quicker than Miocic with his punches as he continuously beat the Cleveland native with his jabs and straight rights.
What changed in this fight — Miocic withstood the first two rounds though he took a beating. But even in those first two rounds, Miocic got his own shots in.
In the fourth round, it finally clicked for Miocic as he went to the body 15 times to finally get to an already tired Cormier. But it took Miocic almost two minutes into that final round before he finally took a swipe at the body. Once he realized that some of those body punches were actually hurting Cormier, Miocic didn’t stop as he landed some heavy shots to the ribs and gut.
Miocic eventually hit Cormier with two solid right jabs in the temple before sending a flurry of punches that sent Cormier to the mat and winning by TKO.
Should there be a trilogy? Absolutely, but it will depend on whether the 40-year-old Cormier will retire or not.
In the accompanying event, the return of Nate Diaz after a three-year absence from the octagon proved to be one of his better bouts ever. Diaz faced off against Anthony Pettis in a battle of welterweights which turned out to be a five-round fight with nonstop action.
Though Diaz should have had a lot of ring rust, it never showed as he kept constant pressure on Pettis, which finally got to him and at one point right after a round ended Pettis didn’t have the strength to get up and barely made it to his seat. If Diaz was going to have a chance in this one, he was going to have to make it an ugly fight by smothering the more crafty Pettis. Ugly fights suit Diaz better.
Pettis came in favored to take the welterweight fight, but it was Diaz’s machoism that got him this victory.
A couple of middleweights, Yoel Romero from Cuba and Paulo Costa from Brazil got together as they went the three-round distance in what proved to be a hay maker of a fight.
Throwing bombs at each other from the start, this one was another crowd pleaser because both combatants had one-punch knockout power.
Both took some heavy shots from each other, but it was Costa who remained unbeaten at 13-0 to take the three-round decision over the 42-year-old Romero, who even at his age is better than most.
This was a crowd pleaser mainly because most were waiting for the right shot to put the other one down. Though it didn’t happen, it just showed how tough their chins are.
There is no doubt that if either Costa or Romero ever become middleweight champions, they should give each other another look. Now that would be epic and a rematch for the ages.
In yet another rock’em-sock’em drag out blood maker, feather weights Sodiq Yusuff and Gabriel Benetiz couldn’t wait to get at each other. They both proved that as both fighters cut each other significantly around the eyes in the first and only round. Benetiz landed some heavy blows on Yusuff’s face, but with less than a minute left in the round, it was the Nigerian who caught Benetiz with the knockout blow. Benetiz had just caught Yusuff with a big punch of his own, but in Yusuff’s counter, it was lights out for the Mexico native.
What started this good night of UFC fights was a middleweight bout between Derek Brunson and Ian Heinisch which went all three rounds as Brunson boosted his record to 20-7 overall.
Brunson’s crisp punches proved to be the difference in this one, but Heinisch had some big shots during the third round.
It was a fantastic start to what turned out to be a knockout night of mixed martial arts in the octagon.