The UFC has signed a Heavyweight battle between Gabriel Gonzaga and Stipe Miocic to the UFC on FOX Sports 10 card scheduled for January 25th. Look for Miocic to come in the favorite when the line hits the sport books. When last we saw Miocic, it was June and he was beating up Roy Nelson to get himself back on track after a disappointing loss to Stefan Struve. For all his faults, Gonzaga is 4-1 in his last 5 UFC fights, with his last two wins coming by way of first round stoppage. The winner will likely earn a step up fight in his next outing.
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Gonzaga has had a long UFC career and he is certainly a dangerous veteran when he is on his game. But it is a long time since he KO’d Mirko Cro Cop, and though he has lost really to the UFC’s best, he has also failed to step up and win the big one on several occasions.
So this match is a good barometer of where Miocic is. Miocic was perhaps a victinm of too much early hype, as he did well against entry level competition. Against Struve, several weaknesses were exposed, mainly a faulty gas tank. Against nelson however, who was considered one of the UFC’s premier guys, he looked like he had stepped up and was heading in the right direction.
Miocic is a powerful puncher with a good wrestling background. Little is known about his ground fighting, because he mainly uses his wrestling to stay up and throw punches.
Gonzaga is also a competent striker, and he is likely a better submission fighter than Miocic, so Stipe will want to avoid the ground. If the fight winds up being a stand up affair, both men will be throwing big punches. If Miocic’s has come along with his boxing and can throw punishing combos and land a lot of body shots, he can establish himself as superior on the feet. Testing Gonzaga’s chin is also a good bet, so if Miocic hurts Gonzaga, look for him to close and kill. As happens with Gonzaga fights, this one could end very quickly.