Stipe Miocic is the new UFC heavyweight champion. On Saturday night in Curitiba, Brazil, Miocic scored a scintillating one-punch knockout over defending champion Fabricio Werdum.
Fox Sports: UFC tweeted a graphic acknowledging the changing of the guard:
Werdum's approach was questionable. He was ultra-aggressive from the opening horn, and that strategy led to his demise. When he was caught by a short right hand, Werdum was running toward a retreating Miocic with his hands wide, trying to land a left hand.
Miocic fired a counter that landed on Werdum's chin and knocked him out cold. The finish happened at the 2:47 mark of the first round, leaving the Brazilian crowd in a state of shock and awkward silence.
During his post-fight interview, the Cleveland, Ohio, native told his long-suffering sports city it finally has something to cheer about, per MMAFighting.com:
ZombieProphet was quick to add the Crying Jordan treatment to his tweet as he trolled Werdum after the loss:
Miocic's win will almost certainly set up a title defense against Alistair Overeem. The latter impressively stopped Andrei Arlovski at UFC Fight Night: Rotterdam on May 8. That battle of powerful strikers should be a fan-friendly contest.
Jacare Batters Belfort
Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza wants a shot at the UFC middleweight title, and he might have earned it Saturday. He destroyed Vitor Belfort in the first round via technical knockout.
Souza avoided Belfort's early punches and got the better of the renowned striker in stand-up exchanges. He opened a cut across Belfort's nose and took his fellow Brazilian to the mat, where he did the definitive damage. The flowing blood prompted the referee to stop the action so the doctor could take a look at Belfort's battered face.
That gave Belfort a temporary reprieve, but matters would conclude moments later. Souza again wound up in top control, and this time, nothing would rescue Belfort from the perilous position.
Souza pounded him until the referee stepped in to stop the onslaught. The question now is this: After the convincing victory, does Souza deserve the next shot at the 185-pound crown? The MMA community seems to be split.
Fox Sports: UFC and MMAFighting.com's Ariel Helwani see things differently:
Michael Bisping did defeat Anderson Silva, but most would argue The Spider had him out on his feet in the third round of that fight. Bisping has also had several opportunities to rise to the elite level in his career, but Souza has seemingly been passed over.
Perhaps the two men should fight each other to determine the No. 1 contender. A Souza vs. Bisping bout would make for a solid co-main event on an upcoming card.
Here's a look at all of the results from Saturday's card.
Fight Pass Prelims
- Renato Moicano def. Zubaira Tukhugov by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29).
- Sergio Moraes and Luan Chagas fight to draw (29-28, 28-29, 28-28).
- Antonio Rogerio Nogueira def. Patrick Cummins by first-round TKO.
Fox Sports 1 Prelims
- John Lineker def. Rob Font by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 29-28).
- Francisco Trinaldo def. Yancy Medeiros by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 29-26).
- Thiago Santos def. Nate Marquardt by first-round TKO.
- Demian Maia def. Matt Brown by third-round submission.
- Bryan Barberena def. Warlley Alves by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
- Mauricio "Shogun" Rua def. Corey Anderson by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29).
- Cris "Cyborg" Justino def. Leslie Smith by first-round TKO.
- Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza def. Vitor Belfort by first-round TKO.
- Stipe Miocic def. Fabricio Werdum by first-round TKO.
Nogueira Blasts Cummins
Little Nog's takedown defense and boxing were a nasty combination against Patrick Cummins. The Brazilian legend easily stopped Cummins' lumbering takedown attempts and picked him apart with pinpoint jabs and straight left hands.
A jab-straight left combination wobbled Cummins in the first round. Nogueira chased the stoppage win with his ground-and-pound, but somehow Cummins momentarily got to his feet.
Nogueira didn't let up. He smashed away with left hands until referee Leon Roberts called for an end to the bout. The UFC tweeted this celebratory moment between the Nogueira twins:
Todd Martin of the Los Angeles Times and Sherdog thought Cummins' chin was his downfall:
He's been stopped in each of his four losses in the UFC.
Fox Sports' Damon Martin thinks Nikita Krylov will be next for Nogueira:
That would make for an interesting bout.
Santos Makes Nate Look Not So Great
Thiago Santos is a dangerous man. His striking is among the best in the UFC. Usually, MMA isn't the sport for comparisons, but he's a bigger version of Edson Barboza.
On Saturday, he smashed through over-the-hill legend Nate Marquardt in the first round. A short left hook hurt Marquardt initially. A body hook and a flurry of punches ended the bout.
Santos has now won four fights in a row, and he called out some interesting names after the win, per MMAFighting.com:
Santos vs. Whittaker gets this MMA writer's vote:
MMAFighting.com's Luke Thomas spelled out Marquardt's not-so-great recent fight history:
Maia Smothers Brown
Demian Maia is the greatest submission fighter in the history of MMA. The 38-year-old Brazilian used a rear-naked choke in the third round against Matt Brown to earn the 11th submission win of his career.
Maia dominated the majority of the bout with his jiu-jitsu. Brown did hurt Maia early in the third round, but he couldn't get the finish. That was his only opportunity, as Maia regained his wherewithal and resumed his ground dominance.
Late in the third, Maia got his arm under Brown's chin, and the latter couldn't resist any longer. He tapped, and Maia got the win. MMAFighting.com and the site's Shaheen Al-Shatti tweeted about Maia's exceptional ground game:
At some point, Maia has to get a title shot. He's won five fights in a row, and it's getting tougher to ignore him.
Cyborg Mows Down Smith
Leslie Smith was served up, and Cris "Cyborg" Justino feasted. It was clear in the early moments of the first round that Smith's night would be short.
Cyborg found a home for most of her beautiful combinations. She blasted Smith with a left-right combo that put Smith down. Cyborg started raining down ground-and-pound shots until the referee stopped the bout.
Smith wasn't happy about the stoppage, though. She felt it was early, and it may have been—but there's no doubt Smith was going to lose.
Cyborg was vicious en route to the win. The fight took place at a 140-pound catchweight, but there is speculation that Cyborg could compete in the bantamweight division. After Saturday night's performance, don't expect to see women lining up for that challenge.
On May 29, the UFC will go back to Las Vegas, and the card will feature an awesome main event. Thomas Almeida will take on fellow hot prospect Cody Garbrandt. Both men possess exceptional striking skills, and neither man has a loss on his record—but someone's zero must go.
In the co-main event, Renan Barao will move up to featherweight to take on Jeremy Stephens. It should be another strong card.
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