August 17, 2019; Anaheim, CA, USA; Stipe Miocic lands a hit as Daniel Cormier defends during UFC 241 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
ANAHEIM, California (Reuters) – Stipe Miocic reclaimed the heavyweight title with a stunning fourth-round knockout of Daniel Cormier and Nate Diaz scored a dominant decision win against Anthony Pettis in his first fight in over three years at the UFC 241 on Saturday night.
Former Olympic wrestler Cormier ducked under the longer reach of Miocic to land some heavy punches early before scoring a single-leg takedown and dominating his opponent on the ground.
But Miocic, who lost the heavyweight belt to Cormier via first-round knockout in July 2018, threw caution to the wind in the second, landing a number of heavy shots of his own.
With both men visibly tiring, Miocic changed his tactics in the fourth round, ripping a series of devastating left hooks to the body of his opponent to set up the stoppage with 51 seconds left on the clock.
In the co-main event, Diaz showed no signs of rust despite a three-year layoff following his last bout against Conor McGregor, controlling the tempo against former lightweight champion Pettis.
Fighting at welterweight, California native Diaz landed a late takedown to finish the first round strongly before pressuring Pettis against the fence in the second and landing some heavy strikes to the head and body.
Pettis did well to survive an onslaught of blows midway through the third and final round, but he couldn’t do enough on the ground in the closing minutes to stop his 34-year-old opponent from getting a unanimous decision win on the scorecards of the judges.
“The reason I was off is because everybody sucks,” Diaz said in the octagon before calling for a bout against welterweight challenger Jorge Masvidal, rather than a lucrative trilogy fight with McGregor.
Reporting by Philip O’Connor; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty