UFC 226: Miocic vs. Cormier Fight Card, TV Info, Predictions and More

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistJuly 7, 2018

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 06:  (L-R) Opponents Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier face off during the UFC 226 weigh-in inside T-Mobile Arena on July 6, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

Even with a compromised co-main event, Saturday's UFC 226 is filed in the "can't miss" category of pay-per-views.

The main event features two UFC champions in what is a true superfight. Heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic will defend his crown for the fourth time against light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier. 

Outside of that scrap, there's plenty of intrigue. Francis Ngannou and Derrick Lewis have been promoted to the co-main event after a featherweight title fight between Max Holloway and Brian Ortega was scratched because of an injury to the champion. 

A welterweight collision between two strikers was also promoted to the main card in Paul Felder and Mike Perry to round out an interesting five-fight main card in Las Vegas. 

Here's a look at the card, all the TV info you need to catch the event and a look at some of the PPV's biggest fights. 


Main Card (10 p.m. ET, PPV)

  • Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier—heavyweight championship fight
  • Derrick Lewis vs. Francis Ngannou—heavyweight
  • Paul Felder vs. Mike Perry—welterweight
  • Michael Chiesa  vs. Anthony Pettis—catchweight
  • Gokhan Saki vs. Khalil Rountree—light heavyweight

Preliminary Card (8 p.m. ET, FS1)

  • Uriah Hall vs. Paulo Henrique Costa—middleweight
  • Raphael Assuncao vs. Rob Font—bantamweight
  • Drakkar Klose vs. Lando Vannata—lightweight
  • Max Griffin vs. Curtis Millender—welterweight

Preliminary Card (7 p.m. ET, Fight Pass)

  • Daniel Hooker vs. Gilbert Burns—lightweight
  • Jamie Moyle vs. Emily Whitmire—women's strawweight


Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier

LAS VEGAS, NV - FEBRUARY 02:  (L-R) Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier bump fists during the The Ultimate Fighter: Undefeated Cast & Coaches Media Day inside the UFC Performance institute on February 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuf
Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

Once upon a time, Daniel Cormier was an undefeated heavyweight who ran through all comers, winning the Strikeforce Grand Prix and going 2-0 against Frank Mir and Roy Nelson in his transition to the UFC.

If Cormier's training partner—Cain Velasquez—didn't look like an unstoppable force at heavyweight at the time, it's hard to tell what would have become of DC in the division. Instead, Cormier opted to drop to 205 and thus avoided fighting his champion teammate.

DC has captured the light heavyweight title. Now, fans will get to see how Cormier stacks up as a heavyweight.

Miocic is now the seemingly unstoppable force of the heavyweight division. His well-rounded game and athleticism have made him the most successful champion in the division's history with three consecutive title defense. Five of his six wins since 2015 have been by (T)KO.

The matchup should be interesting. Cormier (246 pounds) was heavier than Miocic (242.5) at the weigh-ins Friday, but the heavyweight champion boasts a five-inch height advantage and an eight-inch edge in reach.

Cormier is used to giving up length—even at light heavyweight—but he's also been caught by longer fighters such as Anthony "Rumble" Johnson, Alexander Gustafsson and Jon Jones.

DC's wrestling is undoubtedly his best weapon against Miocic. His opponent has proved to have effective wrestling, but outside the Francis Ngannou fight, it isn't where he's preferred to be in the cage. If Cormier can close the distance and secure takedowns on a regular basis, it will be his fight to lose.

That's easier said than done. Cormier has been hittable and rocked in fights against Jones, Gustafsson and even Volkan Oezdemir. While he's been able to fall back on his wrestling when that happens, Miocic will be a much larger opponent to bring down when he's tired.

Instead the deciding factor could be the counter-punching that Miocic has developed. He's become a knockout artist thanks to his timing on counters, and Cormier's hard-charging style should give the champion plenty of opportunities to show that.

Cormier could have success early, walking through Miocic's offense and scoring in the clinch or with his wrestling. But it's a matter of time before he gets caught by the champion's power.

Prediction: Miocic via third-round TKO.


Derrick Lewis vs. Francis Ngannou

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 06:  (L-R) Opponents Francis Ngannou of Cameroon and Derrick Lewis face off during the UFC 226 weigh-in inside T-Mobile Arena on July 6, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

Don't blink when this one is on. Derrick Lewis and Francis Ngannou have the ability to turn the lights out fast.

All six of Ngannou's wins in the UFC have ended either in the first or second round. Lewis has six wins in the same time frame with his fight-changing power.

If the staredown from Friday's weigh-in is any indication, neither will have a decision win in mind when the two collide in the co-main event:

UFC @ufc

NGANNOU & LEWIS GET INTENSE! @Francis_Ngannou & @TheBeast_UFC will settle the score in the co-main at #UFC226! https://t.co/leXrI3FCYK

Taking the fight at face value, this is a recovery bout for Ngannou. After a comprehensive loss at the hands of Miocic last time out, he will get an opponent who isn't going to challenge his wrestling too much and will employ the kind of Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots game The Predator would like to play.

The only catch is that Lewis is a live dog because of his power. For so many fighters the 31-year-old will see in the heavyweight division, simply being the first one to land the first big strike is the name of the game. 

If Ngannou wants to avoid back-to-back losses, he had better strike first.

What made Ngannou's rise to No. 1 contender so fascinating is the rate at which he progressed. From a second-round win over Luis Henrique in 2015 to kick off his UFC career to an annihilation of Alistair Overeem to earn a title shot, his aptitude for improvement has made him scary.

If that pattern continues after losing to Miocic, this fight shouldn't be a problem for him. Expect him to get back to knocking out people not named Miocic in a contest that is sure to bring the violence.


Michael Chiesa vs. Anthony Pettis

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 06:  (L-R) Opponents Michael Chiesa and Anthony Pettis face off during the UFC 226 weigh-in inside T-Mobile Arena on July 6, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

Michael Chiesa and Anthony Pettis will both be looking for a little redemption at UFC 226. 

The two were supposed to meet at UFC 223, but Chiesa suffered an injury in the aftermath of the Conor McGregor bus incident, and here we are. 

Chiesa is looking to recover from a humbling loss at the hands of Kevin Lee. After a heated buildup to the fight, Chiesa lasted just 4 minutes, 37 seconds before being choked out by the Motown Phenom. Previous to that, he was on a nice little three-fight win streak that included victories over Jim Miller and Beneil Dariush. 

Pettis is also coming off a loss. The former lightweight champion was retired by a rib injury in the third round of a fight against Dustin Poirier, leaving his record at 2-5 in his past seven contests.

Despite the recent struggles, Chiesa is going into the bout with a healthy amount of respect for Showtime. 

"I'm fueled by winning the title, and I'm facing a former world champion on Saturday," Chiesa said, per Adam Hill of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "He's still so dangerous. He's a vaunted striker with a good guard. That's a tough matchup for me, but that's what I want. I like the challenges he presents, but I think I'll be too much for him.”

That's a good attitude for Chiesa to have. Pettis is still capable of unfurling fight-ending strikes at a moment's notice, but Chiesa's skill set presents problems for his opponent.

Pettis has struggled with fighters who are willing to put the pressure on him and force him to fight off the back foot or against the fence. Chiesa is a big lightweight who is going to look to do exactly that. Maverick missed weight by 1.5 pounds Friday and loves to fight a grinding style of fight that can and will frustrate his opponent.

Unless Showtime has all of a sudden improved against that type of strategy, this is going to be a tricky out for him. Instead, we could see Chiesa neutralize his opponent for three rounds before taking a decision.

Prediction: Chiesa via unanimous decision.