Stipe Miocic blasts out Junior dos Santos in first round to retain heavyweight title

Croatian-American heavyweight makes second defense of UFC title with first-round stoppage at American Airlines Center in Dallas

Defending UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic went deuces wild Saturday night in Dallas, earning a measure of revenge against former champion Junior dos Santos by slamming a jarring punch into the Brazilians left ear. The power behind the ten-strike collapsed Dos Santos along the octagon fencing. He turtled up on the canvas and absorbed several more shots until referee Herb Dean jumped in to stop the fight at the 2:22 mark of the opening round.

The victory marked Miocics second title defense since capturing the belt against Fabricio Werdum last year, tying the record for consecutive victories by a defending champ in the UFC since the title was established in 1997.

Hes looking like the man, said UFC president Dana White. Clevelands killing it right now. Hes plainly not the same fighter who opposed JDS the first time. Super athletic. He stays in the pocket and punches with big guys. Lightning fast. Hes a complete fighter and a really good athlete.

If heavyweight parity has become the story of the division over the years, Miocic is seeking to change that at a time when the UFC class seems ripe for dominating.

I am the best in the world, proclaimed Miocic following his 14 th stoppage in 17 career wins.

Miocics quick finish punctuated the phase of his improvement since losing a unanimous decision to Dos Santos in 2014. A redux of their grueling contest did not materialize on Saturday. Instead, the opening round KO marked Miocics fourth straight first-round stoppage win, the best current streak of any fighter on the UFC roster.

The heavyweights seemed well matched based on research results of their first contest. The five-round affair three years ago stood out among the most competitive heavyweight brawl in recent memory and it was Miocics intention to prove that a wide gulf had developed between the champion and the last human to beat him.

Dos Santos( 18 -5) targeted Miocics lead left leg with low kicks in the opening couple minutes. Several landed with full force and had the effect of impeding the 34 -year-old champions movement.

Everything was working very well the way we expected, told Dos Santos, who felt he was a couple minutes from aiming it. We knew hes a very tough guy who would stroll forward every time.

Miocics shin and left thigh took the brunt of the damage, inspiring the Cleveland fighter to pressure in search of a right straight rather than remain at distance and absorb more damaging leg kickings. Miocic( 17 -2) pressed the issue before observing a home for the fight-ending right, which he explained was a focus of his preparation for the rematch.

He did very well actually, said the challenger. Heavyweights, human, its tough. Im sad, of course. Id like to become the champion. But if Im not the champion Im glad this guy is the champ. Hes a really nice guy. He deserves that. Tonight was his night. Hes the real bargain. He has really heavy hands. So the style I see, hes going to continue to grow in this division and become one of the greatest.

Hes on the way to being the best ever. I admire him. He represents very well the spirit of the sport.

Miocics quick knockout capped a successful and violent return to Dallas for the UFC, where the evenings pay-per-view card played out in front of 17 -8 34 fans inside the American Airline Center.

Two years ago at UFC 185, the promotions strawweight title was contested for in Dallas. Polands Joanna Jdrzejczyk predominated Carla Esparza that night to capture the belt, and she has not come close to relinquishing it since. That held true as Joanna Champion retained the belt for the fifth time in high fashion, cruising past Brazils Jessica Andrade to capture a lopsided unanimous decision( 50 -4 5, 50 -4 5, 50 -4 4 ).

Joanna
Joanna Jdrzejczyk predominated Brazils Jessica Andrade in Saturdays co-main event. Photo: Cooper Neill/ Zuffa LLC/ Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

I told I would defend this title and no one would take this, said the 29 -year-old technician. Here we go. We inducing history.

Theres merely strawweight champion. Joanna Jdrzejczyk from Poland. Thats me. No one is taking this belt away from me. Nobody.

Andrade attempted to overwhelm Jdrzejczyk with her power and guile, and in the opening frame the challengers offense induced a rising hematoma above the champions right eye, but beyond surging assaults she scarcely tested the taller, longer, more skilled titleholder.

Some of the fighters have a big mouth before the fight and they think they know the best route to beat the champion, JJ told. Every camp Im focused on what I can do better and Im always trying to change something. Let them beat me. Thats the thing.

In an welcome change of pace for the champ, she snagged the opening two rounds. Behind on the cards early is a terrible place for adversaries to find themselves because as she has proven again and again she surges in the second half of battles. This was no different. Andrade ate jabs and low kicks, taking more than 200 strikes over the 25 -minute contest.

Andrade was short on reach and limited in terms of options against a far classier champion, who is one win from tying Ronda Rousey for the most consecutive championship defenses for women in the UFC.

Its nice when people call you the best fighter in the world, or the best striker in the UFC, said the 29 -year-old Jdrzejczyk, but I know theres work to do.

Joanna Champion, 14 -0, called the effort the best of her career.

I would imagine what she would do is transgress Ronda Rouseys record at 115 and go for the 125 lb weight class, White said.

Seeking his own title possibility against Tyron Woodley, professorial Demian Maia( 25 -6) did it again. The 39 -year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu expert shut down another dangerous welterweight on the way to his seventh consecutive victory, solidifying a title shot for the 170 lb belt.

Maias ability to entangle Jorge Masvidal in grappling scenarios paid off as it usually does: neutralize, controlling and endangering.

He went really prepared and I was really surprised, Maia said. I thought it was going to be hard to deal with his standup and to maybe take him down. But I thought that once I had him on the ground I would be able to submit him. He was really well trained and very “re ready for” my submissions. Dana told after that I have the next title oppose, so Im very happily married and I will now get ready to fight for the title. I would like to rest a little, take a couple months off and then well figure out when that opposed will be.

Frankie The Answer Edgar left no doubt about his status among the UFC elite by taking young Mexican Yair Rodriguez to school for 10 minutes. Following two lopsided rounds that featured Edgar on top of the dynamic striker, the cageside physician halted the tournament following significant swelling around Rodriguezs left eye.

Rodriguez will have take a step back and regroup following Saturdays failed exam. The momentum that had been built up around him during a six-fight winning streak was completely swamped by one of the stoutest challengers ever to enter the octagon.

Theres levels to this game, Edgar told. Before the fight I said no matter what happens Yair is going to be a hotshot. Just not yet. Sometimes loss like that can help take them to the next level. Hes going to be alright.

Edgar( 22 -5- 1) is more than alright. The 5ft 6in fighter from Toms River, New Jersey, has stood tall as a challenger and champion in the UFC for the last decade. Since falling to the 145 lb class in 2013, Edgar is 7-2, his only losses to the featherweight great Jose Aldo. The outcome of Aldos UFC featherweight title tournament with Max Holloway on 3 June could determine Edgars next championship opportunity.

Opening the pay-per-view, middleweight Dave Branch won a split decision against streaking Polish fighter Krzysztof Jotko. Returning to the UFC for the first time since 2011, Branch( 21 -3) put together a win game plan that was more smart than entertaining.

On the undercard, former UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez strolled into the octagon for the first time since losing to Conor McGregor against another victim of the Irishman, Dustin Poirier. Alvarez was hurt early, rallied, then landed what appeared to be clearly illegal knees as Porier should have been considered a grounded opponent. Referee Herb Dean called the result a no-contest rather than a disqualification. Both fighters said they would be willing to meet again.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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