Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier will headline UFC 252 Saturday night with a heavyweight showdown for the main event of the pay-per-view event on ESPN+. The main event features two titans of the heavyweight circuit in a third championship matchup, with Cormier saying that he intends to make this his final bout. Outside the main event, Saturday night’s UFC bout lineup is loaded. The colorful undefeated American Sean O’Malley will take on Marlon Vera in a bantamweight matchup. In more heavyweight action, Junior Dos Santos will take on Jairzinho Rozenstruik. The rest of the main card is filled out with Herbert Burns vs. Daniel Pineda and John Dodson vs. Merab Dvalishvili. UFC matches have gone back to a normal schedule as the fighting circuit continues to work its way back amid the coronavirus outbreak. Saturday’s bout won’t be all the out on Fight Island, but will take place without fans in attendance.
Watch UFC 252 PPV on ESPN+
Saturday’s UFC coverage will be carried by ESPN. The main card starts at 10 p.m. EST and will air exclusively on ESPN+ pay-per-view. Viewers must have play for the fight on top of the cost of an ESPN+ subscription. The Early Prelims and Prelims will be available on TV via ESPN. They’ll also be available to watch online via ESPN+. That preliminary coverage runs from 7 p.m. EST to 10 p.m. EST.
Here’s all the info you need to catch the fights Saturday night:
Location: Barclays Center | Brooklyn, New York
Start time: Coverage of UFC 252 starts on ESPN/ESPN+ with the Prelims starts at 7 p.m. EST and the Main Card starting at 10 p.m. EST.
Live stream: Main Card on ESPN+ (pay-per-view) | Prelims on ESPN+
TV channel: The 7 p.m. Early Prelims and 8 p.m. Prelims will be broadcast on ESPN. However, the Main Card at 10 p.m. is a pay-per-view event and is only available on ESPN+.
Cost for the pay-per-view fight: The price to watch UFC 249 is $64.99, which is on top of the cost to access ESPN+, which is already a paid service. New subscribers can get the fight and an annual ESPN+ subscription for $84.98.
The full card is available here.
Daniel Cormier (-115) vs. Stipe Miocic (-105) | Heavyweight championship
Sean O’Malley _-300) vs. Marlon Vera (+230) | Bantamweight
Jairzinho Rozenstruik (-135) vs. Junior Dos Santos (+115) | Heavyweights
Herbert Burns (-280) vs. Daniel Pineda (+230) | Featherweight
Merab Dvalishvili (-240) vs. John Dodson (+200) Bantamweight
Vinc Pichel (-130) vs. Jim Miller (+110) | Lightweight
Virna Jandiroba (-310) vs. Felice Herrig (+250) | Women’s strawweight
TJ Brown (-155) vs. Danny Chavez (+130) | Featherweight
Livia Renata Souza (-170) vs. Ashley Yoder (+145) | Women’s strawweight
Parker Porter (-120) vs. Chris Daukaus (+120) | Heavyweight
Kai Kamaka III vs. Tony Kelley | Featherweight
More coverage via the Associated Press
The hype for the third heavyweight fight in the Stipe Miocic-Daniel Cormier trilogy comes with a bit of a bombastic claim — the winner is not only the champion, but can stake his reputation as the greatest in the history of the division.
“They’re two of the best ever,” UFC President Dana White said. “Saturday you find out who’s the best heavyweight of all time. It doesn’t get any better than this.”
It is billed as the super fight to end all super fights — well, until the next one — with good reason. The heavyweights slugged it out and traded wins in two crazy fights that had the sport frothing for a third. They’ll settle the score Saturday when Miocic defends the championship against Cormier in the main event of UFC 252 at the UFC APEX complex in Las Vegas.
“We have unfinished business,” Miocic said.
Let others debate where the two truly stand on the list of greats. But what is undisputed is that both have built their resumes to make the short list of contenders for UFC’s No. 1 big man.
The 37-year-old Miocic is a two-time champion and started his second reign when he defeated Cormier last August in the rematch at UFC 241. Miocic (19-3) lost the first two rounds on every judge’s scorecard until he stopped Cormier with a barrage of punches in the fourth.
Miocic reigned as the UFC’s heavyweight champion for 26 months, and he defended his belt a UFC-record three consecutive times before Cormier dethroned him in July 2018 with a first-round stoppage victory. Despite Cormier’s decisive victory, Miocic campaigned for a rematch and eventually received it when Cormier said he “deserved it.”
Miocic continued to work shifts for the Valley View (Ohio) Fire Department during the pandemic and planned to return with the belt still around his waist.
“Getting that belt back was everything,” Miocic said.
The 41-year-old Cormier (22-2, 1 NC) is a former two-division champion and has already cemented his status as one of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters in UFC history. The amiable Cormier, who has found his niche as a successful broadcaster, has vowed to retire after Saturday and end a career in which 10 of his last 11 fights were fought with a championship on the line.
Cormier — who never got his desired big-money bout with Brock Lesnar — compared himself this week to Michael Jordan (Chicago Bulls edition) or Peyton Manning as the kind of star athlete who rides off into retirement sunset with a championship.
“It would put me in that type of sphere with some of the greatest athletes that have ever competed across any sport,” Cormier said. “When I win on Saturday, I will retire in that way.”
Cormier ( a -115 favorite ) knocked out Miocic at UFC 226 in the first round in their 2018 bout to win the heavyweight belt.
Cormier understands, though, that for all the title belts, big wins and accolades, his career might be viewed askew should he lose and finish with a 1-2 mark against Miocic and a losing mark against light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. Cormier lost both fights to Jones, his big, bitter rival, with the second one overturned when Jones failed a doping test. The result was changed to a no contest.
Cormier says the losses to Jones and Miocic have lingered longer than he’d like to admit.
“I’m a guy with a big ego and that would suck,” Cormier said. “I’ve got to be honest. To think that there would be two guys in my career that were better than me and I had multiple chances to beat them and I didn’t get it done.”
Walk out of the octagon a champion, and he’ll retire as champ — though count White among the many who don’t believe Cormier will actually quit.
“Dana doesn’t just go, ‘D.C. I love you. You’re a great guy. Fight for all these championships,’” Cormier said. “I earned these opportunities. All these tough guys I’ve fought … that’s all earned.”
UFC defended itself from early criticism that it should have punted on holding fight cards during the pandemic and has run some of its most successful cards in recent years, in both quality and pay-per-view buys. It’s no wonder White has promoted the bout as “the best trilogy” in UFC’s history. It’s the one Miocic plans to win and continue to reign as champ — and strengthen his legacy as the greatest.