UFC on FOX 10: Miocic vs. GonzagaSaturday, January 25 – 10:00 p.m. ET
Stipe Miocic (10-1) vs. Gabriel Gonzaga (16-7) Heavyweight bout
Line: Miocic -240, Gonzaga +180
Stipe Miocic will look to continue his impressive run in the UFC as he goes up against the dangerous Gabriel Gonzaga on Saturday night.
In his last match against Roy Nelson at UFC 161 on June 15, Miocic showed his ability to defeat a powerful fighter by winning the match in a unanimous decision and landing more than four times as many punches as his opponent. Nelson is a fan favorite in the UFC and has the ability to deliver the knockout punch at any minute, but Miocic was able to avoid his fists for the most part and eventually wore Nelson out to get the victory. It was a great bounce-back victory after his knockout loss to Stefan Struve at UFC on Fuel 5 on Sept. 29, 2012. Miocic has a big chance to gain a lot of momentum moving forward, but has a challenge as he goes up against a monster in Gabriel Gonzaga, who has won his last two matches in a combined time of just 1:50. He defeated both Dave Herman (17 seconds) and Shawn Jordan (1:33) by way of knockout, showing that he is an explosive fighter that is looking to end the match quickly. In nine of his past 12 fights, the bout has ended in the first round. Gonzaga has gone 8-4 during that time span, and has put his opponents on their toes from the opening bell. Both of these fighters have a great chance of moving up the ranks in the heavyweight class, but MIOCIC's versatility and conditioning will be the difference on Saturday night.
Of Miocic’s 10 career victories, eight have come by way of knockout. He also has two wins by way of decision. He will have a huge advantage when it comes to strikes landed per minute, where Miocic lands 5.5 compared to just 2.4 by Gonzaga. The 31-year-old has shown throughout his career that he has the ability to deliver the knockout punch, but has also shown the ability to wear out his opponents with his striking. He is also a more accurate striker than his opponent, landing 51.4% of his attempts compared to just 46.7% by Gonzaga. Miocic is a skilled athlete, with a background of being a nationally-ranked Division I wrestler, while also playing baseball for Cleveland State. For Saturday's bout, the 6-foot-4 Miocic will have a two-inch height advantage over his opponent. His last victory over Nelson was a huge momentum builder, and it put Miocic on the map as a true contender in the heavyweight class. With so many people saying it is Cain Velasquez’s class with nobody to contend against him, there is an opportunity for fighters to quickly move up the rankings. While Miocic has a great opportunity in front of him, it will not be easy as he goes up a dangerous fighter in Gonzaga.
"Napao" Gonzaga has 16 victories in his career, with 56 percent (nine) of them coming by way of knockout. He also has seven victories by way of submission and zero wins by decision, and enters Saturday having won five of his past six bouts. While Miocic has the advantage in striking, Gonzaga has the big advantage in grappling. Gonzaga has a takedown average of 3.32, compared to 2.51 for Miocic. The 34-year-old Gonzaga is one of the very best wrestlers in the heavyweight class, as a lot of the fighters in this class rely mainly on their striking. One thing he has to be careful with is not wearing himself out early, as Miocic is more than capable of winning the fight in decision, and Gonzaga has gone the distance just once in his career, a unanimous decision loss to Brendan Schaub in 2010. Both of these fighters understand the importance of this fight, and this has a chance to earn the Fight of the Night award.