mma / Reports

411’s UFC 241 Report: Miocic Reclaims Title

August 18, 2019 | Posted by Robert Winfree
Daniel Cormier Stipe Miocic UFC 241, Dana White

MAIN CARD (Pay-per-view, 10 p.m. ET)
Champ Daniel Cormier (236.5 lbs.) vs. #1 Stipe Miocic (230.5 lbs.) – for heavyweight title
Nate Diaz (170 lbs.) vs. #7 Anthony Pettis (169.5 lbs.)
#7 Paulo Costa (186 lbs.) vs. #2 Yoel Romero (184.5 lbs.)
Gabriel Benitez (146 lbs.) vs. Sodiq Yusuff (145 lbs.)
#8 Derek Brunson (186 lbs.) vs. #10 Ian Heinisch (185.5 lbs.)

Devonte Smith (156 lbs.) vs. Khama Worthy (155.5 lbs.)
#3 Raphael Assuncao (136 lbs.) vs. #9 Cory Sandhagen (136 lbs.)
Christos Giagos (155 lbs.) vs. Drakkar Klose (155.5 lbs.)
Manny Bermudez (140 lbs.) vs. Casey Kenney (139 lbs.) – 140-pound catchweight

PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass/ESPN+, 6:30 p.m. ET)
Hannah Cifers (114.5 lbs.) vs. Jodie Esquibel (116 lbs.)
Brandon Davis (136 lbs.) vs. Kyung Ho Kang (136 lbs.)
Shana Dobson (124.5 lbs.) vs. Sabina Mazo (126 lbs.)

Hello everyone and welcome to 411mania’s LIVE coverage of UFC 241. I’m Robert Winfree and I’ll be your host for the evening, relaying all of the action to you good people just as I see it. UFC 241 is a pretty stacked main card. The main event is a rematch for the UFC heavyweight title when champion Daniel Cormier goes for his second title defense, this time in a rematch against the man he bested for the title last year Stipe Miocic. Miocic is the most accomplished heavyweight champion in UFC history from a numerical perspective, if he can add a second title reign to his resume he’ll virtually cement his status as the best UFC heavyweight ever. The co-main event sees the return of Nate Diaz as he battles former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis with the winner being in good position for another high profile fight next. And there’s also an anticipated middleweight clash between rising contender Paulo Costa and former title challenger Yoel Romero. Elsewhere on the card surging bantamweight Cory Sandhagen takes on the biggest test of his career against top ranked Raphael Assuncao.

UFC 241 comes to the world from the Honda Center in Anaheim, California, USA. On commentary we have Jon Anik, Joe Rogan, and Dominick Cruz. Tonight we are under the newer rules including the use of instant replay for a fight ending sequence if so desired. I think they’re not using the new definition of a grounded fighter, which the ABC updated a couple of weeks ago, so you need both palms or fists flat on the mat to be considered downed. The inability of the governing bodies to get together on stuff like this borders on the embarrassing and is an active detriment to fighters having to try and keep it all straight.

Sabina Mazo just suffered her first loss when she dropped a decision in her UFC debut, now she’s trying to rebound from that loss and get her first UFC win. Shana Dobson has gone 1-1 in the UFC with a win on a TUF finale back in 2017 when she competed on that season then she lost rather handily to Lauren Mueller. Dobson is trying to prove she’s capable of beating actual UFC competition. Mazo is a slight -140 favorite to +110 for Dobson.

Women’s Flyweight Bout: Shana Dobson (3-2, 124.5 lbs.) vs. Sabina Mazo (6-1, 126 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Mazo has an inch of height and reach on Dobson. They touch gloves to get us going. A few lead leg kicks go back and froth, both women are just probing so far. Mazo hurts Dobson to the body with a left kick and starts flurrying along the fence. Elbows and uppercuts from Mazo then a double leg, I’m a little surprised by that as she wont be able to get back to the body reliably. Mazo lands a few body shots and elbows. Dobson is fighting for wrist and posture control, Mazo is landing a few elbows here and there. Dobson hits a sweep and nearly gets the back but Mazo is able to shake her off and get on top again, this time in more of a leg drag position. Full guard for Dobson now after eating a couple of elbows. Mazo lands a series of lefts to the body, but there’s not a ton of power there. Mazo moves to side control as Dobson tried to get her legs in play, Dobson gets half guard back rather quickly. The “woo’s” start, one of the latest start times for that obnoxious sound recently. Dobson wall walks but gets taken back down. Leg drag position again for Mazo on top and she lands a series of short rights to the head. Mazo moves into full mount, Dobson is able to hold onto her body and avoid taking a whole lot of damage before the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Mazo, borderline 10-8

ROUND TWO: Mazo lands a body kick to get this round going. The left kick from Mazo is working body and head so far this round. Dobson is trying to crowd forward, and gets a clinch but they trade offense then Mazo gets her on the fence. Both women land knees, Mazo is really trying to target the liver when she goes to the body. Full Thai clinch from Mazo and she’s looking to keep a steady stream of offense coming. Dobson lands a couple of knees but she’s struggling to get off of the fence. More knees to the body from Mazo, she’s breaking Dobson down with those. Dobson finally breaks the plum and they wind up in a more traditional greco clinch situation. Mazo is still trying to fire knees, Dobson lands a couple of short elbows but eats more knees. Mazo drops for a double leg and gets Dobson down along the fence. Mazo has the legs mounted, Dobson spins a few times and gets to half guard. Dobson is trying to work a lock down, Mazo is trying to pass. Dobson is back up but eats a knee to the face before they separate. Mazo is circling, she eats a bit of a right hand then lands a body kick. Dobson whiffs on an overhand right. Mazo uses kicks to keep distance as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Mazo, 20-18 Mazo overall

