Stipe Miocic retained the UFC heavyweight title on Saturday night (Sept. 10), when he knocked out Alistair Overeem in first round at UFC 203.
It was Miocic’s first title defense, which ended with him finishing Overeem with strikes on the ground in front of the crowd at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, OH.
Overeem (41-15) looked like he was gonna take the victory early, when he dropped Miocic with a left hand in the opening moments and immediately went for a guillotine choke, but the champ managed to get free and get back to his feet. Overeem later claimed Miocic had tapped and the referee missed it, but replays could not verify his claim.
“He kicked harder than I thought,” Miocic said. “He put me on my ass, and that guillotine — I trained to get out of it. I’m a boxer, wrestler, but I train that sh*t every day… I won the fight. I’m still heavyweight champ, like I said I was.”
The champ would go on to land a number of big shots, which stunned Overeem and literally had him running around the cage. Then, in the final moments of the fight, Miocic caught a side kick and Overeem ended up on the ground. The champ got into top position with less than a minute left in the first round… and two hard right hands knocked out Overeem.
It was Overeem’s first loss since Sept. 2014, following wins over Stefan Struve, Roy Nelson, Junior dos Santos and Andrei Arlovski.
For Miocic, his next opponents could be former champion Cain Velasquez (14-2) or Werdum (21-6-1). Werdum took a unanimous decision win against Travis Browne in Saturday’s co-main event.