Stipe Miocic continued to prove himself as one of the more athletic heavyweights in the UFC as he outlasted Gabriel Gonzaga to earn a unanimous decision victory at UFC on FOX 10 in Chicago. Miocic showed a superior gas tank as his cardio advantage was in evidence as the fight progressed, and simply outworked the Brazilian veteran over the three-round contest.
Just as he had done in a victory over Roy Nelson, Miocic once again utilized his impressive boxing skills to earn the nod on the judges’ scorecards by scores of 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28. He improved to 11-1 with the victory.
“Napao” had looked impressive in his second go-round with the promotion, stringing together a 5-1 mark heading into the fight and was fresh off a pair of first-round knockout performances against Dave Herman and Shawn Jordan. While Gonzaga landed some solid right hands and a big head kick in the opening round, Miocic displayed a sturdy jaw as he ate the shots and moved forward without showing any ill effects.
He really began to up the pace in the striking department in round two and seemed to grow in confidence as the fight progressed, while Gonzaga began to noticeably fade. Miocic did a solid job of not allowing Gonzaga to get him to the ground, where the Brazilian could put his submission game to work. Miocic dished out a number of big shots from top position in the final round and employed an effective ground-and-pound game.
While it wasn’t a slugfest and didn’t produce a finish as many suspected, it was a strong follow-up effort for Miocic after his impressive performance at UFC 161. It’ll be intriguing to see where matchmakers look in finding the next challenge for the top-10 contender. For Gonzaga, his positive momentum was derailed by the loss, and the performance certainly dashed any hopes he might have had about getting another title shot down the road.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports