The MMA world witnessed the decimation of one of the greats this past weekend. Days on it has yet to settle with many that Stipe Miocic is no longer the fabled “Baddest Man” on the planet.
The first time Stipe and Francis entered the fray it was clear that the inexperienced challenger came up short in his ability to withstand the takedown. Not only was Stipe able to work the single leg takedowns early on, in the latter rounds he was able to drive Francis across the cage and successfully achieve the double leg takedown too.
Even with this comprehensive victory in the first encounter, in the tense run up to the rematch, the forums buzzed on the internet with talk of a repeat. People talked of how within 3 years Francis could not possibly get to grips with a full comprehensive ground game that most professionals take a decade or more to develop.
What Happened then? Lets start with Stipe. Mixed feelings is what I have here. His start seemed maybe lack luster to begin. Static stance and flat footed. Yet, he took punishment and pushed through showing he had turned up, but maybe underestimated Francis.
Francis on the other hand improved in all areas. Crisp clean striking leading with the double jab to the head changing levels to the body. A mix of Kicks and stance. But most important of all a lack of fear, which was evident by leaving his front foot within reach of the single leg takedown. A takedown which he defended robustly and efficiently.
Further glimpses of Francis’ evolution were evident as he spun to take control of Stipes back and rain down blows to the head. Sporadic leg kicks were used throughout the fight which reduced the mobility of Stipe. In the final few exchanges Francis even used a right hand lead to counter with a powerful jab sending Stipe to the cage wall.
As Stipe escapes he hits Francis with a straight while on the back foot, reminiscent of when he first took the title from Fabricio Werdum with a knock out punch. The only flaw here, is that Francis’ chin withstood the blow, and Stipe was lead into a false sense of security, following it up only to be slept by the shortest of left hooks implemented by Francis.
What do we take from this. First of all that Francis is not just a unique physical specimen with the genetics you would sell your soul for. But he also has the good grace to learn from his mistakes and evolve. He proved he has a high level fight IQ which was always questionable as he has rarely seen longer than one or two rounds per fight.
As well as the scary notion that Francis is this deadly after such a short time in the game. It also begs the question who, if anyone will stop him. Talk of Derek Lewis is what Dana White the UFC President suggested at the Post Fight Press conference. As well as speculation Jon Jones would be the preferable target, but would unlikely compete due to his lack of want.
Due to recent Tweets from Jones to get out of his contract or pay up so he can fight. The internet is split in its speculation. Is Jones scared or is he just wanting what he deserves the same pay day you would see Connor McGregor receive.
In this writers estimation Jones will surely face the beast. It is too bigger fight and this is simply part of the build up of anticipation that Dana White uses to build the fight fever reached in previous Pay Per View record breaking events.
I would like to hear your thoughts guys.
Neill Smith OWF.