ROUND THREE: Dobson comes out jabbing but Mazo is circling and jabbing with her. Dobson lands a leg kick, Mazo responds with a body kick. Mazo lands a few jabs then a body kick. That body kick is still working for Mazo, Dobson grimaces after taking one. Again Mazo lands that body kick and Dobson winces and backs off. Mazo is pushing forward with jabs, then grabs a Thai clinch and lands knees to the head and body. Dobson’s posture is broken at the moment but she’s grip fighting at least. Mazo with more knees to the body, Dobson is wilting. They get chest to chest for a moment, Dobson is holding a whizzer and that lets Mazo get a trip takedown into side control. Knees to the body from side control by Mazo. Mazo is looking for mount, winds up in leg drag as Dobson puts in a knee shield. Punches to the body and head from Mazo now. Mazo postures up and lands punches, she tees off for the final couple of seconds as the clock winds down.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Mazo but another borderline 10-8, 30-27 Mazo overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Sabina Mazo via unanimous decision (30-24, 30-25 x2)

No issues at all with that, a little surprised by 3 10-8’s from that one judge but a dominant performance from Mazo. Mic time for Mazo who feels like this is her real UFC debut after stumbling in her actual debut, then mentions trying to keep a higher pace and learning to start quickly rather than try to stall out. She talks about using the left knee and kick depending on the range to keep distance to close her interview. Kang is the -190 favorite while Davis’ comeback sits at +160.

Kyung Ho Kang has gone 4-1 in his last five UFC appearances, he’s coming off of a win though and is trying to get his second UFC winning streak up and running. Brandon Davis has gone 2-3 in the UFC with his only wins coming against fighters who probably shouldn’t be in the UFC, he’s coming off of a win though and is trying for his first UFC winning streak.

Bantamweight Bout: Brandon Davis (10-5, 136 lbs.) vs. Kyung Ho Kang (15-8 1 NC, 136 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Davis is an inch taller while Kang has an inch of reach on him. They touch gloves to get things going. Circling to start, Davis is flashing the lead hand. Bit of a right from Kang then a leg kick. Davis lands a couple of return leg kicks. They trade rights, Kang fails on a double leg but they wind up clinched on the fence. Davis is able to slip free and lands a knee. Kang lands a couple of jabs. Another couple of jabs from Kang, Davis responds with a couple of calf kicks. Those leg kicks are starting to add up and Kang needs to adjust to it. Stiff jab from Kang and he’s backing Davis towards the fence. More calf kicks from Davis. Davis lands a left hook and a calf kick. Kang lands a right to counter a leg kick that drops Davis then jumps into a clinch as Davis gets up. Kang gets the back with one hook in along the fence, Davis drops to a hip and is looking to move to his back and try to scrape Kang off. Full mount for Kang, Davis shrimps to half guard. A few short blows land for Kang and that will bring the clock down.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Kang

ROUND TWO: They touch gloves for the second round. Kang is looking to get his jab going again, and he lands a bit of a right. They split a few jabs, defense is neither man’s strong suit. Davis sprawls away from a single leg, tries to step over and grab an armbar but loses the grip and Kang is on top in half guard. Kang looks to mount the legs as Davis is now sitting on the fence. Butterfly guard now for Davis, he moves back to full guard though. Kang avoids an armbar attempt, eats an up kick but is able to spin around to the back. Davis spins into him and looks to get on top but they wind up clinched again. Kang pulls free and we reset at distance. Jabs from Kang again. Davis lands a leg kick. They clash on kicks then Kang lands another jab. Davis’ right cheek is swelling from all of those jabs. Davis lands a couple of punches then an inside leg kick. Kang lands a right. We get a bit of a brawl from there, Davis lands a right. A couple more rights land for Davis then a calf kick. Davis lands a calf kick, and another. Kang is slowing down and that left leg is in trouble. Davis misses a flying knee as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Davis, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: Davis is pushing forward and looking to wilt Kang with pace and pressure. Kang is fighting southpaw, Davis slips on a kick though and Kang dives onto him and gets on top in side control. The ref stands them up, that’s total crap to stand someone up from side control. Kang lands a front kick to the body and gets a takedown to counter a kick and he’s back in side control. Kang is trying to set up either an arm triangle or a pass. Some punches from Kang, then the gets the back while Davis works up but he slips off and they wind up standing again. Davis looks to tee off and win the round back. Kang gets a double leg into full guard and lands a couple of rights. The ref tells the onus is now on Davis to do something, that’s kind of backwards relative to guard vs. side control. They trade some offense. Kang swings a couple of punches, Davis seems a bit too complacent on his back. A few more flurries on the mat as time runs out.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Kang, 29-28 Kang overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Kyung Ho Kang via split decision (28-29, 29-28 x2)

A little surprised at the score for Davis, but not a bad scrap. Mic time for Kang, who says that the calf and shin really got to him in the second round but he gutted through it and is happy to have won. He says the original plan was to strike but he had to adapt after the calf kicks started landing. To close he promises to fight better next time and invites everyone to watch.

Hannah Cifers has gone 1-1 in the UFC, she’s coming off of a win though and is trying for her first UFC winning streak. Jodie Esquibel has gone 0-3 in the UFC but given the shallow nature of women’s flyweight she’s getting another shot here to score her first UFC win, though one has to imagine that a fourth loss will send her packing from the promotion. Cifers is the -300 favorite to +240 for Esquibel.

Strawweight Bout: Hannah Cifers (9-3, 114.5 lbs.) vs. Jodie Esquibel (6-5, 116 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height while Esquibel has two inches of reach on her. Esquibel starts out circling, Cifers is showing some stance switches already. Cifers lands a leg kick. Bit of a one two from Esquibel, Cifers lands a right. Both women are moving well so far but haven’t yet really put that to effective use. Esquibel tries a double leg but Cifers stuffs it and lands a couple of punches. Cifers lands another leg kick. Esquibel misses a few punches, lands a right then eats a counter. Cifers lands a body kick then a right. High kick from Esquibel lands in a glancing fashion. Cifers lands an overhand right to counter a left hook. Esquibel can’t finish a takedown and they both miss punches. Cifers lands a heavy leg kick. Cifers lands another leg kick and avoids a takedown to close out the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Cifers

