UFC 241 will see Daniel Cormier defend his heavyweight title in a rematch against Stipe Miocic, and Anthony Pettis will meet Nate Diaz in a crunch welterweight clash in the co-main event at the Honda Center in Anaheim California on Saturday.
Diaz hasn't fought in three years, but the pedigree of the 34-year-old submission specialist is undeniable.
The main card also features an intriguing bout between middleweight contenders Yoel Romero and Paulo Costa. Both fighters are targeting the strap held by Robert Whittaker, and the result of this fight will likely go a long way toward determining the next challenger.
Date: Saturday, August 17
Early Prelims: 6:30 p.m. ET/11:30 p.m. BST
Prelims: 8 p.m. ET/1 a.m. BST (Sunday)
Main: 10 p.m. ET/3 a.m. BST (Sunday)
TV Info: ESPN, BT Sport 1
- Daniel Cormier vs. Stipe Miocic: Heavyweight Title
- Anthony Pettis vs. Nate Diaz: Welterweight
- Yoel Romero vs. Paulo Costa: Middleweight
- Gabriel Benitez vs. Sodiq Yusuff: Featherweight
- Derek Brunson vs. Ian Heinisch: Middleweight
- Devonte Smith vs. Khama Worthy: Lightweight
- Raphael Assuncao vs. Cory Sandhagen: Bantamweight
- Christos Giagos vs. Drakkar Klose: Lightweight
- Manny Bermudez vs. Casey Kenney: Bantamweight
- Hannah Cifers vs. Jodie Esquibel: Strawweight
- Kyung Ho Kang vs. Brandon Davis: Bantamweight
- Sabina Mazo vs. Shana Dobson: Flyweight
Cormier Set for Another Successful Title Defense
Cormier has never lost as a heavyweight, and he still possesses the striking power to drop Miocic for a second time. A knockout was the outcome when the two met at UFC 226 back in July 2018.
The champion isn't happy that Miocic hasn't stepped into the Octagon once between the first fight and the rematch, per the UFC official website: "For him to be sitting on the sidelines for a year just rubbed me the wrong way. I don’t like people acting entitled."
Building resentment has left Cormier promising an emphatic victory Miocic won't soon forget: "I beat Stipe Miocic again, and this time, I not only beat him in the fight, but I ruin him. This one is really going to stick with him for the rest of his career."
For his part, Miocic has promised an aggressive response to Cormier's criticism:
UFC News @UFCNews
At the #UFC241 press conference Daniel Cormier said that he doesn't think Stipe Miocic is "good enough" to beat him. Stipe's response 🔊🆙 "We'll find out. I'm not good enough. When he's looking up at me I'll punch him in the face." Order the PPV: https://t.co/glD8hdJhnq https://t.co/WRA9Q6dDqT
Miocic is right to be confident since he was so dominant before dropping the belt. However, Cormier's victory was a conclusive one as he attacked selectively and efficiently coming out of the clinches.
The thunderous uppercut he scored amid one such exchange started Miocic's tumble. Cormier is the cleaner striker, and he should also be the quicker thanks to his experience as a champion in the middleweight division.
If Cormier can repeat succeeding in close early on, his formidable right hand will prove decisive once again.
Prediction: Cormier Wins via Knockout in Round 2
Diaz to Win on his Comeback
Three years is a long time to be away from the Octagon, but Diaz won't have lost any of the savvy and ground skills that made him one of UFC's best. His experience will be key, as will the core talent to transition into submissions better than most.
Even with some inevitable rust, Diaz is close to peak condition for his comeback:
Diaz slowing the pace will likely frustrate Pettis, who is at his best as a sudden striker. His long reach and mean left hand allow him to finish off many an opponent in quick time.
Getting at Diaz with that left will be tricky, though, and if Pettis' own defenses aren't on point, he'll become the latest in a long line to tap out to the California native.
Prediction: Diaz via Submission in Round 3
Romero to Edge Past Costa
Making amends will be on the mind of Romero, who lost a unanimous decision to Whittaker two years ago and was also on the losing end in the rematch thanks to a split decision back in 2018.
Staking his claim in today's title picture will demand beating Costa, the seventh-ranked fighter in the division.
Costa's four wins via knockout in UFC offer ample proof of the punching power he possesses.
Things have become heated between the pair, with Costa saying the fight is "personal" because Romero made accusations in the past his opponent had tested positive by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, per Nolan King and Dave Mandel of MMA Junkie.
Costa may come out swinging in a bid for payback, but it would be a mistake against an opponent adept at producing takedowns. Romero's Olympic-level expertise at freestyle wrestling means he can take Costa down to the mat and nullify those dangerous hands.
There has been no problem with Romero making weight, following failure to do so ahead of his last two bouts, per MMA Junkie's Steven Marrocco and Mike Bohn.
The clash of styles between the two will keep things close, but a well-conditioned Romero possesses the experience and groundwork to tip the scales his way.
Prediction: Romero via Unanimous Decision