The UFC 252 Anticlimax
Written by Emjay on August 17, 2020
It was a main card that excited fans of both the little guys and the heavies with a tantalising featherweight bout thrown in to tickle the hurt-sport proclivities with two heavyweight clashes and two bantamweight bump-offs.
The opening bout between John Dodson and Merab Dvalishvili was set to see the power and pressure game of Dvalishvili tested against the lighting speed offense of Dodson. Despite the massive takedown defence of Dodson – stuffing 18 of the 20 takedown attempts – it was the striking of Dvalishvili that secured him the unanimous decision victory, landing almost as many strikes as Dodson was able to throw (88/171 vs 31/90).
Herbert Burns – in his first UFC main card walkout – started off disastrously by missing weight in his featherweight bout against Daniel Pineda, who was returning to the UFC after last fighting for the promotion back in March 2014. The night got worse for him as the veteran Pineda landed the more effective strikes and out-grappled the BJJ maestro and had it not been for a timeous referee stoppage, it would have been a nightmare event for the boy from Brazil!
The first heavyweight bout of the main card was an opportunity for both Junior Dos Santos and Jairzinho Rozenstruik to put their recent losses behind them. A tentative opening round by both fighters resulted in a terrible fight as both were tentative and hesitated in engaging until early in the 2ndround when Rozenstruik added to his highlight reel of finishes. Winner by TKO!
The co-main event between Sean O’Malley and Chito Vera was set to be an interesting match-up as it promised to be the toughest test yet for the Suga Show while for Vera, he would have a chance at redemption coming off that controversial loss against Song Yadong at featherweight. Previous fights for O’Malley have shown how devastating his reach and height advantage can be in the bantamweight division especially when he is fighting off the front foot, however Vera is not known as a fighter that likes to back-up too easily and his constant forward pressure would definitely have given fans the opportunity to see more of the other, much talked about, O’Malley’s skills. Following a series of kicks by both fighters early on, it was a leg buckle from O’Malley that had the commentators focused on other things and with less than a minute to go in round one, it was a grateful O’Malley that accepted the referee stepping in to stop Vera from landing too much GnP damage to a fighter that was clearly unable to effectively move and defend himself. A win for Vera and the end of the undefeated run of the Suga Show.
The main event at #UFC252 was set to cement a legacy for either Daniel Cormier or Stipe Miocic. The current champ was, with his impressive list of victories, looking for the back-to-back win over the former double-division champ, while for Cormier it was a chance to prove that his loss at #UFC241 was mostly due to an incomplete training camp as a result of persistent back issues. For a legendary fight of this magnitude, it will not go down in the history books as one of the all-time great heavyweight bouts, quite the opposite, after a promising opening round by Cormier it was all Miocic for the remainder of the matchup. Fight fans can but wonder if the outcome would have been different if not for the second eye-poke which seemed to really take the opportunity away from Daniel Cormier. To make matters worse, referee Marc Goddard, ignored claims by Cormier to a low-blow in the 3rdround as well as the claims for what was an obvious and serious eye-poke by Miocic. Neither he or a doctor checked on Cormier at the end of rounds three and four, despite it being clear to all that his vision was impaired as a result of that incident. In the end, it was Miocic with the unanimous decision victory and that sets-up the long-awaited rematch with Francis Ngannou – here’s hoping!
Final note: With Daniel Cormier finally retiring from competitive MMA, it would be remiss of us to not mention the truly remarkable career of the former Olympic wrestler turned professional MMA fighter. Checkout our Blog on the phenomenal career of Daniel ‘DC’ Cormier.