ROUND TWO: Circling again, Cifers lands a bit of a right. Body kick from Cifers lands. Esquibel falls short with punches. Cifers lands a heavy leg kick and Esquibel stops moving for a second. More leg kicks, Esquibel hits a double leg this time and winds up in the guard of Cifers. They stall out and the ref stands them back up. Cifers catches a kick and takes Esquibel down then lands some lefts as Esquibel wall walks and they clinch again on the cage. Knee from Cifers as they break, Esquibel gets a single leg and Cifers quickly locks up a triangle attempt. Cifers tries to switch to an armbar but Esquibel is defending properly and they wind up kind of in donkey guard. They roll through and Cifers locks up an omoplata and sweeps forward then they get up and restart standing. Cifers had a couple of opportunities off of that sweep, pity she didn’t find any of them before they regained their feet. Esquibel is back to shadow boxing, Cifers lands a right. A couple of kicks land for Esquibel as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Cifers, 20-18 Cifers overall

ROUND THREE: Esquibel’s left eye has some swelling around it, nothing fight stopping but it’s definitely there. Cifers is looking to keep her jab working this round, and lands a leg kick. Bit of a high kick from Cifers, both women seem to have taken their foot off the gas. Esquibel lands a glancing right. Cifers with another kick, that left leg of Esquibel is a little compromised. Body kick from Cifers lands then she blocks a high kick. Cifers with a bit of a left hook. Double leg from Esquibel and she’s in the guard of Cifers. Esquibel lands a couple of body shots but she’s getting tied up and stalled out. Cifers is trying to work her guard high but isn’t having a lot of success with it. The ref has seen enough and stands them up. Cifers eats a front kick then lands a leg kick. More leg kicks from Cifers then Esquibel lands a left hook. Bit of a body kick from Cifers, Esquibel returns it. Cifers is trying to come on hard over the final seconds, she looks to unload, reverses a double leg and lands a couple more punches as time runs down.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Esquibel but a close one that Cifers could have stolen, 29-28 Cifers overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Hannah Cifers via unanimous decision (30-28, 30-27 x2)

I think a 10-10 third round is entirely appropriate. Mic time for Cifers, she puts over the wrestling of Esquibel being better than she expected. Rogan is trying to get her to relax and answer some questions, she mentions Esquibel being a high volume fighter and she wanted to move a lot as well as work her counters. To close she thanks her family and team for all their support and work.

That will do it for Fight Pass, on to ESPN for the rest of the prelims.

Manny Bermudez is undefeated with three finishes in three UFC fights, in fact he’s only been the distance twice in his career. Bermudez is trying to remain perfect and prove he’s ready to start transitioning from prospect to contender. Casey Kenney won a somewhat controversial decision in his UFC debut when he bested Ray Borg, but he’s on a five fight winning streak and could take a significant amount of Bermudez’s momentum with a win. It’s worth noting that while this fight was originally signed at bantamweight all parties including the UFC agreed to switch it to a catchweight due to weight cutting concerns around both fighters. Bermudez is your -170 favorite to +140 on Kenney.

Catchweight Bout: Manny Bermudez (14-0, 140 lbs.) vs. Casey Kenney (12-1-1, 139 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Bermudez is three inches taller and has three and a half inches of reach on Kenney. They touch gloves, Kenney opens southpaw. Kenney misses a couple of kicks then lands an inside leg kick. Bermudez is looking to walk him down. Bermudez lands a right to counter a few low kicks. Left lands for Bermudez. Bermudez lands a body kick. Kenney misses a left, Bermudez gets a clinch and easily gets him down with a waist lock. Bermudez lands a couple of punches, Kenney is trying to go inverted for a knee bar but he’s lost the grip and Bermudez is on top in half guard. Kenney gets full guard, Bermudez lands a right and looks to pass. Kenney forces a scramble and is back up but still clinched then hits a hip toss into half guard. Bermudez quickly to full guard, Kenney passes when Bermudez is trying to set up an attack. Side control for Kenney, Bermudez gets some leg motion going and catches leg drag position. Kenney is wrapping the head to try and stop Bermudez from slipping around to get his back. Bermudez slips lower under their bodies and looks to slip out the back, Kenney scrambles back to his feet and lands a couple of knees. They break apart, and Kenney lands a left then an inside leg kick. A couple of rights from Kenney close out the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Kenney

ROUND TWO: More forward pressure from Bermudez, Kenney misses a few kicks. They clinch up on the fence, Bermudez is looking for a takedown, winds up slipping to the back. Kenney goes to his back and Bermudez is on top in side control. Kenney looks to go inverted again, he moves all the way through to get on top in side control though Bermudez has one of his arms locked up. Sweep from Bermudez, he winds up in a very awkward spot and they’re looking to scramble. Kenney winds up slipping around to the ride position looking for the choke but he’s got no hooks or body control. Bermudez gets a body lock with his hands, Kenney lands an elbow. Kenney floats over a guard attempt and is back in side control and lands a couple of knees to the body. Hammer fists from Kenney as Bermudez moves to the turtle position. Kenney looks to take the back, only one hook in though and he bails when he was losing the position. Bermudez lands a couple of rights on the feet. Left hook from Bermudez and they clinch again. Kenney looks tired, Bermudez gets the takedown along the fence. Bermudez gets the back with one hook in, but Kenney is able to keep the second hook out and turn into him and get on top again. The round will end in that spot, with Kenney on top in half guard.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Kenney, 20-18 Kenney overall

ROUND THREE: They touch gloves to get us going. Bermudez is walking forward again, lands a bit of a right. Kenney keeps kicking the inside leg but Bermudez doesn’t care. They both land punches. Bermudez lands a couple of rights then a left and Kenney has to circle off of the fence. They clinch and trade knees. Kenney gets a body lock and hits what I think is called a cheese donkey trip, Bermudez kicks off of the cage and gets on top in half guard. Side control now for Bermudez. Bermudez moves to knee on belly, lands a few lefts to the head while looking to pass. Nearly full mount for Bermudez now, Kenney is able to hip escape to half guard but Bermudez nearly grabs a guillotine. Bermudez adjusts for a guillotine but can’t get his arms together before Kenney gets his head free. Now Bermudez looks for an arm triangle but can’t secure it. A few short elbows from Bermudez land, then some rights. Kenney is trying to either go inverted again or get full guard but nothing comes of it. Kenney looks for a sweep, Bermudez stifles that and gets full mount. A few more punches land for Bermudez, Kenney fights to get his guard back as time runs down.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Bermudez, 29-28 Kenney overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Casey Kenney via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)

Mic time for Kenney, he says Bermudez was better on the feet than he expected but other than that it was as expected. He notes the size disparity and feels good about not being submitted against Bermudez and notes he’s grappled with Ray Borg and Manny Bermudez and won both times but would really like to fight a striker next. He says he’d love to fight either Urijah Faber or Frankie Edgar next.

Christos Giagos has gone 2-1 in his current UFC run but is on a two fight winning streak and could earn a step up in competition if he can get to three in a row here. Drakkar Klose is on a two fight winning streak in addition to being 4-1 in the UFC overall, he’s also looking to score his third win in a row and take a step up in competition. Klose is the favorite at -175 against +145 for Giagos.

Lightweight Bout: Christos Giagos (17-7, 155 lbs.) vs. Drakkar Klose (10-1-1, 155.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Giagos is an inch taller and has an inch and a half of reach on Klose. Giagos starts out circling and bouncing, Klose is being a bit more measured. Both men miss some punches then Klose fires a body kick. Giagos lands a body kick, Klose lands a calf kick. Right lands for Giagos, Klose fires back in close. Klose lands a leg kick, Giagos is doing some stance switching now. They clinch up, Klose with knees to the body as Giagos puts him on the fence. Both men with knees to the body then they break. Giagos lands a leg kick. They clinch again and Giagos with more knees to the body as he puts Klose on the fence. Giagos is kind of having his way in the clinch. They spin and break then Giagos lands a one two. Giagos lands a knee to the body. More kicks from Giagos, he’s out working Klose at this point. Klose seems unprepared for the stance switches that Giagos is showing. Klose forces a clinch and gets a body lock on the fence. Both men with rights as they break then Giagos lands a knee to the body. Klsoe lands a heavy right that stumbles Giagos as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Giagos

ROUND TWO: Klose is pushing forward more this round, lands a knee but eats a couple of punches and a knee. Giagos eats a knee and punches during a brawling exchange then they break. Giagos lands a body kick and gets a takedown to guard. Klose lands some elbows while scrambling back up but Giagos slips around behind him standing. Giagos winds up chest to chest and Klose lands some knees to the body. Single leg from Giagos and he’s got Klose down again then passes to side control. Klose to his knees but Giagos gets his back with both hooks in and is after the choke. Giagos is after the choke but he doesn’t have the angle right and has to adjust the grip. Klose is moving but Giagos is riding him. Klose gets to a tripod spot and shakes Giagos off of him and they break. Giagos with a couple of rights as he’s moving but he’s tired and Klose wobbles him with some uppercuts. Klose lands a right, Giagos winds up pulling guard but Klose is all over him working offense as Giagos wall walks. Trip from Klose and more hammer fists as he moves to half guard. Giagos is fading and Klose is looking to pour on the offense. Hammer fists from Klose as he postures up and lands damage to the body and head. Klose winds up in side control, lands a few short elbows that cut Giagos as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Klose, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: The doctor is in to check on the cut on Giagos, it’s on the left eyebrow and if it gets much worse could be a fight stopper. Giagos lands a right but Klose comes out looking to bulldoze him. Klose with pressure into a clinch and elbows then a knee on the break. Giagos lands a body shot, Klose chops his leg out from under him with a calf kick. Another calf kick then an uppercut from Klose, Giagos lands a left hook. Klose catches a body kick and lands a knee. They split rights then chopping punches in the pocket. Klose lands another calf kick then a right. Klose just will not stop coming forward, he’s got Giagos near the fence. Giagos lands a right but there’s not much on his offense at this point. They trade rights again, Klose gets a clinch and resumes dirty boxing. Giagos lands a right, Klose with uppercuts from a half collar tie. Klose lands a couple of calf kicks then they trade rights. Another clinch and Klose is out working Giagos but he’s fading a bit as well given the crazy pace they’re fighting at. They hit the fence and start fighting for position, then break apart. Giago’s cut is bleeding again, Klose lands a calf kick but eats a body kick. Klose tries a double leg against the fence, elevates Giagos to his shoulders and hits a beach break style drop. Giagos tries for an armbar in transition but doesn’t really have it and Klose gets to the ride position and lands punches. Giagos is back up and they break then start going RoadHouse in close proximity. Klose with a knee to the body and that will be the last blow before time runs out.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Klose, 29-28 Klose overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Drakkar Klose via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)

Wild fight down the stretch. Klose gets an interview, he notes he’s 5-1 in the UFC and feels disrespected. He says he wants to fight Gregor Gillespie at Madison Square Garden. That might be the first time I’ve heard someone call out Gillespie. He says the choke in the second wasn’t ever close and he just let him burn himself out because Giagos has a history of gassing. He thanks his new coaches for their work with him to close the interview.

Raphael Assuncao is one of the premier bantamweights in the world and has been for several years now, unfortunately injuries and a less than engaging fight style have largely stalled out any momentum he should have. Assuncao has only lost to TJ Dillashaw and Marlon Moraes at bantamweight, and while he’s coming off of the loss to Moraes he could retain a position in the title picture by turning back a rising contender. Cory Sandhagen has gone 4-0 in the UFC and has an overall winning streak of six fights against escalating levels of opposition, he’s coming off of a win over John Lineker and if he can take out Assuncao as well he’ll be undeniably in the title picture. Sandhagen is your -240 favorite while the +190 payout on Assuncao has to tempt a few value bettors out there.

