The Circus Goes to Believeland

ufc-203The UFC has made their way through the complicated sports world by creating big events and always looking for new places to go.

They have some key places in the world that they travel to with Las Vegas being their home base and the bigger cities being favourite spots.

They are always looking for new places to explore and new places to bring their brand of fighting to in order to continue their growth.

One place that many did not necessarily see as a place that the UFC was aiming for was Cleveland, Ohio.

Cleveland is often the butt of jokes for the fact that it was once a booming industrial town that has fallen on hard times over the last decade.

To compound the suffering the sports in the city have not been the greatest escape for a people suffering from the economic downturn.

They have often been labelled one of the worsts sports cities due to the lack of a championship in their city for decades.

The city has never been known as a sports hotbed and was certainly never on the list for the UFC in their travelling show.

That was until Stipe Miocic, a native of Euclid, Ohio just outside of Cleveland, knocked out Fabricio Werdum to win the UFC title.

In a way, Miocic broke the championship streak becoming the first UFC champion from the Cleveland area and the first major champion from the area.

He was later followed by the AHL’s Lake Erie Monsters and eventually the Cleveland Cavaliers who won the NBA title this past season.

The city is in a new state for sports right now as “Believeland” is hungry for more and the UFC gave them more.

They decided to take the show to Cleveland where they featured the Ohio native in the main event as he attempted to defend his belt for the first time.

The fight card was more than just Miocic though as the UFC had also added a bit of a freakshow fight in giving pro wrestler CM Punk his chance in the sport.

He had never fought in MMA before and yet he was given a UFC contract to fight his first ever MMA fight in the biggest promotion in the world.

For many, it was not fair as he hadn’t earned his spot in the UFC like every other fighter in the promotion.

He hadn’t proved himself and the UFC is not a place to prove yourself as it is still the promotion with the most talent in the sport.ufc-203ii

He got the easiest match-up he could get as Mickey Gall was entering his second UFC fight and was possibly the only fighter with close to the same experience as CM Punk.

The fight itself turned out to be as one-sided a fight as there may have been in the UFC with CM Punk on the wrong end.

Gall proved to be a solid prospect as he immediately took the fight to the ground and exposed CM Punk for the inexperienced fighter that he was.

Despite the fact that Gall didn’t have a wealth of experience he still came up through other promotions and had been training more than two years.

Gall showed that and he made quick work of CM Punk taking the win and show that CM Punk doesn’t belong in the UFC, something that Dana White expressed after the fight.

After that fight, which hopefully taught the UFC a lesson, it was time for the heavyweights as a former champion and current champion were in action.

The former champion, Fabricio Werdum, was set to take on Travis Browne with both fighters needing a win.

Their fight wasn’t necessarily the greatest despite some exciting moments, including post-fight, but Werdum took the decision win and stayed as the likely next change challenger for the title.

He would figure out his next opponent in the main event as the heavyweight title was on the line.

Miocic was set to defend his belt for the first time in his home state with plenty of pressure surrounding him.

He took on one of the most experienced heavyweight fighters in the UFC in Alistair Overeem.

The former K-1 champion has been through everything a fighter can be through but had yet to fight for a UFC title.

He got his chance against Miocic in a fight that was truly going to test just how good he was after what some consider to be a lucky punch and a bad strategy by Werdum.

mma-sidebar.fwMiocic proved plenty in the fight as he once again faced a fighter with a different strategy but one that seemed effective at the start.

Overeem avoided the fight as much as possible at the start running from Miocic and staying away from the power.

The strategy wasn’t amazing but when Overeem did stop running he landed a massive shot on Miocic dropping him early.

Overeem looked to sink in a guillotine and had it in tight before Miocic eventually broke it and got the fight standing.

Both fighters landed more shots leaving either fighter wobbly until eventually Miocic got the fight to the ground and landed some vicious ground and pound to take the TKO win.

The loss was the first in a title fight for Overeem but after the fight, he seemed to slightly campaign for a rematch when h said he felt Miocic tap in the guillotine.

Looking at the replay it didn’t seem like Miocic ever tapped but Overeem seemed convinced that he had won the fight.

Regardless of that thought, Miocic took the win in front of his home crowd and proved that he can take shots and deliver them with the best fighters in the world.

He still has a long way to go if he wants to clear out the heavyweight division with plenty of people lining up for shots but for the UFC the division is finally rolling and it is all thanks to a hard-hitting man from Ohio.

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