Baseline MMA – Episode 10: Rise of the 35ers

Josh and Cody return with a breakdown of the UFC bantamweight division including Cory Sandhagen’s win over Marlon Moraes plus a preview of the upcoming title fight between Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling.

Also, a look at the recent moves by Bellator to adding some exciting names to their roster of fighters and a full breakdown of the upcoming main event between former title challengers Brian Ortega and The Korean Zombie.

Baseline MMA – Episode 9: Nunes’ Effect

Josh and Cody take a look at the upcoming UFC Fight Night: Holm vs. Aldana fight card and talk about the state of the UFC women’s bantamweight division.

Baseline MMA – Episode 8: The Nightmare Continues

Cody and Josh are back and give a full review of UFC 253 from Adesanya’s win and controversial celebration to the UFC entering the Blachowicz-era at 205 and the continuation of Diego Sanchez’s career inside the octagon.

Also, an in-depth look at the stacked welterweight division and some potential fights coming later this year!

Baseline MMA – Episode 7: A Return to Fight Island

Josh and Cody review the final UFC APEX show this season featuring Colby Covington’s win over Tyron Woodley and what’s next for both fighters. Plus, thoughts on the rest of the card including the quick KO by Khamzat Chimaev!

Then, it’s on to Fight Island for the weekend Pay Per View featuring two title fights including Israel Adesanya vs. Paulo Costa and Dominick Reyes up against Jan Blachowicz! A full UFC 253 preview and more on this episode!

UFC Fight Night: Covington vs. Woodley Staff Picks and Predictions

As the UFC is preparing for a return to “Fight Island,” first, it’s one final show from the APEX…and it’s a big one.

While many of the recent shows have been lackluster in terms of name value and also been hit hard by recent positive COVID test, the Saturday show is a borderline Pay Per View-quality show with a heated rivalry as the headliner.

The Baseline MMA Podcast crew breakdown the main card and give their picks for UFC Fight Night: Covington vs. Woodley!

Welterweight Main Event: Colby Covington (15-2) vs. Tyron Woodley (19-5-1)

Josh Thomas: Over the past few fights, it seems like forward pressing, relentless chain wrestlers have been the kryptonite of Tyron Woodley. I can’t see this playing out any different. Covington by Unanimous Decision

Cody Guinn: These two legit do not like one another. While both have outstanding wrestling backgrounds and some slick grappling skills, I think this fight stays on it’s feet for the most part. Woodley has lost a step and his confidence while Colby, well…is Colby. Covington gets it done and has some fun in his post-fight interview. Covington by 5th Round TKO

Welterweight: Donald Cerrone (36-15) vs. Niko Price (14-4)

Josh: “Cowboy” is the much cleaner striker by far, so I believe that’s going to be his key to victory against the power and brawling style of Price. Cerrone by Unanimous Decision

Cody: Cerrone is a sharp striker and can never be counted out, but Niko is a bit wild and has serious fight ending power. I think Cerrone has some moments, but gets cracked late in the second for the biggest win of Price’s career. Price by 2nd Round TKO

Middleweight: Khamzat Chimaev (8-0) vs. Gerald Meerschaert (31-13)

Josh: As much as I feel for Meerschaert and would actually like to see him pull off the upset to prove a point, I don’t see it happening. I see this another Chimaev mauling. Chimaev by 1st Round TKO

Cody: Meerschaert is a veteran and now, has something to prove with all the talk about Chimaev and his double-booking. But, Gerald may be in over his head against the aggressive style of Chimaev. Not saying GM3 can’t win, but I don’t see it happening. Chimaev by 1st Round TKO

Light Heavyweight: Johnny Walker (17-5) vs. Ryan Spann (18-5)

Josh: This could be the Fight of the Night. Spann is more well-rounded than Walker, but Walker can finish a fight from literally anywhere. Due to Walker’s recent camp and personal life changes, I’ll take him by a nasty finish. Walker by 1st Round KO

Cody: This is my favorite fight on the card. I love watching Johnny Walker fight and I love the relocation to train under John Kavanagh at SBG, but I believe Ryan Spann is one of the most underrated fighters on the current UFC roster. A win for Spann here could launch him into title contention. Spann by 3rd Round Submission

Women’s Strawweight: Mackenzie Dern (8-1) vs. Randa Markos (10-9-1)

Josh: I honestly believe this fight could be a lot more entertaining than people give it credit to be. But, I think the ending is pretty predictable. Dern by 1st Round Submission

Cody: Markos has fought much higher level opponents throughout her UFC run including her run on The Ultimate Fighter a few years back. Nonetheless, her style does not match up well with the world-level BJJ of Dern. Dern by 2nd Round Submission

