Stipe Miocic beats Daniel Cormier to retain UFC heavyweight title
Stipe Miocic retained his heavyweight title and sent Daniel Cormier spiralling into retirement with a decision victory in their trilogy clash.
The rivals were meeting for a third time in as many years having each notched a stoppage win in their previous two clashes.
And in an empty arena in Las Vegas, Miocic cemented his position as the greatest heavyweight in UFC history with all three judges giving the champion the nod.
Miocic made the earlier inroads as he looped in the left hooks to the body which served him so well in the second meeting.
But Cormier responded with a takedown during a patient opening two minutes.
The champion suffered an eye-poke with 90 seconds of the opening session remaining but was able to recover after a timeout.(Image: Zuffa LLC)
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And Miocic showed no ill-effects as he landed right hands to head and body but Cormier responded with the same shot to have the final say of the round.
And he carried his momentum into the second stanza as he out-struck the champion but Miocic responded with a left hook before he dropped Cormier in the dying seconds to steal the round.
Miocic continued to let his hands go in the third session as he looked to take advantage of his dazed challenger.
And in the final seconds it was Cormier on the end of an eye-poke but referee Marc Goddard missed the offence.(Image: Zuffa LLC) (Image: Zuffa LLC)
The challenger's eye began to swell up in the break between rounds as he struggled to see but he maintained his composure to edge the champion in the penultimate session.
The fight, and Cormier's legacy, came down to the final five minutes but it was Miocic who started the better and began to control the round.
The rivals exchanged right hands midway through but it was the champion whose shots were crisper as the result was left in the hands of the judges.