Marcus Marinelli was leaning in opposition to the Octagon at Honda Heart in Anaheim, California, on Aug. 17, 2019. His fighter, Stipe Miocic, was contained in the cage, difficult Daniel Cormier for the UFC heavyweight title.
Within the fourth spherical, with Cormier forward on all of the scorecards, Miocic landed a giant physique shot, adopted by a jab and proper hand to Cormier’s jaw. Seconds later, the combat was over. Miocic received by TKO to reclaim the title he had misplaced to Cormier the earlier summer time.
When referee Herb Dean stepped in to name the combat, Marinelli misplaced it. He screamed in celebration and began slamming his arms in opposition to the bottom of the Octagon as laborious as he might. Then he realized one thing was amiss inside his latex gloves.
The UFC 252 predominant occasion will function some of the extremely anticipated trilogies in MMA historical past. Stipe Miocic, who holds the UFC report for consecutive heavyweight title defenses, will face former two-division champ Daniel Cormier on Saturday. Cormier received their first assembly and the heavyweight belt in 2018, and Miocic evened the rating and regained the title the next 12 months. Within the co-main occasion, rising star Sean O’Malley will look to maneuver to 13-Zero when he meets Marlon Vera.
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UFC 252: Miocic vs. Cormier 3
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It was the substitute wedding ceremony ring he wears when teaching.
“I used to be so freakin’ pumped,” Marinelli mentioned. “I used to be smashing the factor with my arms, like ‘F— yeah!’ I cracked my titanium ring in like 4 items. It was in my glove. I used to be considering like, how did that piece of metallic get in right here?”
On Saturday, two days wanting the one-year anniversary of that victory, Miocic will meet Cormier once more for the heavyweight title at UFC 252 in a bout many have urged might determine who’s the best heavyweight in MMA historical past.
And the physique photographs that helped determine the second leg of this trilogy function a key backdrop for Saturday’s predominant occasion. Cormier even appeared to taunt Miocic throughout an April interview with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani when he mentioned Miocic ought to go to the physique earlier subsequent time.
ESPN interviewed the principals concerned within the 2019 combat to get their firsthand perspective on the techniques that led to Miocic successful again the title.
Stipe Miocic’s physique work proved decisive the final time he fought Daniel Cormier as he scored a fourth-round TKO. Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC through Getty Photographs
Editor’s be aware: Solutions had been edited for size and readability.
Marinelli: After the third spherical, we’re within the nook and I instructed the opposite coaches, ‘Hear guys, I’ve gotta wake Stipe up. I’ve gotta get his thoughts going.’ As a result of he is aware of what to do, and he is aware of he can survive on the market very effectively. Our job is to see what he cannot see and to maintain him secure. I form of obtained up his ass somewhat bit and was like, ‘Hear, you are higher than this motherf—er. You could have it in you. You must get again to what we’re purported to do.’ It actually wasn’t even technical at that time. I knew if we might get his thoughts to appreciate what we ought to be doing, then I do know it could be good.
Miocic: I keep in mind Marcus mentioned, ‘Hey, I do know you have obtained it in there, it’s essential to deliver it out.’ There have been some swear phrases in there, too. However he mentioned, ‘I do know you have obtained this, you have to pull it out proper now. Attain down deep and take it. Go for it.’
Javier Mendez, longtime coach of Cormier at American Kickboxing Academy: I keep in mind myself and the opposite coaches ‘Loopy’ Bob Cook dinner, Rosendo Sanchez and Leandro Vieira going nuts, as a result of DC went away from the plan within the second spherical. He simply slugged it out with him and needed to knock him out. We had been simply pleading with him to return to wrestling and doing the issues that had been working. He did not hear. He is very aggressive. You possibly can’t inform DC, ‘You possibly can’t beat me this fashion.’ He’ll be like, ‘Oh no? OK.’ He’ll attempt to do what we are saying he cannot. However truthfully, the overwhelming majority of the time he does what we are saying he cannot and he is profitable at it.
It was Miocic, not his nook, who noticed the opening to work Cormier’s physique, and that combat IQ helped him regain the title. Joe Scarnici/Getty Photographs
At 1:55 of the fourth spherical, Miocic lands a physique shot, a left hook close to Cormier’s liver. It is Miocic’s first physique shot landed for the reason that second spherical. 5 seconds later, Miocic lands one other one.
Dominick Cruz, UFC analyst, throughout the broadcast: Now he is considering, fourth spherical, begin attacking the physique. He seen DC cannot transfer and dodge these, and he cannot counter. He is simply gotta eat them.
Miocic: I obtained him as soon as with a physique shot within the second. I hit him within the fourth spherical and I am like, ‘Oh, let me strive that once more.’ I did not wish to do it too many instances, as a result of after some time the effectively runs dry. I hit him once more, he winced. I am like, ‘Oh! OK, I discovered it.’
Marinelli: You may inform he got here out totally different for that fourth spherical. Hopefully a few of what I mentioned labored. The proof was within the pudding. He went on the market and began getting little higher imaginative and prescient on what was in entrance of him. As an alternative of simply throwing punches, he had somewhat higher imaginative and prescient and among the tactical method began coming, too.
Cook dinner: You simply knew the physique photographs weren’t good. Truthfully, Daniel fought the primary spherical the best way that he educated. And he simply form of misplaced his cool and was simply making an attempt to knock him out. That form of turned his focus, and he form of stopped preventing good. It was undoubtedly irritating. It was DC preventing extra emotionally than good. It was Stipe making some changes and digging the physique and touchdown some actually lovely photographs, and DC not making the changes, simply nonetheless persevering with on that path of, ‘I am simply gonna attempt to knock him out with the following punch.’ That wasn’t figuring out.
Cormier: Physique photographs are physique photographs. However they are not so debilitating that you may’t combat. He was hitting me within the abdomen, however I used to be nonetheless bashing him within the face. It is not like I wasn’t hitting him. I seen them, clearly, but it surely wasn’t like I used to be panicking, as a result of he was hitting me within the physique.
After absorbing a number of laborious photographs, Daniel Cormier was so centered on making an attempt to guard his physique that he left his head open, and Miocic capitalized. Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC through Getty Photographs
At 2:22 of the fourth, Miocic lands a grazing left uppercut to Cormier’s physique. 5 seconds later, Miocic lands one other hook to the liver space, adopted by one other.
Cruz: That one harm DC. Now [Miocic has] made the adjustment. Clever from Stipe there.
Marinelli: We had been telling Stipe to proceed to search for the physique shot. And we had been trying actually laborious for that proper hand [to the head] after, as a result of I might see Stipe hit him to the physique and you might see Cormier’s physique place change. Cormier dips his head actual good off of proper arms and stuff, but it surely wasn’t shifting then. So we had been making an attempt to get Stipe to go to the pinnacle.
Miocic: It is all good teaching. They inform me what I have to see and issues like that. They’ve helped me out all through my profession in apply, throughout sparring. They inform me, in case you see this, you see that, change to this. You see openings, change to this. You could have plans. Generally these plans do not work and also you go to a different plan.
Miocic lands a tough left hook to the physique at 2:48 of the fourth spherical, adopted by one other three seconds later and one other three seconds after that. One other laborious physique shot comes at 3:13 and one other at 3:18. Cormier comes again with two laborious punches to Miocic’s face, a proper after which a left.
Mendez: I simply noticed the ability depart DC. Together with the rounds he fought, these photographs added to DC being drained. Once you get hit with these varieties of unpolluted photographs, I do not care how nice of form you are in. That many photographs is gonna take loads out of you. When you’re drained already, it is even worse. I simply stored pleading to him to return to wrestling. Wrestle and blend every thing up. You are coming in and simply boxing the man. You are not kicking anymore. ‘I want you to return to MMA — it is MMA.’ Let’s do every thing. I can not keep in mind phrase for phrase what I mentioned, however I can inform you I needed what he did within the first spherical.
Marinelli: You must have a imaginative and prescient of your taking part in area. I believe Stipe lastly obtained a imaginative and prescient of that taking part in area. Generally if you get caught in that chaos, you react with chaos. That is form of what was occurring for the primary three rounds.
Stipe Miocic says that dancing after he knocked out Daniel Cormier was “silly” and that he “should not have executed that.”
At 3:46 of the fourth, Miocic lands a left shovel hook, nearly like an uppercut, to Cormier’s physique after which follows with a proper hand. Miocic hits Cormier with a physique shot, angles out, then smashes a 1-2 mixture — a jab adopted by a proper cross — at 3:59. The mix wobbles Cormier, and that was the start of the top.
Miocic: I noticed he winced, that is why I angled off. It took me Three ½ rounds to angle to my left. I hit him with a 1-2 and caught him throughout the chin. It labored out nice.
Cormier: The physique photographs had been nice. However I at all times say, you can’t take punches consecutively. That is when it turns into an issue. I wasn’t in form. If I wasn’t so drained, I might need fought again by way of that. I might need shot a single-leg [takedown attempt] or one thing to try to maintain myself within the combat. However all that consolation in coaching camp did not permit for me to do this.
Miocic pounces when he sees Cormier harm. He lands two extra proper arms after which a flurry of lefts. Dean steps in and waves the bout off at 4:09 of the fourth. After 14 physique photographs and a few large ending combos, Miocic regains the heavyweight title.
Marinelli: We have labored physique photographs for the reason that day Stipe walked into the gymnasium. He is actually good at physique photographs. We work them on a regular basis. However Stipe made that decision. He noticed it in entrance of him. We would like him to go to the physique – we referred to as it earlier. However he is the one who noticed it and made the decision. His combat IQ is extraordinarily excessive.
Cormier: I believe I fought the dumbest combat I’ve ever fought. My arms had been low. I used to be nonetheless a bit injured after again surgical procedure [in December 2018]. There was loads of consolation in my coaching camp. And due to that consolation, I wasn’t in form. I needed to have some actual critical questions on myself not too long ago with Bob Cook dinner.
I obtained harm to the physique, then I obtained harm to the pinnacle. And one of many causes I fell was as a result of I used to be fatigued. I have been harm worse in loads of conditions and fought my means again. Alexander Gustafsson harm me worse than I used to be harm there. Anthony “Rumble” Johnson harm me dangerous. Even when Jon Jones kicked me within the head, I used to be harm worse and I used to be making an attempt to underhook him and combat again. I used to be in higher cardio form.
Will Miocic go to the physique earlier within the trilogy bout? Will Cormier be able to counter? UFC 252 holds the solutions. Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC through Getty Photographs
Miocic raises his arms and makes a movement like placing on a belt. He does an Irish jig in the midst of the Octagon, which he later mentioned he regretted.
Joe Rogan, UFC analyst, throughout the broadcast: Wow! These nasty left arms to the physique began draining the tank after which Stipe poured it on and regained his title.
Cruz: That isn’t a straightforward factor to do. DC fought an unimaginable combat. All the time he was forward — till Stipe made the changes.
Marinelli: There’s loads of emotion there. I might really feel Stipe’s jubilance. It was like, ‘oh my gosh’ — unbelievable.