When Stipe Miocic steps into the octagon on Saturday night in his home town of Cleveland, he will attempt to defend The UFC Heavyweight Championship for the first time. A weird stigma has been placed over that title in recent years. The last two champions have not been able to defend their title when they have had home field advantage. Will Stipe break this streak or will he fall victim to the same fate?
Cain Valasquez became a two time champion back in 2012 with a dominant victory the Junior Dos Santos. He stayed champion until 2015 when he fought Fabricio Werdum in Mexico. Although Cain was born in The United States this was a huge homecoming for The Mexican-American star. The altitude and Werdum’s solid chin proved to be too much and a new champion was crowned.
Werdum in his first title defence would face Miocic. This time the fight was in Brazil, Werdum’s native land. The crowd was wild and were chanting for Stipe to “DIE”. Although Werdum was at home, he lost in the first round by a counter punch knock out. A new champion was crowned in Miocic.
Add to this the current trend of champions losing in 2016, the writing appears to be on the wall for Stipe, if you are superstitious that is. So far this year in nine ten title fights (not including the interim title fights), the champions have only managed to defend three times. Having home field advantage would generally be seen as a comfort for fighters but perhaps the latest trends suggests that it actually serves as an added pressure.
Saturday night at UFC 203 Miocic will fave Alistair Overeem. Both fighters have been on a tear lately and “The Reem” will look to relieve Miocic of his championship duties. Can Stipe successfully defend or will he fall to the same fate of Werdum and Velasquez and lose on his home turf?
Tune into mmacs.net to keep up with up to the minute results, this Saturday night starting with the early prelims.
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