Middleweight: Kevin Holland (18-5) vs. Darren Stewart (12-5)

Josh: What a banger to kick-off the main card. Another fight that could steal the show. I like both guys and both are coming off big wins, but I like Holland in this match-up. Holland by Unanimous Decision

Cody: Both these guys looked impressive in their earlier showings in the APEX, but I believe Kevin Holland has the tools to become a legit contender at 185. I like Holland getting another big win to start the show. Holland by 2nd Round TKO

Cody’s Quick Prelim Picks
Daivd Dvorak over Jordan Espinosa
Mirsad Bektic over Damon Johnson
Mayra Bueno Silva over Mara Romero Borella
Sarah Alpar over Jessica-Rose Clark
Randy Costa over Journey Newson
Andre Ewell over Irwin Rivera
T.J. Laramie over Darrick Minner
Jerome Rivera over Tyson Nam

Join us next week on the Baseline MMA Podcast to recap the final show from the APEX and see how we did with our picks! Plus, a preview of the upcoming return to “Fight Island!”

The baddest man on the planet – UFC’s Stipe Miocic

The declaration of Stipe Miocic as the baddest man

Long before the UFC rose to its prolific mega status as the leader of combat sports, the term “baddest man on the planet” had always reserved for the heavyweight champion. He hails from UFC as a champion, I award Stipe Miocic The Baddest Man on the Planet.

It started with Iron Mike In 1986. Mike Tyson would beat Trevor Berbick by a 2nd Round TKO to earn himself the WBC heavyweight title at the ripe age of 20 years old.

At the time Tyson became the reigning champion and the youngest champion ever. Current UFC Heavyweight Champion and the currently dubbed “baddest man on the planet” Stipe Miocic was only 4 years old when Iron Mike won his first title. 

A short 7 years later, In 1993 combat sports would experience a change. At the McNichols Sports Arena in Denver, Colorado, Ultimate Fighting Championship was born. Ultimate Fighting Championship, or UFC as we more commonly know it was curated and created by a man named Art Davie.

Davie’s quest to determine “what is the greatest combat sport”. UFC1 would feature Royce Gracie, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu blackbelt, Gerard Gordeau, a karate instructor, and more famously Ken Shamrock.

The UFC would endure logo changes, gain superstars, and massively blow up becoming larger than life company throughout the early 2000s. The UFC has had A total of 18 total heavyweight champions. Among that list are some of the all-time greatest athletes to ever compete for the UFC banner. 

The Champ is here

Stipe Miocic became the 19th one. 

The baddest man on the planet. 

Stipe Miocic beat Daniel Cormier on August 17th of 2019 by fourth-round TKO.  A rematch of their first affair that saw Cormier win by a first-round knockout. 

The two were set to fight again almost a year later to complete the trilogy. To finally dub not only the baddest man on the planet but the greatest heavyweight in UFC history. This would be the first fight the duo would have that would go a full 25 minutes.

A back and forth fight that Stipe would take control of in the championship rounds showcased two of the best mixed martial artists the sport has ever known. Two great heavyweights, both trying like hell to impose their will on the other and cement their legacy. For one man it meant riding into the sunset as a champion, and for the other, it would be defending his spot atop of the all-time greats list. 

Stipe Miocic would win a unanimous decision and edge Cormier out for the all-time great heavyweight slot once again. 

When Mike Tyson was the baddest man on the planet, he was everywhere. T.V. shows, Game Shows, magazines, the news. Tyson had a terrifying five-year reign that saw him absolutely destroying his opposition. He was brutal with violent acts of both speed and power. A symphony of strikes that more often than not shut the lights off and sent them packing to medical professionals.

Time and time again fans would pay the $50 for a pay-per-view to watch Iron Mike. He would obliterate his opponent in just a minute and a half. Mike Tyson became a celebrity, now being featured in movies, documentaries and is a pretty regular face on televisions everywhere. His baddest man on the planet’s reputation carried him a long way. 

A duel fighter or rather fire fighter

Today’s baddest man on the planet is in many ways the opposite. Stipe Miocic lives in the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio, and lives out his days as a father, husband, and first responder. 

The son of Croatian immigrants, he volunteers in his community as both a fireman and a paramedic. Stipe was working as a volunteer since 2010 after he completed 18 months of school and required training.

Additionally, it is reported Stipe had to push back the trilogy fight with Cormier because he was working as an EMT during the pandemic. Stipe volunteers at Valley View Fire Department in Cleveland, Ohio. He dedicates 12 hours a week to the fire department. He says once he retires from mixed martial arts he plans to go full time. Two weeks before his standout performance against the UFCs hardest hitter Francis Ngannou, Stipe was on a fire call from 7 PM until 7 AM. 

The seal of baddest man accolade

Furthermore, people are upset that Daniel Cormier didn’t get the retirement send-off that he earned. It is worth noting that Stipe solidified himself as the greatest heavyweight of all time. This is with the conclusion of the trilogy. Some of Stipes’s most notable wins include a decision over Francis Ngannou, a KO over Fabricio Werdrum, Junior Dos Santos, Allistair Overeem, Mark Hunt, and Andrei Arlovski. 

Whether you consider him the greatest heavyweight in mixed martial arts history, or the greatest heavyweight in UFC history, Stipe Miocic is undoubtedly The Baddest Man on the Planet. 

Check out other MMA coverage on Baseline Times

UFC 252 Results and Recap

While to some, the big fights may lack the “big fight feel” with zero crowd inside the UFC Apex. Last night felt like an exception.

The trilogy between UFC Heavyweight Champion Stipe Miocic and former Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormer clashed in the UFC 252 main event and fans were all in on what would decide who the UFC Heavyweight GOAT truly is.

Before the headliner, the show was filled with some outstanding fights including a card-opening Fight of the Night, a hype train derailed and a title fight for the ages.

UFC Heavyweight Championship: Stipe Miocic (20-3) defeated Daniel Cormier (22-3) by Unanimous Decision (48-47, 49-46 X 2)

After the first two fights ended before the final horn each by TKO, Miocic and Cormier met one final time to end a friendly-rivalry between two of the greatest UFC fighters of all-time.

In the first round, Cormier mixed up his wrestling, top game and striking to gain an early upper hand even rocking the champion in the closing ten seconds of the round. From there, the fight was basically all Miocic.

Stipe Miocic used his rangy boxing and was impressive by out-grappling Cormier in the clinch en route to a unanimous decision and would close the book on his three-year rivalry with “DC.”

Post-fight, Cormier would state that this would be hit for him saying to Joe Rogan post-fight, “I’m only interested in fighting for titles. I don’t forsee I will be fighting for [anymore] titles. That’ll be it for me, I’ve had a great run.”

Bantamweight (135 lbs.): Marlon Vera (16-6-1) defeated Sean O’Malley (12-1) by First Round TKO (elbow) at 4:40

The “Suga Show” caught most the headlines heading into UFC 252, but it was the “Chito Show” that would catch headlines post-fight.

O’Malley landed some hard leg kicks early in the bout, but it was a kick by Vera that would compromise the lower leg/foot of O’Malley causing him to no longer be able to place weight on that leg.

Vera would capitalize once the fight his the canvas and would finish O’Malley with some nasty elbows resulting in a quick stoppage by referee Herb Dean. Some said the stoppage was too quick, but considering it would’ve been extremely difficult for O’Malley to even stand if the fight continued, the stoppage was likely for the best.

“Suga Sean” has some durability issues to address before he can be considered a major threat in the bantamweight division while “Chito” Vera is in a great position to make a leap in the bantamweight division now with six wins in a row at 135 lbs.

Heavyweight (265 lbs.): Jair Rozenstruik (11-1) defeated Junior dos Santos (21-8) by Second Round KO (punch) at 3:47

Less than four months since his knockout loss to Franics Ngannou, “Bigi Boy” jumped right back into the heavyweight shark tank against former champion Junior dos Santos in a great match-up of two talented strikers.

JDS had his moments early landed some good strikes from his traditional boxing stance, but it was the power of Rozenstruik in the second round that would drop dos Santos and some heavy shots as JDS attempted to return to his feet would drop him a second time leading to the stoppage.

Now with heavyweight wins over Arlovski, Overeem and Dos Santos, Rozenstruik will now jump comfortably into the top five of the heavyweight ranks. A potential fight to keep an eye on is a future match-up with Derrick Lewis as a five-round headliner sometime later this year.

Catchweight (149.5 lbs.): Daniel Pineda (27-13, 2 NC) defeated Herbert Burns (11-3) by Second Round TKO (strikes) at 4:37

The Burns brothers have been on the rise in the UFC with Gilbert the top contender at welterweight while Herbert entered UFC 252 on a five-fight winning streak.

Daniel Pineda entered his second stint in the UFC returning to the promotion after six years way and would make an instant impact. Pineda would land some hard ground and pound from the top position in the opening round.

Burns would answer taking Pineda right to the ground to begin round two, but Pineda would survive some early trouble, sweep into a better position and pound out Burns with punches and elbows from the crucifix position.

For Pineda, it’s a huge win to get the ball rolling in his second run in the UFC while Burns will have some new questions to answer including what happen with his weight cut as he missed the 145 mark on Friday by nearly five pounds and didn’t look in very good shape in the loss.

Bantamweight (135 lbs.): Merab Dvalishvili (12-4) defeated John Dodson (22-12) by Unanimous Decision (30-27 X 3)

While John Dodson avoided the takedown for the most part stuffing 18 of the 20 takedown attempts from Merab, it was still the constant pressure and striking advantage that led to the clear-cut victory for Dvalishvili.

“The Machine” has now won five fights in a row all by decision since beginning his UFC run 0-2. Training alongside top bantamweight contender Aljamain Sterling, Merab is a fighter to watch in the division for the remainder of the year.

Lightweight (155 lbs.): Vinc Pichel (13-2) defeated Jim Miller (32-15) by Unanimous Decision (29-28 X 2, 29-27)

Jim Miller continues to make UFC history with his amount of fights and time inside the Octagon, but on Saturday, Vinc Pichel was the one leaving with the biggest win of his UFC career.

Pichel made his UFC debut in 2012, but injuries have led to him missing significant time over the last eight years, but “From Hell” Pichel will now look to keep some momentum following a huge win by out-wrestling and out-grappling one of the toughest guys in the lightweight division in Jim Miller.

Women’s Strawweight (115 LBS.): Virna Jandiroba (16-1) defeated Felice Herrig (14-9) by First Round Submission (armbar) at 1:44

Following a near two-year layoff, Felice Herrig returned to the Octagon looking to snap a two-fight losing streak, but instead would run into one of the most underrated fighters in the division in Virna Jandiroba.

Jandiroba would quickly drag Herrig to the ground, work some strikes and transitions right into a slick armbar submission in just a bit over 90 seconds.

While the loss may lead to the end of the UFC run for Herrig, it puts some much needed attention on Jandiroba who has won three of her last four fights by submission with her lone loss to former champion Carla Esparza.

Catchweight (146.5 lbs.): Daniel Chavez (11-3) defeated T.J. Brown (14-8) by Unanimous Decision (29-28 X 3)

In maybe the most under-the-radar fight on the card, Daniel Chavez made his promotion debut by defeated T.J. Brown in impressive fashion.

Chavez would land some strong strikes clearly hurting Brown early in the fight and then, would end the fight with multiple takedowns to seal the deal on a victory.

Women’s Strawweight (115 lbs.): Livia Renata Souza (14-2) defeated Ashley Yoder (7-6) by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28 X 2)

In a match-up of two talented grapplers, both Livia Souza and Ashley Yoder would fight a bit everywhere in the fifteen minutes.

Yoder held the advantage in both significant strikes and in control time, but it was Souza who would get the nod from the judges making it five wins in her last six bouts for the former Invicta champion.

Heavyweight (265 lbs.): Chris Daukaus (9-3) defeated Parker Porter (10-6) by First Round TKO (punches) at 4:28

Parker Porter had a major size advantage against Daukaus, but it would be Chris who would hold an advantage everywhere else.

Daukaus would use a great mix of power and precision striking to hurt Porter before finishing him with a lethal knee and punches on the ground leading to the stoppage towards the end of the opening round.

Featherweight (145 lbs.): Kai Kamaka III (8-2) defeated Tony Kelley (6-2) by Unanimous Decision (29-28 X 3)

In the UFC 252 Fight of the Night, two men making their UFC debut would put on an impressive fight as Kai Kamaka and Tony Kelley would land a combined 228 significant strikes.

Kamaka would have the advantage on the feet in round one and also land five takedowns in the bout to counter the grit and clinch work of Kelley leading to a unanimous decision. Both men will be fun to watch going forward in some fun future fights at 145 lbs.

Join us this upcoming week for a new episode of the Baseline MMA Podcast with a full round-up of the show and upcoming events and match-ups!

UFC 252 Staff Picks and Predictions

The UFC returns to Pay Per View on Saturday with a massive heavyweight main event. The title is on the line, but in reality, there is much more. For a full preview of the match-up between Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier, check out this awesome piece from our own Josh Thomas.

As for the entire show, it features “The Suga Show” Sean O’Malley returning against the tough Chito Vera plus a heavyweight showdown between Junior Dos Santos and Jair Rozenstuik!

It’s the first UFC Pay Per View since Fight Island and we’re pumped! Here is the Baseline MMA’s staff picks and predictions for UFC 252.

