UFC 241: Stipe Miocic stuns Daniel Cormier to reclaim UFC heavyweight title in Anaheim
Stipe Miocic produced a dramatic fourth-round knockout to stun Daniel Cormier and recapture the UFC heavyweight title in a thrilling championship clash at UFC 241.
The American appeared to lose the first three rounds against defending champion Cormier, but came back to pull off a TKO win with 51 seconds left in the fourth.
Miocic's victory saw him become only the fourth fighter in UFC history to recapture the undisputed UFC heavyweight title as he avenged his knockout loss to Cormier in July 2018.
After switching his approach from head-hunting to a concerted attack on Cormier's body, Miocic found the breakthrough at the end of the fourth round in Anaheim, California
He hurt the champion with a punch to the liver, then switched back to the head as he loaded up with power punches to drop his man.
Miocic said his decision to use body shots was crucial in his success.
"I could tell it was hurting him," Miocic, 36, said. "I knew it was open."
Their previous meeting saw Cormier, 40, stun Miocic to claim a first-round stoppage victory and end his opponent's record-setting run as the most dominant heavyweight world champion in UFC history.
Prior to that the fireman from Ohio had been the only man to successfully defend the heavyweight title three times in a row.
Miocic believed that his past record warranted an immediate rematch against Cormier, who instead had hoped to secure a big-money title defence against former UFC champ - and WWE superstar - Brock Lesnar.
But, when that fight failed to materialise, the UFC immediately booked the rematch and Miocic made the most of his opportunity.
Dethroned champion Cormier, 40, praised Miocic's tactical switch, saying: "I think he made a great adjustment," before explaining that he would spend some time with his family before making "an educated decision as to what we're going to do".
Victorious comeback for fan favourite Diaz
In the night's co-main event, fan favourite Nate Diaz ended a three-year break from the sport as he defeated former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis by unanimous decision.
The American, 34, whose most recent bouts saw him famously swap wins with Conor McGregor back in 2016, looked at his very best as he out-struck and out-grappled pre-fight favourite Pettis to earn scores of 30-27, 30-27, 29-28 from the judges to cap his return with an impressive win.
Diaz said he wants to face in-form welterweight contender Jorge Masvidal in his next match-up
There was also a big win for Brazilian middleweight contender Paulo Costa, who defeated long-time contender and 2000 Olympic wrestling silver medallist Yoel Romero in their main card bout.
Costa, 28, extended his perfect professional record to 13-0 with a unanimous decision victory over the 42-year-old Cuban veteran, taking the fight by two rounds to one on all three scorecards.
After his victory, Costa called for a shot at the winner of the upcoming middleweight title unification bout between Australia's UFC champion Robert Whittaker and New Zealand's interim champion Israel Adesanya, who meet in the main event of UFC 243 in Melbourne on October 6.