When two heavyweights meet in the Octagon, heavy leather is always on the docket, as it was when Stipe Miocic and Gabriel Gonzaga met in the UFC on Fox 10 co-main event on Saturday night at the United Center in Chicago.
It was quickly obvious that Miocic would try to employ his superior speed and athleticism to pick Gonzaga apart, working off of his jab. At the same time, Gonzaga didn’t hide his intent to use every opportunity to set up his powerful overhand right, searching for the knockout.
Gonzaga looked solid to start the fight and at the opening of round two, but began to fade as the second stanza wore on. Miocic, picking up on his opponent’s waning reserves, stepped up his attack, constantly sticking his jab in Gonzaga’s face, moving him around the ring, and sneaking in the occasional elbow and uppercut.
Gonzaga didn’t give up, but the kicks he was using to set up the overhand right lost their snap, and even his overhand right attempts were a slow-motion version of what he was throwing earlier in the fight.
Miocic continued his jabs in the final round, but took more out of Gonzaga’s tank with an ankle pick that sent the Brazilian to the canvas midway through the round. Gonzaga got up, but Miocic rocked him with a punch and Gonzaga went staggering back to the canvas, where he remained on his back until Miocic dropped into his half guard and dropped numerous hammerfists to his head.
Gonzaga escaped and regained his feet in the fading moments of the fight, but didn’t have the gas to attempt much, and the fight landed in the hands of the judges, who scored the fight unanimously for Miocic.
“I was trying to hit him with everything I had,” said Miocic after the fight. “He was tough, but it was fun. He hits hard and can take a punch. I did catch him in the third round, finally.”
After having his rocket ride to title contention sent off course by Stefan Struve in 2012, Miocic’s victory over Gonzaga adds to his rebound victory over Roy Nelson in June of last year, putting him back on course as a future heavyweight contender.
(Follow @KenPishna on Twitter)