UFC Heavyweight Championship: Stipe Miocic (Champion, 19-3) vs. Daniel Cormier (22-2, 1 NC)

Gabe Lewis: While some believe Miocic’s first loss to DC was a result of damage from the Ngannou fight, the second fight left no doubt who the better fighter was. For Cormier to win the third, he must control Miocic on the ground with his world-class wrestling. DC is on the wrong side of 40, but still has the skills to wear down the champion. Cormier ends his MMA career on top. Cormier by Split Decision

Josh Thomas: I’m truly torn on this fight. On one hand, I’ve never not pulled for Stipe, but I also would love to see DC go out on a win and ride into the sunset. I feel Cormier will be a lot more reserved and patient on the feet in this bout compared to the previous two. I also see DC utilizing much more grappling in this fight. For the first time, I can’t pick just one. I’ll take Miocic by 2nd Round TKO or Cormier by 3rd Round Submission. Pick ‘Em

Cody Guinn: The winner of this fight will likely be named the UFC’s heavyweight GOAT, but I feel neither man is retiring after this one. I believe this time around it’s back and forth. Rounds 1 and 4, Stipe outboxes Cormier on the feet. Rounds 2, 3 and 5, Cormier gets the fight to the ground leading to a DC decision. Cormier may put on a retirement show post-fight, but there’s too much money on the table with a potential Cormier-Jon Jones heavyweight match-up down the road. Cormier by Unanimous Decision

Sean O’Malley (12-0) vs. Marlon Vera (15-6-1)

Gabe: O’Malley has had some tough luck with drug test debacles and setbacks just getting to a fight. Following his walk-off KO of Eddie Wineland, O’Malley is sipping his own Kool-Aid. I would love Vera to humble O’Malley, but Sean has finished 10 of his last 12 opponents so that would be throwing money away. O’Malley by 2nd Round TKO

Josh: I believe Chito surprises many on Saturday. I’m not a “Suga” Sean hater at all, but think this is a huge step up in competition compared to previous opponents in the UFC. Vera by 3rd Round Submission

Cody: I truly believe O’Malley is a future superstar, but I really hope he isn’t looking past Chito Vera. Vera’s last five finishes have all been spectacular and his fight with Song Yadong was a classic that many though Vera should’ve won. Vera will give O’Malley a run for his money, but I’ll still buy in to the “Suga Show” on Saturday. O’Malley by Split Decision

Junior dos Santos (21-7) vs. Jair Rozenstruik (10-1)

Gabe: I tend to favor the up and coming fighters over veterans past their prime and this one is no exception. I see both men trading shots early and often, but Rozenstruik pulling out the KO against the former champion. Rozenstruik by 1st Round KO

Josh: dos Santos is a long-time top five heavyweight and has some great boxing for the division, but against a man with over 80 professional kickboxing bouts, JDS’ striking may not hold up. While this could be a repeat of dos Santos’ fight against Tuivasa, I believe we see “Bigi Boy” shut the lights off on dos Santos. Rozenstruik by 1st Round TKO

Cody: This fight could go a few different way. Dos Santos could try to grapple where he would have an advantage against the stand-up style of Jair…or Dos Santos could test his boxing against the powerful kickboxer. One of these game plans could get someone knocked unconscious in a scary way. Rozenstruik by 2nd Round KO

Herbert Burns (11-2) vs. Daniel Pineda (26-13, 2 NC)

Gabe: This is a classic grappler match-up with this bout. Both men have slick submission skills and the potential to end the fight early. I have Burns as the favorite with more consistency and a bit sharper executing his game plan. Burns by 2nd Round Submission

Josh: Close fight here on paper with two guys who are on hot streaks. I’ll go with Burns in a close bout. Burns by Unanimous Decision

Cody: Pineda is returning to the UFC following a conversational run in PFL. Pineda has looked outstanding since leaving the UFC in 2014 after a 3-4 run and is undefeated since 2018. Burns is on a five-fight winning streak all by finish. This is my favorite for Fight of the Night and I’ll give a slight advantage to the experience of Pineda. Pineda by Split Decision

John Dodson (22-11) vs. Merab Dvalishvii (11-4)

Gabe: Decision is likely in this one as both men have struggled in recent memory putting opponents away. I’ll side with Merab in this decision. Dvalishvii by Unanimous Decision

Josh: Two big statistics standout when looking at this fight: Dodson’s 80% takedown defense rate against Merab’s 8.67 takedowns per round in the UFC. Something has to give and I’ll take Dvalishvii’s game plan to eventually wear down Dodson. Dvalishvii by Unanimous Decision

Cody: This fight will cover the entire Octagon whether it’s from Dodson using his fast feet to keep distance from Merab or if it’s Dvalishvii shooting repeatedly to drag Dodson into deep water. While Dodson doesn’t have the same speed he had in his top ten days, he’s still never been finished in his MMA career. Dodson will likely need to be the one to get a finish in this one to pull out a win. Dvalishvii by Split Decision

Cody’s Quick Prelim Picks
Jim Miller over Vinc Pichel
Virna Jandiroba over Felice Herrig
TJ Brown over Danny Chavez
Livia Souza over Ashley Yoder
Chris Daukaus over Parker Porter
Kai Kamaka III over Tony Kelley

Join us next week on the Baseline MMA Podcast to recap UFC 252 and see how we did with our picks!

