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UFC 203: Miocic vs. Overeem
January 29 @ 8:30 pm
Over the past 5 months the UFC has showcased a constant stream of the year’s most highly anticipated events. The momentum has been non-stop, from the all-star Brazilian lineup of UFC 198 in May, to UFC 200 in July, and UFC 202: Diaz vs. McGregor 2 this past August, not to mention some of the unforgettable moments in between such as Lawler vs. Woodley and Rockhold vs. Bisping 2.
Most recently, the UFC made its triumphant return to Germany on September 3 in Hamburg, and with UFC 203 closing in, the momentum is not slowing down. If anything, it’s picking up more steam.
UFC 203: Miocic vs. Overeem takes place on September 10 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, headlined by Cleveland’s own UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic (15-2) looking to complete a first defense of the 265lb crown when he takes on Dutch striking powerhouse Alistair Overeem (41-14-1NC).
At UFC 198 Miocic shocked the Brazilian crowd with a first round KO stoppage over former heavyweight king Fabricio Werdum. After losing an incredibly close contest on the scorecards to former champion Junior dos Santos in 2014, the 34-year-old has since produced a streak of three victories featuring back-to-back knockout wins over Mark Hunt, Andrei Arlovski, and Werdum. Miocic now faces off against Overeem whose pursuit of a UFC title shot has been in the making for five years.
Overeem made his long awaited UFC debut in 2011 as one of the most eagerly anticipated acquisitions in the promotion’s history. Prior to signing, Overeem had conquered the world outside of the UFC, winning the K-1 kickboxing World Grand Prix, in addition to claiming heavyweight MMA titles in Dream and Strikeforce. Overeem completed an emphatic UFC debut with a near effortless KO stoppage over former champion Brock Lesnar. However, the road turned rocky in 2012 when the 36-year-old found himself suspended for a doping violation and was knocked out upon his return in 2013 by Brazilian Antonio Silva. The slump continued and Overeem faced back-to-back losses with a shocking first round KO loss at the hands of Travis Browne.
‘The Reem’ dragged out a unanimous decision win over former champion Frank Mir in 2014, but was again knocked out later that same year by Ben Rothwell. The resurgence finally kicked off in December of 2014 with KO victory over fellow Dutchman Stefan Struve, followed by a unanimous decision win against the hardy Roy Nelson, plus a pair of highlight knockout wins against former champions Junior dos Santos and Andrei Arlovski most recently on May 8.
Former champion Fabricio Werdum (20-6-1) features in the UFC 203 co-main event as he looks to bounce back from losing the title to Miocic by taking on Travis Browne (18-4-1). Browne himself is looking to get back on form; after the highlight KO of Overeem in 2013, ‘Hapa’ followed up with another notable victory over former champion Josh Barnett, but has since lost three of his last 5 bouts with most recent loss coming via TKO in the first round against returning former champion Cain Velasquez, at UFC 200 on July 9.
Also on the UFC 203 main card, Phil Brooks aka ‘CM Punk’ (0-0) makes his long awaited MMA debut, searching for a a dream start to what has been a compelling journey, but standing in his way is Mickey Gall (2-0) who took victory in his UFC debut in just 45 seconds, against fellow debutant Mike Jackson. In addition, bantamweight contender Jimmie Rivera (19-1) has now collected a trio of victories in the UFC, accumulating a 18-fight win streak in the process. The 27-year-old now faces the greatest test of his career so far against the iconic veteran Urijah Faber (33-9). Opening the UFC 203 main card will be a battle of top 10 contenders in the Women’s Strawweight division as Scotland’s no.7 ranked Joanne Calderwood (11-1) takes on no.6 ranked Brazilian Jessica Andrade (14-5).
UFC 203 full card below:
Heavyweight Championship: Stipe Miocic (c) vs. Alistair Overeem
Heavyweight: Fabrício Werdum vs. Travis Browne
Welterweight: CM Punk vs. Mickey Gall
Bantamweight: Urijah Faber vs. Jimmie Rivera
Women’s Strawweight: Jéssica Andrade vs. Joanne Calderwood
Women’s Bantamweight: Jessica Eye vs. Bethe Correia
Lightweight: Nik Lentz vs. Michael McBride
Middleweight: Caio Magalhães vs. Brad Tavares
UFC Fight Pass Prelims
Welterweight: Yancy Medeiros vs. Sean Spencer
Light Heavyweight: CB Dollaway vs. Francimar Barroso
Lightweight: Drew Dober vs. Jason Gonzalez