Cormier Favored in UFC Title Rematch with Miocic in August

Cormier Favored in UFC Title Rematch with Miocic in August

Over the weekend, the UFC made it official: Daniel Cormier would be defending his heavyweight title on August 17 at UFC 241 in Anaheim, CA. For a long time, it looked like Cormier would be facing Brock Lesnar, but with the UFC unable to come to acceptable terms unable to come to acceptable terms with the WWE superstar, the organization instead opted for a rematch for Cormier against the man he took the belt from last July, Stipe Miocic.

Miocic, who sat on the sidelines for the past year demanding and automatic rematch, finally gets his wish, but under very different circumstances. When they first fought, Miocic was a solid favorite, a reigning champion staring down the barrel of a money fight with Lesnar should he win.

Now, Miocic will be a slight underdog, looking to rebound off of a first-round KO loss. The odds are already out for this heavyweight title fight so let’s take a look.

Cormier vs. Miocic Odds

When Cormier and Miocic first fought at UFC 266, Miocic was a decent favorite, opening at -170 and closing around -200. But after getting knocked out cold in one round in their first encounter, those odds have flipped, with Cormier opening as a slight favorite, -120 per FanDuel and PaddyPower, with the comeback on Miocic being even money. Considering how things went a year ago, those odds seem mighty generous.

Cormier is somewhat of an anomaly in MMA as the oddsmakers tend to favor him more than the UFC betting public does. In 4 of his last 5 fights, Cormier has closed at a lower number than he opened. I do not expect that trend to continue here.

Cormier is one of the greatest fighters we’ve ever seen and though he plans to retire this year, that’s a result of his own choices, not his waning skills. Cormier deserves to be a bigger favorite and as the fight draws nearer, I expect the public to catch up and push him closer to -170 or so, the same odds Miocic had in their original contest.

Breaking Down Cormier-Miocic First Fight

Heading into their first fight, there were a lot of questions about how Cormier would look in his return to heavyweight.

The two-time Olympian had been building an excellent resume in the top division in the sport before dropping down to 205 pounds to chase after Jon Jones; however, Cormier had never fought a heavyweight like Miocic, a tough-nosed boxer with a grappling acumen to boot, who could potentially match Cormier’s pace and speed.

But while those attributes were the cornerstone of Miocic’s title run, in Cormier he found a man who could match him in those respects, and surpass him in others - namely, the clinch.

During their brief fight, Miocic was having success at range, but when Cormier was able to pressure his way inside, Miocic was ill-equipped to handle it, nor was he as quick to make adjustments as Cormier was.

Just over four minutes into the fight, Cormier noticed that Miocic was lazy about his defense when exiting the clinch, and punished him for it with a right hook that turned out the champion’s lights.

This was not a fluke KO. Miocic has been dropped a number of times recently and Cormier had figured out how best to attack the champion after only a few minutes.

Moreover, Cormier did this despite dealing with a lingering back issue that he only just had surgically repaired in December. With a healthy amount of rest and a fully functioning back, it seems highly likely that history is set to repeat itself.

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