More than a World Title: What’s on The Line in Miocic-Cormier III

When you think of all-time great heavyweight mixed martial artists, two names are cemented at the top of the Heavyweight Mount Rushmore: Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier.

While most people would notably remember Daniel “DC” Cormier for his championship runs at light heavyweight, it was heavyweight where he would start his career.

He debuted as a professional martial artist as a heavyweight for Strikeforce, winning two fights back to back with strikes. He’d go on to claim a pair of world titles, A King Of The Cage heavyweight title and a XMMA title before returning to Strikeforce.

In his second run with Strikeforce, Cormier would be named an alternate for the Heavyweight Grand Prix, which featured heavyweight legends and superstars such as Fedor Emelianenko, Alistair Overeem, Fabricio Werdum and Josh Barnett.

Cormier would win his reserve bout over Jeff Monson by decision and then would replace Overeem in the Grand Prix semi-finals against Big Foot Silva who was coming off a second round TKO of Fedor.

Cormier would batter Silva winning by first round TKO and would march to the finals where he would rag-doll Josh Barnett for five rounds to become the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Champion.

After the UFC-Strikeforce merger in 2013, Cormier would jump over to the UFC and would fight two more times at heavyweight, this time under the UFC banner before making the cut to light heavyweight and embarking on a title run.

He’d fall short to pound-for-pound star and Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones via Unanimous Decision. As fate would have it, DC’s next battle would again be for the light heavyweight title, now vacated, where he would capture it in the 3rd round over power-puncher Anthony Johnson. This win would take solidify his legacy as champion.

After going 4-0, 1 NC while holding on to the Light Heavyweight title, Cormier would attempt to further solidify his GOAT status by competing for another belt: the UFC Heavyweight Championship; held around the waist of none other than the baddest man on the planet: Stipe Miocic.

Stipe’s run in the UFC has been nothing short of spectacular. A proud, Ohio born and bred fighter with a D-1 wrestling background on one hand and a golden gloves championship in the other. Stipe would enter the promotion a perfect 6-0 before winning his first three in the UFC before falling victim to 7-foot heavyweight prospect Stefan Struve by a lethal Superman punch in second round.

Stipe would recover and win his next three before dropping a decision loss to heavyweight staple Junior Dos Santos in a Fight of the Night performance.

The performance against JDS would launch Miocic to another level. After this fight he’d go on to win his next two by dominant finishes against big names Mark Hunt and Andrei Arlovski earning him an opportunity to fight then champion Fabricio Werdrum. Stipe would travel to Werdrum’s home of Curitiba, Brazil to dethrone the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu wizard in just two and a half minutes.

The now World Champion would go on to defend the crown by picking up a first round KO over legend Alistair Overeem followed by earning revenge over Junior Dos Santos; this time, earning the win by first round TKO.

Miocic would then be faced with a new challenge: the most feared man in the heavyweight division and the hardest hitter in the UFC: Francis Ngannou. Stipe would go on to dominantly defeat Ngannou establishing himself as possibly the best Heavyweight Champion in UFC’s storied heavyweight history.

Miocic’s championship run was nothing short of incredible and he truly looked unstoppable. Therefore, the fight was set for July 7th, 2018…Champion vs Champion; Great vs Great. Two Hall of Famers clashing with a potential GOAT status on the line.

Stipe Miocic would defend his Heavyweight title against then Light Heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormier.

It headlined a stacked card and was set to determine “The Greatest” heavyweight of all-time. As fate would have it, it only took DC one round to cement himself in double champ history.

Daniel Cormier’s deadly clinch strikes would catch Stipe with a thundering right hook that would set the Ohio native down. Daniel said earlier in the week, “I’ll win and never be forgotten,” when talking about the fight and his double champ status. That night, he proved to be right.

A common theme among dominant champions is how quickly they tend to get rematches. Anderson Silva got his rematch against Weidman, Jose Aldo got his rematch against Holloway, and now Stipe would get his against Daniel Cormier. The rematch between the two was set for just a little over a year from their previous match-up on August 17th, 2019.

Cormier had went on to defend his newly captured Heavyweight gold and had vacated his Light Heavyweight belt in the meantime. Stipe was coming back after more than a year on the sidelines.

A father, husband and volunteer firefighter, Miocic took the time, healed his body and prepared it for another war against DC.

The rematch started the way the first affair had ended. DC was leading the dance with his strikes and was taking and holding Miocic down with ease. Stipe lost the first two rounds undoubtedly, the third being a bit of a toss up.

Miocic was gaining momentum though, and gaining it quick.

In the fourth round he would make an adjustment with a minute left that would win him the fight: body strikes.

Miocic would repeatedly pepper hooks to the liver, getting Daniel to cover his body and open his head, where Stipe was landing strikes consistently. It was this adjustment that he would use to drop and finish Cormier on the ground, recapturing his title in the process.

A heartbroken Cormier would quickly speak about wanting a rematch: a trilogy to determine who the All-Time Greatest Heavyweight is. Stipe would, of course, accept.

This Saturday, August 15th, will be two days shy of a year since their last encounter.

If Cormier can bounce back and avenge his most recent loss, he can end his MMA career as the greatest heavyweight of all-time. One can make the argument maybe the greatest fighter of all-time.

Notable wins over Josh Barnett, Frank Mir, Roy Nelson, Derrick Lewis and what would be a second win over Miocic can certainly cement him on the Heavyweight MMA Mount Rushmore not to mention he simultaneously held both the Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight title; the only fighter to ever accomplish this .

On the other hand, if Miocic can get past DC a second time and hold onto his title, his resume will include the likes of Mark Hunt, Andrei Arlovski, Fabricio Werdum, Alistair Overeem, Junior dos Santos, Francis Ngannou and second win over Cormier. The same statement can be made for him.

Two of the baddest men on the planet will conclude a trilogy that not only has a world championship at stake, but the ultimate bragging rights as well.

Both men wanting to attain heavyweight GOAT status while also ending their respective careers as a champion.

It’s been no secret Daniel Cormier has plans to retire after Saturday. It’s been speculated that Stipe might have the same intentions.

Either way this fight goes, the fight itself should be an absolute banger. Both men come into the cage with multiple Fight of the Night and Performance of the Night bonuses. Four of both Stipe and Cormier’s last five fights have ended before the final bell.

Stipe Miocic vs Daniel Cormier will be held at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday August 15th. More than a World Title, the winner of Miocic-Cormier III will determine who is the greatest heavyweight in UFC history.

UFC 252 Main Card (Begins 10:00 p.m. ET on ESPN+):
Stipe Miocic vs Daniel Cormier
Sean O’Malley vs Marlon “Chito” Vera
Junior Dos Santos vs Jairzinho Rozenstruik
John Dodson vs Merab Dvalishvili
Magomed Ankalaev vs Ion Cutelaba

More from Baseline MMA

MMA Weekend Recap: Lewis Takes Out Oleinik, Chandler UFC Bound?

As many sports around the world continue to return to normalcy, the MMA leader had yet another show featuring multiple finishes on Saturday.

The UFC wasn’t along this weekend though as Bellator and RIZIN both featured big shows over the weekend.

With multiple shows and multiple headlining performances, we take a look back at all things MMA from your weekend.

The Black Beast With Another KO and Another Memorable Quote

In the UFC main event Saturday night, Derrick Lewis returning looking a bit slimmer than usual and came out firing in the first round against long-time fight veteran and submission specialist Aleksei Oleinik.

Lewis played a risky game in the first round throwing Oleinik to the ground and looking for ground and pound. Oleinik would sweep the bigger Lewis and nearly apply a scarf hold, or as Lewis referred to it, a “British Bulldog.” Lewis would survive until the end of the first and go with a new game plan in the second round.

Lewis would come up throwing heavy leather in the second dropping Oleinik and then pouring down heavy punches leading to a stoppage at 21 seconds in the second round.

Lewis has now won three fights in a row and is set up for another likely headliner role next likely against either Alistair Overeem, Curtis Blaydes or possibly a rematch with Francis Ngannou. Before that, Lewis expressed interest in shedding some more weight before returning to the Octagon late this year.

Weidman Back In The Win Column, Wants Another Run at 185

It’s been a tough last four years for former Middleweight Champion Chris Weidman as he entered the Octagon on Saturday on a two-fight losing streak and overall, losing five of his last six being finished in each of those defeats.

It was a must-win situation for the “All-American.”

Weidman faced a tough opponent in Omari Akhmedov and while it wasn’t pretty, Weidman did what he needed to do to earn his first decision win since July 2014.

After using some heavy wrestling in the first round and being out-wrestled and outstruke in the second, Weidman entered the third round with everything on the line. Weidman would come out fast and put Akhmedov on his back, work to mount and spend the round working ground and pound and looking for an arm-triangle finish.

In the end, it was a 10-8 round on multiple scorecards and would lead to a much needed victory for Weidman in the night’s co-main event.

