UFC 203 tips: Granite chin crucial for champion Miocic against heavy-handed Overeem
The Croatian-American defends the heavyweight title for the first time, on the night that former professional wrestler CM Punk makes his MMA bow
Croatian-American Miocic is defending the heavyweight title for the first time in his home town of Cleveland, Ohio, in what should be a relatively close fight.
Overeem is one of the most experienced fighters in the UFC, with 56 MMA defeats to date.
The champion, meanwhile, has been impressive in three successive knockout victories since May 2015.
Heavyweight fights often come down to who has the better chin, as men this big and strong are almost universally blessed with tremendous power.
Considering Miocic has only been stopped once in his career, he has the advantage in that area.
Overeem has won four in a row, but the British-born Dutchman has been knocked out 14 times before and will be in trouble if he gets caught with a haymaker.
Expect an early stoppage in this one - only one of the last 12 UFC heavyweight title fights have gone the distance, with eight of those ending inside two rounds.
- Miocic to win by KO/TKO/DQ/submission
Werdum dropped the heavyweight title to Miocic in uncharacteristic fashion.
The Brazilian was knocked out cold by a counter punch after chasing his opponent around the ring throwing wild strikes.
Prior to that fight, though, Werdum had been on an impressive run of six straight wins - the last of which came against formidable former champion Cain Velasquez in June 2015.
The 39-year-old will surely return to his methodical style against Browne, a man he beat by unanimous decision in April 2014.
Browne is a better fighter than he was back then, but he has still suffered three defeats in his last five fights, two of which were by TKO.
The American has only gone past the first round twice in his last 10 fights, and a more patient Verdum should be able to pick him off with strikes and take him out as he grows tired.
- Werdum to win by KO/TKO/DQ/Submission
It’s rare that you see a 37-year-old make his MMA debut at a major UFC event, but CM Punk’s WWE background has earned him a place on the card.
Neither of these fighters deserve a spot this late in the night, but Gall has at least fought in the UFC before and shows some promise as a welterweight.
The 24-year-old is both younger and more experienced than Punk, who unlike other wrestling crossovers like Brock Lesnar, has no real competitive fighting background to speak of.
The Chicago native should be commended for stepping into the Octagon, but two years of MMA training is not enough to compete in this tough division.
Gall has won both of his previous professional fights by rear naked choke, and considering Punk’s lack of Jiu-Jitsu prowess, he will likely pick up another submission victory here.
- Gall to win by submission
Rivera boasts an impressive 18-1 professional record, but he has only fought three times in the UFC.
The 27-year-old American won all of those fights, but the only stoppage was against Marcus Brimage, who had been beaten in three of his previous four bouts.
Faber has a granite chin – he’s only been stopped once since January 2009 – and he will have no problem dealing with his opponent’s power at this weight.
Rivera has never fought an opponent of the 37-year-old’s calibre.
Faber’s three defeats in his last six fights appear worrying, but two of those came in world title bouts, and the other was at featherweight against No. 2-ranked Frankie Edgar.
- Faber to win