American-born MMA fighter of Croatian descent Stipe Miocic was hailed like Julius Caesar returning from the Battle of Zela by his hometown fans of Cleveland. Only instead of veni, vidi, vici it was more like “I came, I saw, I kicked his a**.” The Silencer made the trip back home with a little extra hardware around his waist after defeating former UFC champion – and UFC betting favorite at the time – Fabricio Werdum in Curitiba, Brazil, on Saturday.
Fans waiting for him at the airport gave him an overwhelming reception, and who could blame them? After all, not only Miocic never skipped town to win titles for another city, but he still lives in Northeast Ohio where he currently works as a part-time firefighter while he trains for mixed martial arts matches.
Miocic won the UFC heavyweight championship from Werdum via first round knockout in the main event of UFC 198 in Werdum’s own home country – just to add insult to injury. Werdum went after Miocic recklessly and the latter made him pay for it. As mentioned elsewhere, Alistair Overeem is more than likely going to be the new number 1 contender for new champ, after winning his fourth consecutive fight by knocking out Andrei Arlovski. However, Cain Velasquez could still interject himself in the main event picture if he puts on a strong showing in a fight versus Travis Browne at UFC 200. Sadly for people who bet on UFC, there are no Triple Threat matches in mixed martial arts.
The reception Miocic at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport in stark contrast with the funereal silence the fell over the Arena da Baixada when he caught Werdum with a short right hook counter while backpedaling away from a flurry of punches in the first round, not just winning the championship but also putting an end to the so-called Cleveland sports curse – a championship drought that lasted more the 50 years and “affected” all major sports teams. So, if you’re going to bet on Cleveland, make sure that you bet on UFC.
And speaking of UFC betting, Miocic suggested that he’s going to be holding on to the UFC heavyweight belt for a long time to come, which would be yet another milestone, seeing as no champion has defended the title more than two times in the history of the company. And speaking of no holds barred fights, Miocic is now going to focus on marrying his current fiancée. Now that’s a UFC betting proposition in which the current heavyweight champion is not the favorite. I would not be surprised if started tapping out to his soon to be wife’s every wish, whim, and command.