Bantamweight Bout: #3 Raphael Assuncao (27-6, 136 lbs.) vs. #9 Cory Sandhagen (11-1, 136 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Sandhagen is five and a half inches taller and has three and a half inches of reach on Assuncao. Both men do a lot of stance switching. They touch gloves to get us going. Sandhagen lands a hard inside leg kick. Assuncao lands a leg kick. Bit of a right from Sandhagen. Sandhagen lands a right uppercut and a front kick to the knee. Assuncao lands a left then eats an inside leg kick. Sandhagen is keeping in Assuncao’s face and looking to overwhelm him with options. Right to the body then an inside leg kick from Sandhagen. Assuncao with a bit of a leg kick. Sandhagen with a jab, avoids the counters then lands an inside leg kick. Sandhagen cracks Assuncao with a right then a left to the body that hurts Assuncao. Body kick from Sandhagen as he’s backing Assuncao to the fence. Another body shot from Sandhagen lands. Assuncao lands a left but he’s not finding sustained success. They clinch up, Assuncao with knees to the body as Sandhagen spins him then looks for a takedown. They break and Sandhagen is back to pressuring Assuncao. Sandhagen lands a right then a jumping knee that lands. Assuncao is biting on a lot of fakes and feints, that’s opening up the game of Sandhagen. Another clinch and Sandhagen lands body shots before they break. Leg kick from Sandhagen will close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Sandhagen

ROUND TWO: They touch gloves for the second round. Leg kicks from Sandhagen almost immediately then a jab. Sandhagen lands another leg kick then a body kick. Assuncao lands an inside leg kick. Sandhagen slips and counters beautifully then digs a left to the body as they clinch up. Both men land some knees then they break. Sandhagen lands a leg kick but Assuncao gets his back standing then pulls him down for a crab ride. Sandhagen is looking to spin into him, he’s actually after a leg to distract him then spins to get on top in side control. Assuncao forces a scramble, this time it’s Sandhagen who gets the back and rolls to a ride position as they keep moving. They scramble again, they’re up and Assuncao has the rear waist lock. Nice sequence from both men. Sandhagen looks for a kimura roll, switches to a leg lock and goes for a knee bar but Assuncao lands punches then moves to take the back with one hook in. Assuncao is in a modified crucifix but Assuncao gets his arm free and spins to be on top in the guard of Assuncao. Again, really great grappling. Sandhagen lands a couple of punches, Assuncao is after a low single leg switch, they scramble again and Sandhagen winds up kind of on top but Assuncao has an attack on either the leg or arm of Sandhagen if he wants it. They just land blows as the position stalemates and the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Sandhagen, 20-18 Sandhagen overall

ROUND THREE: They touch gloves for the final round. Sandhagen opens with a leg kick then a jab. Assuncao is backing up, his left leg is bruised up and clearly not all there. Bit of a left from Assuncao, Sandhagen responds with a series of kicks to the body and leg. Sandhagen digs a left to the body. Right from Sandhagen then a body shot and a leg kick. Sandhagen lands a jab after avoiding a front kick. Assuncao after a single leg, they scramble and wind up on the feet at distance again. Sandhagen still coming forward picking with offense then lands a right to the body. Assuncao with a bit of a right as they exit the pocket. Sandhagen lands a body kick but Assuncao gets a clinch off of it and looks for a double leg along the fence. Assuncao gets a trip but Sandhagen is back up and at distance. Jabs from Sandhagen from either stance to keep Assuncao off balance and struggling with options. Inside leg kick from Sandhagen then a couple more jabs. Another clinch and Assuncao gets a body lock and moves to a hip with it. Sandhagen gets slammed but he’s back up immediately and pushing Assuncao to the fence. They break without incident and Sandhagen is back to jabbing. Jumping knee from Sandhagen barely misses and they clinch. This time Sandhagen hits a kimura roll to force separation. A few more jabs from Sandhagen and he avoids a punch as time runs down.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Sandhagen, 30-27 Sandhagen overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Cory Sandhagen via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27 x2)

Massive win for Sandhagen, he’s absolutely rolling and just beat a durable road block that’s de-railed a lot of promising guys. Mic time for Sandhagen he notes how hard he trained and jokes that since coming to the UFC his life has only gotten harder then puts over Assuncao as a legend. He says he knows how good he is and knows how hard he trains for it and feels he’s where he should be.

Devonte Smith is on a six fight winning streak that includes two wins in the UFC, now he’s looking to get that to three in a row and solidify himself as a prospect of note in the division. Khama Worthy took this fight on absurdly short notice replacing Clay Collard during fight week while Collard himself was a replacement for John Makdessi. Worthy is on a five fight winning streak though and looking to upset the apple cart with a big win in his UFC debut. The odds are with Smith at a staggering -1000 to a nearly prohibitive +650 comeback on Worthy.

Lightweight Bout: Devonte Smith (10-1, 156 lbs.) vs. Khama Worthy (14-6, 155.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Worthy is two inches taller while Smith has two inches of reach on him. They touch gloves to get us going. Both men with high guards and probing with low kicks. Smith lands a leg kick and eats a counter jab. Bit of a body kick from Smith. Smith with a bit of a right, Worthy lands a front kick to the body. Bit of a leg kick from Smith, Worthy returns it. Both guys keep feinting with hands but they’re not building off of anything yet. We get time as Worthy took a finger to the eye, he walks it off very quickly and we’re back to fighting. Smith lands a calf kick. Both men land leg kicks. Worthy with a bit of a one two. Smith kicks the calf again. Jab from Smith lands then a leg kick. Worthy with a bit of a right then eats a counter calf kick. Leg kick from Worthy but he’s taken a lot of kicks to his left calf and is limping a bit. Smith lands a right but Worthy drops him with a counter left and pounds him out on the mat.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Khama Worthy via TKO, punches, at 4:15 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Worthy for his work this evening. That’s our first finish of the evening. Mic time for Worthy, he’s quite hyped to talk with Joe Rogan. He says fighting a good friend after he fought three weeks ago was hard and puts over Smith as a good guy, then notes that while Smith is young and will get better he’s 33 and needs to get paid then notes he’s the only TKO so far and should get some bonus money. He talks us through the finish briefly, puts over his coaches, family for their support and says this is just the beginning.

Here’s the finish. Just a really short but well placed left hand for Worthy that Smith runs into.

That does it for preliminary action, to PPV for the main card. If you’re interested in alternate commentary 411 alumni Mark Radulich and I have some right HERE.

