Stipe Miocic remains king of the heavyweights.
Miocic knocked out Alistair Overeem with brutal first-round ground-and-pound to retain the Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight title in the UFC 203 “Miocic vs. Overeem” headliner (online betting) on Saturday at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. The end came 4:27 into round one, with an unconscious Overeem (41-15, 6-4 UFC) buried beneath the champion.
The two heavyweights engaged in a wild back-and-forth scrap. Overeem dropped the Strong Style Fight Team cornerstone with a crushing straight left and threatened with his trusted guillotine. Miocic (16-2, 10-2 UFC) escaped the choke and returned to his feet, where he found the conditions far more hospitable. He pressured Overeem against the cage and forced the former Dream and Strikeforce champion to retreat under heavy fire. Late in the round, Overeem uncorked an ill-advised side kick that left him off-balance and resulted in his being taken down. Miocic postured in guard, let his hands go and took care of business with three kneeling right hands to the face that turned out the lights on the Dutchman.
The 34-year-old Miocic has won four fights in a row, the last three by first-round knockout.
Related » UFC 203 Round-by-Round Scoring
Werdum Cruises Past Browne
Former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum won for the seventh time in eight appearances, as he captured a unanimous decision over Travis Browne in the co-main event. All three cageside judges sided with Werdum (21-6-1, 9-3 UFC): 29-28, 29-27 and 30-27.
Werdum landed a flying side kick at the start of the fight and set an immediate tone. An overhand right from “Vai Cavalo” injured one of the fingers on Browne’s right hand later in the first round, resulting in a bizarre pause as the cageside physician briefly entered the cage. After the restart, it became clear that the Hawaiian was impaired. Werdum floored him with a thudding right hand with a little less than a minute to go in the frame, pounced with follow-up punches and worked to the back, nearly sinking the rear-naked choke. The bell allowed Browne to escape further danger. Over the next two rounds, “Hapa” rarely used his right hand and spent the majority of his time eating various strikes from the adventurous Werdum. Brown, who replaced an injured Ben Rothwell on short notice, picked up his pace late in round three, but the finish he needed was nowhere in sight.
Afterward, Werdum was involved in a physical altercation with Browne’s trainer, Edmond Tarverdyan. The two men had to be separated by security, as it appeared that Werdum kicked the Glendale Fighting Club coach and then squared up with his hands in a fighting position.
Gall Choke Taps ‘CM Punk’Mickey Gall submitted former World Wrestling Entertainment superstar Phil “CM Punk” Brooks with a rear-naked choke in the first round of their welterweight showcase. Brooks (0-1, 0-1 UFC), who spent the last two years training under Duke Roufus at the Roufusport academy in Milwaukee, tapped to the choke 2:14 into round one.
Gall (3-0, 2-0 UFC) ducked under the oncoming “CM Punk” and landed a double-leg takedown inside the first 10 seconds. He lit up Brooks with ground-and-pound, passed to side control and ultimately advanced to the back. From there, Gall hacked away with punches, slid his arms into place and secured the choke for the finish.
Rivera Wins 19th Straight
Former Ring of Combat and Cage Fury Fighting Championships titleholder Jimmie Rivera registered the most significant victory of his 21-fight career, as he took a three-round unanimous decision from Team Alpha Male patriarch Urijah Faber in a featured bantamweight battle. Rivera (20-1, 4-0) swept the scorecards with matching 30-27 marks from all three judges.
Faber (33-10, 9-6 UFC) never got out of the gate. Rivera chewed up his lead leg with kicks and connected with blistering punching combinations to the body and head, utilizing excellent footwork to dodge his opponent’s attacks. The 27-year-old Team Tiger Schulmann rep withstood a first-round groin strike and third-round eye poke from Faber, largely dominating the former World Extreme Cagefighting champion across 15 minutes.
Rivera has rattled off 19 straight wins.
Andrade Guillotine Submits Calderwood
Parana Vale Tudo export Jessica Andrade submitted Joanne Calderwood with a first-round guillotine choke in a women’s strawweight showcase. Calderwood (11-2, 3-2 UFC) conceded defeat 4:38 into round one, her two-fight winning streak at an end.
Andrade (15-5, 6-3 UFC) executed multiple takedowns, passed to side control and bullied the Scotswoman with her ground-and-pound. Calderwood tried to scramble to her feet but wandered into the guillotine and tapped to the choke after a brief struggle.
The 24-year-old Calderwood has won six of her last eight fights.