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 The UFC heavyweight title is up for grabs this Saturday night as the rubber match between legendary figures Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier goes down at UFC 252.

Pitting the UFC heavyweight record-breaker Miocic against the retiring Cormier, both men are looking to cement their position as the greatest heavyweight the promotion has seen and arguably of all-time.

Supported by a fun main card that should promise exciting bouts, UFC 252 looks to be big stakes for a fair few fighters which should make for a must-see event.

Stipe Miocic (19-3) vs. Daniel Cormier (22-2, 1 NC)

Miocic – Cormier may well go down as one of the greatest trilogies in MMA history and it will be for the fact that technically and tactically they make for a fascinating match-up.

While Miocic has historically done little else than box inside of the octagon, his ability to mix up his shots has allowed him to land big shots, none more so than his decision to go to the body in his last outing against Cormier.

Thanks to DC’s prevalence to hand fight, Miocic was able to free himself of Cormier’s range-finding tactic and dig underneath to a defensive frailty that brought about the end of the contest.

Prior to that fourth-round adjustment though, Cormier was getting the better of Miocic.

Thanks to his speed and more well-rounded skill set, Cormier was in the driving seat prior to being on the receiving end of the great heavyweight equaliser that is fight-ending power.

Cormier has not hidden his desire to employ more of his wrestling in this final chapter and while it is where the clearest gap between the two fighters lies, questions will arise above whether he can keep up that grinding style over 25 minutes at 41-years old.

It’s a remarkably tough fight to pick thanks to the fact that they are both elite fighters in the most dangerous weight class, but the smaller cage that they will be fighting in makes me think that Cormier will be able to instigate more grappling exchanges and ride off into the sunset with a final ‘W’.

Pick: Daniel Cormier

Sean O’Malley (12-0) vs. Marlon Vera (17-6-1)

Unquestionably, Marlon Vera will be the toughest fight that O’Malley has undertaken thus far.

While Vera’s slow starts may well play into O’Malley’s ability to dictate range, ‘Chito’ is well-rounded, diverse in his pressure and he’s a durable fighter.

While O’Malley has shown serious power and speed at the bantamweight limit, we haven’t seen him dragged deep into a fight or much of his ground game which Vera could capitalise on.

It’ll also be interesting to see how O’Malley’s defence holds up as his head movement is stationary and he can be caught between stance switches, but I am hesitant in Vera’s gameplan.

Whether it be gamesmanship, Vera and his team have spoken of fighting at range and I think that’s the worst possible decision to make against O’Malley.

If that’s the case, I think O’Malley’s speed and varied offence will keep Vera at bay.

Pick: Sean O’Malley

Junior dos Santos (21-7) vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik (10-1)

Rozenstruik has proven to be the ultimate heavyweight lottery fighter.

While he clearly has technical stand-up ability, his fight against Alistair Overeem saw him dominated for practically five-full rounds on the feet before a leaping hook brought about a KO win.

Much like that fight, Dos Santos is probably the more technical of the two but he does offer lapses in defence that Rozenstuik can capitalise on.

Maybe Rozenstruik is coming back into the octagon too soon after a KO loss of his own but I think JDS’ waning durability and tendency to overreach will see him countered in a harmful way.

Pick: Jairzinho Rozenstruik

John Dodson (21-11) vs. Merab Dvalishvili (11-4)

Dvalishvili operates at a ridiculous pace when it comes to his wrestling while Dodson is simply ridiculously fast.

Dodson has made a habit recently of rarely engaging his opponent but Dvalishvili’s pressure will surely force him into reacting, whether it be with strikes or staving off takedown attempts.

It’s a tough fight to pick as Dodson has shown to be a great anti-wrestler in the past and his stand-up is better than Dvalishvili’s but I think the way in which the Georgian relentlessly goes after takedowns will see him just edge Dodson in a competitive bout.

Pick: Merab Dvalishvili

Herbert Burns (11-2) vs. Daniel Pineda (26-13, 2 NC)

Burns missed weight for this bout which could affect his gas tank but I doubt this fight goes deep enough for that to become a problem.

Both Pineda and Burns are aggressive in their approach and while Pineda is a decent grappler, Burns is likely the better of the two on the mat. Burns’ aggression could see him caught coming in by Pineda but I think the Brazilian should be able to tie up the more experienced man and snatch up a submission.

Pick: Herbert Burns

(Last Predictions: 4/5, Total: 78/113, 69% Success Rate)

(Success Rate: 201661%’1760%’1858%19′: 57%)

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