Derek Brunson has been a top ranked middleweight for a couple of years now but he’s in an odd spot overall, he’s just 3-4 in his last seven fights. Brunson’s level of opposition is part of the reason he’s still ranked as highly as he is but if he’s ever going to really break through and fight for the title he’s got to make that run now. He’s coming off of a win and is looking for his first winning streak since 2017. Ian Heinisch is on a five fight winning streak that includes two UFC wins over highly regarded fighters Cezar Ferreira and Antonio Carlos Junior, he’s looking to take out another ranked opponent here and continue his climb towards the top of the division. The odds favor the streaking Heinisch at -160 to a +130 comeback on Brunson.

Middleweight Bout: #8 Derek Brunson (19-7, 186 lbs.) vs. #10 Ian Heinisch (13-1, 185.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Brunson is two inches taller and has five inches of reach on Heinisch. We get RoadHouse right off the bat as southpaw Brunson gets head kicked but survives and gets a bear hug clinch position. They hit the fence and start jockeying for position then separate. Heinisch eats a left but keeps coming forward. Bit of a left from Brunson, he’s trying to settle things down and get this to be less frantic. Heinisch lands a right. Front kick from Heinisch lands then they both land with looping hooks. Brunson defends a takedown attempt then avoids a left hook. Brunson shoots a single leg that hits the fence but he can’t finish it and they just trade some punches before settling into the clinch. They break without incident. Bit of a head kick from each man but nothing solid. Brunson is after a double leg against the fence but nothing comes of it before the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Heinisch

ROUND TWO: Both men open with kicks to the leg, Brunson is trying to maintain distance more than anything else. Heinisch tries a knee tap but Brunson defends and nothing comes of it. Heinisch lands a body kick but eats a couple of counter punches. Brunson is looking to counter more now when Heinisch kicks. Brunson staggers Heinisch with a punch and Heinisch is backing up now. Body kicks from Brunson, then they clinch up and he gets the back standing. They break though without incident. Brunson slips on a high kick but he’s back up before Heinisch can get on top. Heinisch whiffs on a right and blocks a high kick. Brunson avoids a takedown, pushes Heinisch to the fence and lands a few punches. Bit of a flurry from Brunson will close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Brunson, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: Brunson comes out showing the kick but not throwing it. Bit of a counter right from Heinisch. Heinisch lands an inside leg kick. Both men miss power hand punches then Brunson gets a mat return from a rear waist lock but Heinisch scrambles through and we’re back up in the clinch. Brunson gets Heinisch on the fence and works some dirty boxing then breaks without incident. Body kick from Brunson then a left hand. Heinisch tries an ugly double leg that goes nowhere and they trade punches as they regain their feet. Another clinch, Brunson with a trip then moves to the ride position but Heinisch comes up on a single leg and forces a separation. Heinisch lands an elbow in close as they break from a clinch. Brunson is trying to get his jab working then lands a front kick to the body. Both guys are pretty dead tired at this point. Heinisch lands a right but there’s not a lot on it. Body kick from Brunson, Heinisch counters with a jab then defends a single leg attempt. Both men miss sloppy punches as time runs down, they’re both just dead tired.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Brunson, 29-28 Brunson overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Derek Brunson via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)

Sloppy and both guys got really tired, but at least not boring. Mic time for Brunson, he had a good training camp and puts over his camp. He puts over his coaches, talks us through a few highlights to close his interview.

Gabriel Benitez has a respectable 5-2 UFC record but has notably lost when he’s stepped up in competition, he’s on a two fight winning streak though and is looking to prove he’s found his groove with a third win on the biggest stage he’s fought on. Sodiq Yusuff is on a four fight winning streak that includes two wins in the UFC, he’s looking to extend that streak here and prove he’s the prospect to watch at featherweight. Yusuff is the biggest favorite on the main card at -280 against +230 for Benitez.

Featherweight Bout: Gabriel Benitez (21-6, 146 lbs.) vs. Sodiq Yusuff (9-1, 145 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Yusuff is an inch taller but these two have the same reach. Southpaw for Benitez and we get some exchanges right away and Yusuff backs Benitez to the fence and is looking to tee off. More punches from Yusuff, he landed a good one to the eye of Benitez and he’s really committing to circling while he recovers. They trade leg kicks, there’s a small cut on the left eyebrow of Benitez. Yusuff is doing a really good job of slipping and countering. Both men land inside leg kicks. Neither man can land a high kick then Yusuff lands a left hook. Benitez lands a left that drops Yusuff to his knees for a second but he recovers along the fence before Benitez can really capitalize. They circle a bit more, both men are bleeding around the eyes. Jab from Benitez lands. Yusuff is back to moving forward a bit more now. Benitez comes forward, misses a left and Yusuff with the classic pull back counter right and Benitez is down and this one’s all over but the shouting.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Sodiq Yusuff via TKO, punches, at 4:14 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Yusuff for his work this evening. Mic time for Yusuff, he notes that he had to deliver a show since he was opening a PPV for Stipe and DC and had to deliver. He talks us through the finish and notes he’s happy to be fighting more technically these days.

Here’s a look at the finish. Benitez lands the left but his hand comes back to his waist instead of his chin and Yusuff’s counter right hook has a clear lane to his jaw.

Yoel Romero is one of the two or three best middleweights in the world and has twice had compelling battles with champion Robert Whittaker, he’s coming off of the split decision loss in their rematch in 2018’s Fight of the Year but could put himself back in the title picture again with a convincing win here. Paulo Costa is undefeated and has finished all of his opponents, he’s gone 4-0 in the UFC but Romero is easily the best opponent he’s faced. If Costa can become just the second person at middleweight to best Romero he’ll prove himself a full on contender. The odds are with Romero at -150 while a Costa win would payout at +120.

