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UFC 241 Results: Stipe Miocic Wins Heavyweight Title, Nate Diaz Dominates Pettis

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistAugust 18, 2019

ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 17:  Stipe Miocic celebrates his TKO victory over Daniel Cormier in their heavyweight championship bout during the UFC 241 event at the Honda Center on August 17, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

Stipe Miocic is once again heavyweight champion after shocking Daniel Cormier with a fourth-round knockout to win back the title and close out UFC 241

It appeared for a while that victory would elude Miocic as Cormier had the Clevelander figured out in the early going. He slammed him to the mat in the first round and established the early lead that carried through the first three rounds. 

While the challenger kept answering back, Cormier was the aggressor and controlled the pace of the fight. 

The tide started to turn in the third round, though. Miocic began firing back and even landed a takedown of his own. 

The adjustments would keep coming as he started going to the body with ripping left hooks. Ultimately, the body blows set up the massive right hands that put Cormier on the mat and earned Miocic a stoppage victory in the fourth round. 

For Miocic, it was another accomplishment that put him in rare company:

UFC News @UFCNews

.@StipeMiocic is the 4th fighter in @UFC history to recapture the undisputed UFC heavyweight championship (Couture, Sylvia, Velasquez). #UFC241 Final results: https://t.co/8CNpCy9LJX https://t.co/SsHBF50dao

For Cormier, it adds questions to what his future plans are. The now-former champion has talked about retirement before, but was non-committal about it after the fight:

Bloody Elbow @BloodyElbow

"I need to speak to my wife and we need to make an educated decision on what I need to do." - Daniel Cormier on retirement. #UFC241

It was a fittingly action-packed end to what was a strong night of fights. The card featured plenty of action as Nate Diaz returned in a vintage performance, Paulo Costa took a huge step forward and Derek Brunson delivered a strong showing. 

   

Main card

  • Stipe Miocic defeats Daniel Cormier via fourth-round TKO (4:09)
  • Nate Diaz defeats Anthony Pettis via unanimous decision (30-27 x 2, 29-28)
  • Paulo Costa defeats Yoel Romero via unanimous decision (29-28 x 3)
  • Sodiq Yusuff defeats Gabriel Benitez via first-round TKO (4:14) 
  • Derek Brunson defeats Ian Heinisch via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)

   

Undercard

  • Khama Worthy defeats Devonte Smith via first-round TKO (4:15) 
  • Cory Sandhagen defeats Raphael Assuncao via unanimous decision (30-27 x2, 29-28)
  • Drakkar Klose defeats Christos Giagos via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
  • Casey Kenney defeats Manny Bermudez via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
  • Hannah Cifers defeats Jodie Esquibel via unanimous decision (30-28, 30-27 x2)
  • Kyung Ho Kang defeats Brandon Davis via split decision (29-28 x2, 28-29)
  • Sabina Mazo defeats Shana Dobson via unanimous decision (30-24, 30-25 x2)

   

Nate Diaz vs. Anthony Pettis

For the first time in three years, Nate Diaz took to the Octagon and it didn't look like he missed a beat. 

Diaz showcased his typical pace and volume approach, drowning Anthony Pettis in a deluge of punches, elbows and kicks in both the stand-up and the clinch over the course of three rounds. Showtime was able to answer with counters early, but his output waned as the fight wore on.

Diaz's ability to come back as good as ever was impressive. As Mike Chiappetta noted, plenty of things have happened since he last fought:

Mike Chiappetta MMA @MikeChiappetta

Things that have occurred since Nate Diaz's last fight: -121 UFC events have taken place -11 of the 12 UFC championships have changed hands at least once -GSP unretired, won UFC MW title, retired again -Donald Cerrone fought 10 times -Over 200 fighters made their UFC debuts

The win sets the stage for a big fight for Diaz in the near future. After missing the last three years, he should be looking for a big-money fight. A third fight with Conor McGregor would make sense or a fight with the red-hot Jorge Masvidal, who Diaz called out following his win. 

     

Yoel Romero vs. Paulo Costa

The middleweight bout between Yoel Romero and Paulo Costa was one of the most highly anticipated fights on the card and it didn't disappoint as The Eraser took a hard-fought decision over The Soldier of God. 

From the outset, it was clear that both of the hulking 185ers were looking for a knockout:

UFC @ufc

IT'S CHAOS JUST LIKE WE THOUGHT! #UFC241 https://t.co/4q8gtD2Y8u

Costa took the first round with his aggression and work to the body. While Romero appeared to be pacing himself, the Brazilian raced to the early lead. 

Costa got the opportunity to show off his toughness in the second round as the Cuban started landing early and often before Costa rallied to take the third round on the scorecards. 

UFC @ufc

This fight is everything! #UFCf241 https://t.co/BELkKIViCC

This was one of those bouts where the fans were big winners. While it was a middleweight fight, it had all the trappings of a heavyweight slugfest, and it was a wonder that both were still standing when it was all over. 

Costa remains undefeated but was pushed to a decision for the first time in his professional career. Given Romero's only other losses in the last eight years have come against champion Robert Whittaker, it's hard to argue that Costa doesn't have a good case for a title shot in the near future.  

    

Gabriel Benitez vs. Sodiq Yusuff 

It wasn't a good start for Dana White's Contender Series alumni until Sodiq Yusuff acquitted his prospect status quite nicely with a first-round knockout of Gabriel Benitez. 

Yusuff, who is already 3-0 in the Octagon, showed a lot as a potential threat in the division. Benitez rocked Yusuff in the early going with a head kick, testing Yusuff's mettle and chin. As it turns out, he has plenty of both to go with plus-power. 

The Nigerian came back in a big way with a right hand that buckled his opponent. He showed killer instinct ending the fight with follow up hammer fists. Pundits were impressed by his moxie:

Ben Fowlkes @benfowlkesMMA

A lot of living packed into just a shade under one round there. Credit to Yusuff for staying calm and getting the finish.

As Luke Thomas notes, Yusuff is the just the latest of Nigerian talent in the UFC. 

Luke Thomas @lthomasnews

A card with Adesanya, Yusuff and Usman on it would be something. In Lagos? A place with Nigerian diaspora? I'm not sure, but these guys are asserting themselves in a major way. Giving back to the place that birthed them feels right.

With a win on a UFC pay-per-view card now under his belt, Yusuff is definitely worth keeping an eye on. 

   

Derek Brunson vs. Ian Heinisch

Ian Heinisch faced a step up in competition when he kicked off the main card against Derek Brunson. Brunson proved too much for the Dana White's Contender Series alumnus. 

Heinisch, whose UFC wins have come by decision, came out looking to make a statement early:

UFC Europe @UFCEurope

Now THAT'S how you start a round! 😱 Somehow this one is still going! @IanHeinischMMA #UFC241 https://t.co/emqk6w2LWn

However, that early onslaught spelled cardio problems later as Brunson showcased some veteran savvy in taking over the fight in the second round. 

Brunson was able to find his range and clearly outbox Heinisch in both the second and third rounds en route to the decision victory. 

Brunson has earned a reputation as a gatekeeper in the middleweight division, but his ability to pace himself and earn a come-from-behind decision is an interesting development. He's now won two decisions in a row when he previously had two decision wins in 14 fights.