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UFC 198: Why Miocic Beats Werdum

Stipe Miocic UFC

Stipe Miocic will step into the Octagon Saturday night at UFC 198 as a +130 underdog and attempt to become the fourth man in four and a half years to win the UFC Heavyweight Title. Since a close decision loss to Junior dos Santos at the end of 2014, he’s TKO’d Mark Hunt and Andrei Arlovski to put himself in the position to challenge for the title.

Here’s why I think we hear Bruce Bruffer say the words “And new” at the conclusion of the fight:

Because this is how the heavyweight division works

The history of the UFC Heavyweight Championship is littered with injuries and interim champions, and in case you haven’t noticed, fighters aren’t able to hang on to the heavyweight title like they are in other divisions. Quite simply, the only reason any recent heavyweight champ has been able to hang onto the belt for a significant period of time has been because they’ve been injured and unable to compete.

It’s been 11 months since Werdum defeated Cain Velasquez to unify the heavyweight title and a year and a half since he won the interim title.

Some might view Werdum’s six fight win streak as a positive, but I don’t think it’s realistic to maintain given the current landscape of the heavyweight division where anyone can win on any night — just like when Werdum beat Velazquez. So, based on what we’ve learned in the past about the heavyweight title constantly changing hands, I think Werdum’s time is up.

Werdum’s Greatest Strength Won’t Matter

Werdum’s striking skills have grown significantly since his return to the UFC in 2012, but make no mistake about it, his ground submission skills are still his bread and butter. Whether or not this fight goes to the ground won’t be his decision though — that’ll be up to Miocic who has dictated where the fight ends up in every single one of his 10 UFC fights.

Here’s the proof — Miocic has never been taken down more than once against any UFC opponent.  He’s blocked 70% of all takedown attempts, and has landed 16 takedowns in his UFC career compared to only being taken down a total of three times in ten fights.

Werdum won’t submit Miocic unless the fight goes to the ground, and the fight will only go to the mat if Miocic wants it to, which he won’t.

Miocic’s Greatest Strength Will Matter

When he won the heavyweight title, Werdum was able to take advantage of an ill-prepared Cain Velasquez by doing the unthinkable and out-striking the former champ, but attempting the same strategy against Miocic will get Werdum in trouble this time around.

Since 2013, Miocic has landed 390 strikes while being hit 217 times. That’s a differential of +173 in six fights, for an average of 28.8 more strikes than his opponent in each of those fights. His striking defense is almost as impressive, as he’s avoided 63% of strikes in his UFC career. He’s faced a murderer’s row of high level head hunters and appears to only be getting better.

Miocic is a high-volume striker, so the longer this fight goes, the more punishment Werdum will be forced to absorb. This will lead to a T/KO or decision win for the Ohio native.

UFC 198: Fabricio Werdum vs Stipe Miocic

Odds as of May 10 at Bovada

  • Fabricio Werdum -160
  • Stipe Miocic +130

Justin Hartling disagrees and thinks Werdum defends his title. Here's his reasons why.