True to his word, Justis Huni has ended Paul Gallen’s undefeated professional boxer career to retain his Australian heavyweight title in spectacular fashion.
UFC 252 takes place at the APEX Centre on Sunday 16th August, as heavyweights Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier fight for the UFC heavyweight title.
Here are my main card predictions.
Stipe Miocic vs Daniel Cormier
Daniel Cormier via KO/TKO
What a fight we have on our hands here, the conclusion to one of the greatest trilogies in UFC history. This fight is about legacy, with the winner stamping themselves as the unanimous best heavyweight of all-time.
It’s a must-win fight for Cormier, given that he has publicly announced that this fight will be the last of his career. While Miocic will more than likely fight Francis Ngannou for the title next year win, lose or draw on Sunday.
In episode one of UFC 252 Embedded, Cormier stated that he will look to utilise his wrestling game more in this fight, something he has strayed away from in their first two fights.
Although Miocic’s takedown defence is good to say the least, it’s hard to see him preventing all of Cormier’s takedowns over five rounds.
I’m struggling to find an argument for Miocic winning this one. Although he finished Cormier in their second fight, Cormier was unanimously winning the fight over three rounds before Miocic implemented a series of body punches to reclaim the title.
Sean O’Malley vs Marlon Vera
Sean O’Malley via KO/TKO
Fully expecting the Sean O’Malley hype train to continue rolling here, with the UFC priming their next franchise man with a favoured match-up with Marlon Vera.
O’Malley is coming off two consecutive first-round finishes over veteran Eddie Wineland and Jose Quinonez while Marlon Vera’s last fight earlier this year saw him lose to Song Yadong via decision.
Although Vera has never been finished inside of the UFC it is hard to see this fight going the distance with O’Malley’s impressive striking ability proving too much.
Junior dos Santos vs Jairzinho Rozenstruik
Junior dos Santos via KO/TKO
The third fight of the main card sees two top heavyweight contenders go head to head.
Jairzinho Rozenstruik is coming off the first loss of his career, having been finished by Francis Ngannou within 20 seconds.
Junior Dos Santos is also coming off two consecutive defeats to Curtis Blaydes and Francis Ngannou. Dos Santos’ last victory came early last year, with a TKO victory over heavy hitter Derrick Lewis.
I see Dos Santos claiming victory here, in a similar fashion to his victory over Lewis, as long as he can withstand Rozenstruik’s power early it’s hard to see Jairzinho finishing this one.
John Dodson vs Merab Dvalishvili
Merab Dvalishvili via decision
Since moving up to bantamweight in 2016, John Dodson has had mixed success with a 4-4 record in the division. Dodson’s notable victories have come over Pedro Munhoz and Eddie Wineland.
Merab Dvalishvili is coming off three consecutive victories, all via decision in impressive wrestling performances.
Dvalishvili’s size advantage and ability to outstrike his opponents on the ground will give him a distinct advantage over the much smaller Dodson. I’m expecting Dvalishvili to take this one to the ground and edge away on the judge’s scorecards.
Magomed Ankalaev vs Ion Cutelaba
Magomed Ankalaev via KO/TKO
Two light heavyweight contenders open the main card, with Magomed Ankalaev taking on Ion Cutelaba for the second time.
The first fight saw a controversial stoppage with Cutelaba seemingly pretending to be hurt before referee Kevin McDonald stopped the fight. The question still remains whether Cutelaba was rocked or playing horse, but either way Ankalaev claimed the victory.
This one could go either way, but all signs point to Ankalaev claiming another victory here and cementing himself as a contender in the light heavyweight division.