CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland kid makes good...again!
Independence, Ohio-based Stipe Miocic successfully defended the UFC heavyweight championship with a knockout win over Alistair Overeem in the main event of UFC 203 from Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland Saturday night.
With Overeem in pursuit, Miocic earned the takedown and put the challenger on his back. Then, Miocic rained down several punches, bouncing Overeem’s head off the canvas twice before knocking him out. The referee jumped in for the stoppage with just 33 seconds left in the first round.
Overeem attempted to throw a right leg kick when Miocic checked it and sent the challenger to the mat. After the takedown, Overeem pulled guard, but Miocic was not to be denied. Miocic landed a pair of right-handed hammer fists before throwing a left-right combination to Overeem’s face.
Following another left hand, Miocic landed four straight rights to Overeem’s jaw, knocking out the challenger and forcing the referee’s stoppage.
Early in the first round, Miocic was chasing Overeem when he got caught with a punch to the jaw and fell backwards. Overeem immediately jumped at the opportunity to put Miocic into a guillotine choke, but the champion kept his feet on the mat and circled his way out of the submission.
In all, Miocic landed 34 of his 60 strikes, all of which were significant. Overeem landed only nine of his 17 throws.
Following the win against Overeem, Miocic jumped on top of the cage and led more than 18,000 fight fans in a chant of “O-H-I-O.” Then, after his post-fight interview, he walked out of the cage, threw his arms in the air victoriously and celebrated with the fans.
Miocic is the just the second champion across any division in the UFC to successfully defend a championship in 2016. Of the previous six times a champion has entered The Octagon prior to Miocic’s defense, only bantamweight titlist Dominick Cruz walked out with the belt.
The other five defending champions, Holly Holm (women’s bantamweight), Fabricio Werdum (heavyweight), Luke Rockhold (middleweight), Miesha Tate (women’s bantamweight) and Robbie Lawler (welterweight), have all been unsuccessful in retaining their titles in 2016.