Chris said post-fight that he was happy to be back at middleweight and sent out a warning to the division saying, “All you top tier guys, I’m coming for you.” Some potential interesting match-ups for Weidman at middleweight division going forward.

Michael Chandler Makes Quick Work Of Ben Henderson, Officially a Free Agent

Long-time Bellator standout Michael Chandler is one of the best fighters in the world to never step foot in the UFC Octagon as a competitor, but did make it 2-0 against former UFC Champion Benson Henderson on Friday night.

After a split decision win over Henderson back in November 2016, Chandler would make a much more definitive statement this time around knocking out Henderson in a little over two minutes in the Bellator headliner.

With the win, Chandler hits the open market as one of the hottest free agents in recent memory. Chandler has an overall record of 21-5, has won five of his last six and is a three-time Bellator Lightweight Champion.

At this point, it’s hard to think there’s anything left to accomplish in Bellator and Chandler has made it well known he wants to prove he can compete with the best lightweights in the UFC and even threw in a jab at former Lightweight Champion Conor McGregor saying, “I finish Conor in under two [rounds]. I wear him down a little bit, make him see Jesus, put him out.”

While Chandler likely jump right into a fight with McGregor, there are some fantastic fights for him in the UFC including Paul Felder, Tony Ferguson and/or Dustin Poirier. Of course, Chandler could decided to stick around as the face of Bellator and make some top tier cash or possibly make a deal where he could fight for both Bellator and RIZIN. Chandler said post-fight about the future, “my phone is on.”

Quick Results

UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs. Oleinik (8/8/20 – Las Vegas, Nevada)
– Derrick Lewis (24-7, 1 NC) defeated Aleksei Oleinik (59-14-1) via KO (punches) – 2nd Round, 0:21
– Chris Weidman (15-5) defeated Omari Akhmedov (20-5-1) via unanimous decision
– Darren Stewart (12-5, 1 NC) defeated Maki Pitolo via Submission (guillotine) – 1st Round, 3:41
– Yana Kunitskaya (13-5, 1 NC) defeated Julija Stoliarenko (9-5-1) via unanimous decision
– Beneil Dariush (19-4-1) defeated Scott Holtzman (14-4) via KO (spinning forearm) – 1st Round, 4:38
– Tim Means (30-12-1, 1 NC) defeated Laureano Staropoli (9-3) via unanimous decision
– Kevin Holland (18-5) defeated Joaquin Buckley (10-3) via TKO (punches) – 3rd Round, 0:32
– Nasrat Haqparast (12-3) defeated Alex Munoz (6-1) via unanimous decision
– Andrew Sanchez (13-5) defeated Wellington Turman (16-4) via KO (punch) – 1st Round, 4:14
– Gavin Tucker (12-1) defeated Justin Jaynes (16-5) via Submission (rear-naked choke) – 3rd Round, 1:43
– Youssef Zalal (10-2) defeated Peter Barrett (11-4) via unanimous decision
– Irwin Rivera (10-5) defeated Ali Alqaisi (8-4) via split decision

Bellator 243 (8/7/20 – Uncasville, Connecticut)
– Michael Chandler defeated Benson Henderson via TKO (strikes) – 1st Round, 2:09
– Timothy Johnson defeated Matt Mitrione via TKO (strikes) – 1st Round, 3:14
– Myles Jury defeated Georgi Karakhanyan via split decision
– Sabah Homasi defeated Curtis Millender via unanimous decision
– Adam Borics defeated Mike Hamel via split decision
– Chris Lencioni defeated A.J. Agazarm via unanimous decision
– Valerie Loureda defeated Tara Graff via KO (punch) – 2nd Round, 5:00
– Grant Neal defeated Hamza Salim via unanimous decision
– Charlie Campbell defeated Nainoa Dung via TKO (leg kicks) – 2nd Round, 1:42
– Dalton Rosta defeated Mark Gardner via TKO (doctor stoppage) – 1st Round, 5:00

RIZIN FF 22 (8/9/20 – Yokohama, Japan)
– Roberto de Souza defeated Yusuke Yachi via TKO (punches) – 1st Round, 1:52
– Ayaka Hamasaki defeated Tomo Maesawa via Submission (armbar) – 2nd Round, 1:14
– Kanna Asakura defeated Mizuki Furusa via TKO (punches) – 1st Round, 1:35
– Naoki Inoue defeated Shooto Watanabe via Submission (rear-naked choke) – 1st Round, 1:40
– Tetsuya Seki defeated Kouya Kanda via KO (punch) – 2nd Round, 3:47
– Kyohei Hagiwara defeated Rikuto Shirakawa via TKO (punches) – 3rd Round, 4:40
– Kenji Kato defeated Erson Yamamoto via Knockout (punch) – 1st Round, 3:32