Middleweight Bout: #7 Paulo Costa (12-0, 186 lbs.) vs. #2 Yoel Romero (13-3, 184.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Costa is an inch taller while Romero has an inch and a half of reach on him. Southpaw for Romero, who starts out circling while Costa looks for leg kicks. Bit of a left from Romero. Costa with a hook, Romero tries a takedown but can’t secure position on the mat. Some stance switching from Romero now, Costa lands a right then Romero floors him with a counter right but can’t finish it and we’re back up. Costa is still coming forward, Romero avoids a few offensive offerings. Romero lands a couple of lefts. Costa is doing a good job of keeping Romero on the fence where he does his best work. Costa lands a couple of punches but Romero seems unphased so far. Romero lands a knee and backs Costa up but he takes a couple of knees to the groin and we’ve got time for Romero to recover. Replay confirms the knee strike, that was a bad one. Romero is good to continue, and we’re back to fighting. Costa lands an inside leg kick. They trade some low kicks. Costa sprawls from a double leg, Romero clocks him with a right coming up. Costa with some body work along the fence. Bit of a left hook from Costa, Romero lands a counter left after a jab to the body that lands flush. Body kick and a left from Romero, Costa misses a wheel kick but that came close. They trade jabs as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Romero but could go either way

ROUND TWO: Costa is back to forward pressure. Romero misses a few kicks, but lands one to the body. Costa lands a body shot then a left to the head. Hard leg kick from Costa, then to the body and leg again. Body shot from Costa then a left hook. Romero is on the fence and Costa looks to tee off, he lands but Romero does a good job of rolling with them. Bit of a right from Romero, Costa responds with a body kick. Romero is starting to fade a bit, Costa’s pace and pressure is getting to him. Costa throws a couple of body shots that land. Romero avoids a few punches but Costa blocks his counters. Another left to the body from Costa. Clubbing right lands for Costa but Romero mocks him for it. Romero lands a body kick. Romero hits a double leg and settles into the guard as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Costa, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: Costa’s face is a little marked up at this point. Romero comes out showing the one two and stance switching as he circles. Both men are trying to find the target but struggling so far. Romero lands a right uppercut in close. Costa lands a couple of body kicks. Costa still trying to walk Romero down, Romero punches him with his left a couple of times. We get time as Costa was poked in the eye. Costa is good to continue, and he eats a jab trying to close distance. Romero is staying in the center of the cage more this round and he’s finding the target more as Costa continues to fade. A couple of punches land for Romero. Romero lands a straight left that has Costa backing up. Romero is coming on strong at this point, he wobbles Costa with a back fist. Punches in close from Romero but he wont engage in a brawl. Now they’re taunting, come on guys. Romero backs Costa up and lands along the fence but wont engage in prolonged brawling. Body shots from Romero, Costa digs a body kick. Romero lands a right and they clinch up in space. Romero gets an inside trip, Costa rolls through and they’re back up standing. An uppercut from Romero is the last blow as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Romoer, 29-28 Romero overall but it’s all coming down to the first round

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Paulo Costa via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)

Really fun brawl, and no issues with Costa 29-28. Mic time for Costa, who starts with English to say he trained really hard for this fight, gives glory to God and puts over Romero as a beast then they hug it out. He says he only wants to fight for the title, whether it’s Whittaker or Adesanya.

Anthony Pettis has had one of the oddest career trajectories in recent memory, he’s a former lightweight champion but has been very hit and miss for a few years now. Pettis is coming off of a win when he moved up to welterweight and knocked out Stephen Thompson, he’s trying for arguably his highest profile win here as well as his first winning streak since way back in 2014 when he was champion. Nate Diaz is coming off of a significant layoff, he was last seen in his majority decision loss to Conor McGregor back in 2016. Diaz has proven himself one of the bigger attractions in the UFC when he and the promotion can work together long enough to sign fights, he’s looking to score another win here as well as position himself for another big money fight next. Pettis closed as a -130 favorite to an even +100 for Diaz.

Welterweight Bout: Nate Diaz (19-11, 170 lbs.) vs. #7 Anthony Pettis (22-8, 169.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Diaz is two inches taller and has three and a half inches of reach advantage. Both men open southpaw but Pettis will be switching as the fight goes on. Diaz with forward pressure, both men struggling to find the target. Pettis lands a counter right hook after eating a few jabs. Leg kick from Pettis. Diaz punches into a clinch and works some knees to the body. We get a bit of dirty boxing then they break. Diaz is doing some stance switching now as well. Bit of a high kick from Pettis but Diaz just eats it. Diaz punches into a clinch and lands some dirty boxing before they break. Diaz is still coming forward, he gets a single leg as Pettis sells out for a guillotine but he’s not all that close to it. Pettis tries to get a high guard after he loses the guillotine. A few short elbows land for Diaz and he moves to the back as Pettis tries to get up. Full mount for Diaz, now the ride position then the back again. Both hooks for Diaz, he lands some heel shots to the body as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Diaz

ROUND TWO: Pettis slips on a leg kick and they trade punches then Diaz gets a clinch on the fence. Pettis spins free and separates. Diaz is coming forward again, Pettis lands a right to the body. We get time as Diaz took about his second poke to the eye in the round. Pettis lands a right at distance but Diaz just walks through it. Diaz lands a right along the fence and is working Pettis diligently. Diaz punches close into a clinch, he’s on the back and Pettis drags himself down. A few punches then a knee from Diaz as Pettis fights back up but is still in the clinch. Knees from Diaz and then a one two as they break. More offense from Diaz, Pettis’ legs are mostly gone at this point. Diaz’s knee based offense is really good so far, he’s dirty boxing well. They break and trade punches but Pettis isn’t moving away and Diaz is forcing more action. One final flurry from Diaz along the fence brings the round to a close.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Diaz, 20-18 Diaz overall

ROUND THREE: Diaz instantly pushes Pettis to the fence and starts initiating pocket fighting. Jabs from Diaz as he’s backing Pettis to the fence again. Body work from Diaz and they clinch up, Diaz is just working Pettis so constantly that Pettis can’t keep up in terms of cardio. More punches from Diaz, hard series of knees along the fence and he starts swinging as Pettis wilts along the fence but Diaz starts grappling instead of punching. Full back mount for Diaz now, Pettis turns into him and is on top but still kind of dead tired. Diaz keeps looking for a high guard, Pettis is just kind of hanging out and keeping him flat with head position. Pettis steps over and stands then decides to go back into the guard. Elbows from Diaz then an omoplata sweep, Pettis tries for the back but Diaz shakes him off and gets on top. Ride position for Diaz now and he’s landing to the body and head. Full back mount for Diaz and he’s landing a few punches and looking for the choke. Pettis explodes into guard, Diaz looks for a triangle as time runs down.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Diaz, 30-27 Diaz overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Nate Diaz via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27 x2)

I’m not sure which round went to Pettis, maybe the first but that’s dubious. Mic time for Diaz, this should be interesting. He says this is the Diaz army and that it feels good to be back. Asked about the length of his time off relative to the future he says the reason he was off for so long was because everyone sucks, then says he’d love to fight Masvidal as Masvidal is one of the last gangsters in the sport. Diaz says the fight was about what he expected and he does better in longer fights, then puts over his trainers.

