Stipe Miocic did what several before him could not Saturday night at UFC 203 – defend the heavyweight title.
Miocic survived an early attack by Alistair Overeem, coming back in the first round to finish him and retain the UFC heavyweight championship in his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio.
With the win, Miocic earned his fourth consecutive win – all of which have come via finish. Overeem, a former Strikeforce champion, appeared to have the Ohio native rocked, landing a shot in the opening seconds and going for a guillotine choke. That allowed Miocic to recover, though, and go on to pick up the victory.
After the fight, Overeem stated that he felt Miocic tap to the choke. Replays, thanks to the request of Joe Rogan, showed otherwise.
In the co-main event, Fabricio Werdum earned a victory over Travis Browne via decision. The fight was filled with interesting moments, as Browne suffered a hand injury and asked for a timeout. In the first few seconds, Werdum, a former champion, landing a flying kick to the chin on Browne.
Before the announcement of the winner could be made, Browne’s head coach, Edmond Tarverdyan, began talking to Werdum, who proceeded to land a front-kick to the coach. Browne’s corner was escorted from the Octagon.
CM Punk’s MMA debut went how many believed it would, as Mickey Gall scored a takedown and proceeded to beat on him for two minutes before securing a rear-naked choke victory. Punk, a former WWE superstar, said afterwards that he planned to compete again.
Jimmie Rivera earned his biggest win to date, surviving an eye poke to score a decision victory over Urijah Faber and remain unbeaten inside the Octagon. The main card kicked off with Jessica Andrade submitting Joanne Calderwood in a meeting of strawweight contenders.
Bethe Correia upset the Ohio crowd when she was awarded a split decision over native Jessica Eye, while Brad Tavares earned a split decision over Caio Magalhaes. Nik Lentz spoiled the UFC debut of Michael McBride with a second round TKO, and Drew Dober did the same to Jason Gonzalez in the first round.
Yancy Medeiros submitted Sean Spencer in the lone UFC Fight Pass bout. The card lost a pair of fights this week due to visa issues and an elevator malfunction.
Miocic and Overeem were awarded “Fight of the Night” honors, while Andrade and Medeiros picked up “Performance of the Night” bonuses. The attendance was announced at 18,875 with a live gate of $2.6 million.
Complete results can be found below:
Stipe Miocic def. Alistair Overeem via KO (strikes) at 4:27 of Round 1 to remain UFC heavyweight champion
Fabricio Werdum def. Travis Browne via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-27, 30-27)
Mickey Gall def. CM Punk via submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:14 of Round 1
Jimmie Rivera def. Urijah Faber via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Jessica Andrade def. Joanne Calderwood via submission (guillotine choke) at 4:38 of Round 1
Bethe Correia def. Jessica Eye via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Brad Tavares def. Caio Magalhaes via split decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)
Nik Lentz def. Michael McBride via TKO (strikes) at 4:17 of Round 2
Drew Dober def. Jason Gonzalez via TKO (strikes) at 1:45 of Round 1
Yancy Medeiros def. Sean Spencer via submission (rear-naked choke) at :49 of Round 2