After taking a few early leg kicks that didn’t bode well for going through a five-round championship fight, Stipe Miocic stepped things up in his UFC 211 main event against Junior Dos Santos Saturday night, halting the former world champion in the first round to retain his title for the second time at American Airlines Center in Dallas.
“That was terrible,” Miocic said of the kicks that left him limping. “It hurt.”
So the champ delivered some hurt of his own back, in the process evening the score with Dos Santos, who handed Miocic his last loss in December 2014. That fight was an instant classic featuring back-and-forth slugging throughout. This time, Miocic ended matters early.
Standing mere inches away from each other to start the fight, the two combatants traded leg kicks before Miocic began stalking Dos Santos. The Brazilian landed two hard kicks to the leg that slowed the champion down, leading Miocic to begin throwing bombs whenever he was able to get close to his foe, and when he landed a hard right to the head, that was it for “Cigano,” who dropped to the canvas. A series of follow-up blows were unanswered by Dos Santos, and referee Herb Dean stepped in to stop the fight at 2:22 of the first round.
“We worked on that for ten weeks,” Miocic said of the finishing sequence.
With the win, Cleveland’s Miocic improves to 17-2 and ties the UFC record for consecutive successful heavyweight title defenses. Salvador’s Dos Santos falls to 18-5.