Stipe Miocic is the former UFC heavyweight champion and numerically the most successful of them, he’s got the record for most consecutive successful title defenses at 3. Miocic is looking to reclaim the heavyweight title here and cement himself as the best UFC heavyweight champion ever. Daniel Cormier is among the very best fighters in the short history of the sport, a simultaneous two division champion who’s notched successful title defenses of both belts who’s lost to exactly one man in his career. Cormier is trying for his second defense of the heavyweight title and hoping to start climbing the incredibly short list of greatest of all time fighters. Cormier is the favorite for this rematch at -145 while Miocic would payout at +115.

Heavyweight Title Bout: (c) Daniel Cormier (22-1 1 NC, 236.5 lbs.) vs. #1 Stipe Miocic (18-3, 230.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Miocic is five inches taller and has seven and a half inches of reach on Cormier. They touch gloves to get us going. Miocic is circling early and both men are looking for leg kicks. A few more leg kicks from Cormier, he’s really working that leg of Miocic. Some jabs from Cormier, Miocic is really struggling to get going so far. Cormier lands a right, grabs for a single leg and elevates Miocic over his shoulder then slams him down and gets on top. Half guard for Cormier, Miocic is fishing for a kimura grip. Cormier passes briefly but Miocic gets half guard back. Some body shots from Cormier, and Miocic gets full guard. Some solid defensive guard work from Miocic so far. A few punches from Cormier then he postures up, passes and in the scramble gets around to the ride position and lays in hammer fists while Miocic looks for a single leg. They’re up on the fence in the clinch as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Cormier

ROUND TWO: Miocic comes out and lands a stiff jab. Bit of a right from Miocic then a knee to the body. More body work from Miocic, he’s timing a stepping knee to the body when Cormier tries to close distance. Right from Miocic lands. They trade rights in close, Miocic gets poked in the eye and responds by uppercutting Cormier. They fall into a clinch and Miocic misses an uppercut then lands a right. Bit of a right from Cormier stuns Miocic for a second but he recovers. Jabs from Miocic and then a left hook. They trade lefts then clinch up. Cormier lands a right as they break. Another right lands for Cormier. Brief clinch and Cormier lands an uppercut on the break. One two lands for Miocic. Miocic lands a body kick, Cormier lands a right in close then has a head kick blocked. They both block punches in close as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Miocic but a close one, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: They touch gloves. Miocic front kicks the body. Stiff right from Miocic backs up Cormier for a second. Cormier stuffs a single leg and lands a bit of a right. A few jabs land for Miocic but Cormeir responds with a series of lefts to the eye. They’re both landing short punches in close, mostly arm work but they’re both landing. Cormier lands a leg kick. They clinch up and Miocic lands a few short rights. Knee from Miocic then he misses a spinning elbow as they break. Cormier finds a couple of lefts then lands a body kick. They trade rights then clinch up and Miocic gets a body lock takedown. Cormier quickly wall walks but eats a knee to the face. They remain close and Miocic lands to the body then Cormier lands a punch as they break. Cormier lands a leg kick then a one two. Both men land in close, Miocic’s face is busted up. We get some sloppy striking then they stare away the final seconds.

SCORECARD: 10-10 DRAW, 29-29 overall

ROUND FOUR: Circling to start, Cormier’s footwork is deteriorating and Miocic is pressing him. Jabs from Miocic land then an inside leg kick. Cormier lands a leg kick. More forward pressure from Miocic, and they trade some jabs. Miocic digs a left to the body a couple of times. Cormier lands a bit of a right but Miocic really targeting the liver with his left. Cormier lands a right, Miocic lands a counter. Another left to the body from Miocic. Miocic backs Cormier to the fence, digs the body again. More body shots then a right. Another left to the body hurts Cormier, he backs him into the cage and punches him down out cold along the fence.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER and NEW UFC Heavyweight Champion – Stipe Miocic via TKO, punches, at 4:09 of Round 4

Miocic regains the heavyweight title, and I think firmly secures himself as the best UFC heavyweight champion ever. Mic time for the new champion, he says the fight was tough and he’s grateful that he landed those punches because Cormier wouldn’t stop coming at him. He talks us through the finish and says he knew he had to really go for it because he was just about done too and had to go for it. He puts over Anaheim to close his interview.

Cormier gets some mice time as well, he says he got hit with a lot of rights that he took for granted because he didn’t feel them early but notes the body shots did get to him a little then puts over Miocic as a great champion. Asked about retirement, he says he wont make the decision based on this moment but he’s got a lot of opportunities and he wants to talk with his wife about it.

Here’s the finish, it misses the body shots from Miocic that set everything up but it’s a great finishing sequence.

That will wrap up UFC 241. You know, really good overall event and a ton of credit to Miocic for that gutsy performance. There’s no UFC event next week so I’ll be wasting it doing something else. This Sunday we’ll be breaking down all the action from this event on the 411 Ground and Pound MMA Podcast, I hope you’ll listen in. I’ll be back in two weeks for the UFC’s return to China, first prelim starting at 3 am. I hope you’ll be back for that event, but until then stay safe out there and keep checking 411mania for all of your pop culture needs.

article topics :

UFC 241, Robert Winfree