TUF Brazil Finale: Miocic vs. MaldonadoSaturday, May 31 – 11:30 p.m. ET
Sao Paulo, Brazil
Stipe Moicic (11-1) vs. Fabio Maldonado (21-6)5-Round Heavyweight bout
Line: Miocic -475, Maldonado +350
Stipe Miocic will be in action on Saturday against Fabio Maldonado at TUF Brazil Finale in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Miocic was supposed to be in action against Junior Dos Santos, but those plans changed after Dos Santos had to pull out due to an injury during his camp two weeks ago. Since a TKO loss to Stefan Struve on Sept. 29, 2012, Miocic has won two consecutive fights. In his last fight on Jan. 25, he was able to score a unanimous decision victory against Gabriel Gonzaga with a striking advantage of 63-29. Before that on June 15, 2013, he held a whopping 106-23 edge in significant strikes in a decision win over Roy Nelson. During those wins, Miocic did a terrific job of dictating the tempo, while never allowing his opponent to get into a comfort level. The matchup with Dos Santos was supposed to be the fight that helped Miocic prove he deserved a chance at the UFC heavyweight title. However, he will be going up against a guy in Maldonado, who is moving up a weight class to take this fight in his home country. Maldonado enters this fight on a three-match winning streak. All three of those wins have come by way of decision, with his victory against Glan Villante on March 23 being decided unanimously. This is a tough one for Miocic because he is not fighting the same guy he had hoped. However, a loss here would be damaging to his title goals, so look for the heavily-favored MIOCIC to come out and take care of business and get the easy victory.
Miocic has 11 victories in his career, with eight of them coming by way of knockout. He also has three wins by decision, including his last two. The biggest advantage Miocic will have in this match is his size advantage. He weighs in at 240 pounds, which is 35 pounds heavier than Maldonado, and Miocic also stands three inches taller at 6-foot-4. Both guys land a lot of significant strikes per minute (6.2 for Maldonado and 5.18 for Miocic), but Miocic’s strength advantage will make it difficult for Maldonado to go punch-for-punch. Miocic will have a big grappling advantage (2.15 takedowns for Miocic, compared to 0.47 for Maldonado), and that could be the difference. While he is not looking to win the fight by submission, he can absolutely wear his opponent down with the ground-and-pound approach. If the 31-year-old Miocic is able to establish his size advantage early in the fight, this could be over quickly.
Miocic will be the strongest fighter Maldonado has ever gone up against, but he enters this fight with 21 career victories, including 13 by way of knockout. The 34-year-old also has six victories by decision and two by submission. While Maldonado has the advantage in significant strikes landed in this fight, this is a very difficult matchup for him. Maldonado's biggest advantage coming into this fight is the fact that he is fighting in his home country. He will have to use that energy to set the tone, as Miocic obviously would prefer to be fighting Junior Dos Santos. If Maldonado is able to use his quickness and pick his spots, he could have enough punching power to come in and pull off the shocker.