A two-card, 13-hour binge of fights came to a conclusion Saturday evening at The Ultimate Fighter Brazil 3 Finale, where heavyweight standout Stipe Miocic stepped into the Octagon to face longtime UFC light heavyweight Fabio Maldonado in the night's main event.
Since Maldonado spent his entire UFC career to this point at 205 pounds and Miocic is the No. 7-ranked heavyweight on the promotion's roster, this fight felt a bit strange, and once the two took the center of the Octagon, it got even stranger.
Maldonado fired off a wild combination to kick off the action, and Miocic calmly avoided the attack, settled down and threw a perfect left hook of his own. This strike caught Maldonado on the chin, and the Brazilian wobbled, pressing his back to the cage in retreat.
Rather than overpursuing the kill, Miocic stayed back and waited for his chance to pounce and finish the deed.
That took about five more seconds, as the heavyweight powerhouse landed another right that floored Maldonado. A few hammerfists later, the fight was over.
Miocic corner should get a performance bonus for holding the banner, they broke more of a sweat than him! #UFCFightNight— Derek Brunson (@DerekBrunsonMMA) June 1, 2014
That's why they have weight classes, folks.
What We'll Remember About This Fight
We'll remember its brevity, and we'll remember how silly the matchup was in the first place.
It takes a special fighter to move up a weight class and find success, and even against light heavyweights, Maldonado had proved to be nothing more than a tough dude with a great chin and an undying will to scrap.
Taking on a highly ranked heavyweight like Miocic, I'm not sure anyone expected anything that resembled fair competition, and a lopsided, quick battle is exactly what we all received.
"I was real nervous. He's a tank. He doesn't stop. I needed to get my shots in, and I got in a good punch. Tonight is my night." - Miocic— UFCONFOX (@UFCONFOX) June 1, 2014
This was a novelty fight, and Miocic handled business with zero problems.
What We Learned About Miocic
Miocic can knock out light heavyweights. Since he had only fought heavyweights in the UFC prior to this bout, I suppose that is his sole takeaway from this bout.
The bout lasted last than one minute, so there wasn't much to draw from Miocic's performance.
Miocic joins Roy Nelson as the only two modern era heavyweights with two knockouts in less than a minute each.— Michael Carroll (@MJCflipdascript) June 1, 2014
What We Learned About Maldonado
Maldonado needs to stop being so reckless inside the cage.
Use some feints. Bob. Weave. Don't eat a punch to give a punch.
His rock 'em, sock 'em attitude produced fun fights at 205 pounds, but against the ultra-powerful, elite heavyweights of the world, that strategy just doesn't get the job done.
Don’t feel too bad for Fabio Maldonado. At least he got to go to sleep. I wish I could do that right now.— Marc Raimondi (@marc_raimondi) June 1, 2014
Maldonado needs to stick to light heavyweight, and he'd be wise to use this fight with Miocic as a reason to formulate a smarter, more technical approach moving forward.
What's Next for Miocic?
Miocic was originally scheduled to face Junior dos Santos at this event before Dos Santos pulled out with an injury. That fight still makes sense and Miocic left the cage completely unscathed, so that's the bout that needs to happen next.
What's Next for Maldonado?
Maldonado needs to rest, relax and return to the light heavyweight division.
While his swing-until-he-falls attitude didn't work against Miocic, he will still probably want to face stand-up artists moving forward, and the UFC can promote him as a scrappy, no-fear combatant in the future.
Because of this, I think a fight with the hard-hitting Englishman Jimi Manuwa makes sense next. Manuwa is coming off a knockout loss of his own, but he, like Maldonado, showed serious power and grit in each of his previous fights.
That fight might not affect the light heavyweight title picture too much, but it sure would be fun.