While the decisive victory did little to raise his stock, UFC heavyweight contender Stipe Miocic did what he had to do against late injury replacement Fabio Maldonado in the main event of the TUF Brazil 3 finale. Maldonado, who was confident his iron chin would hold up against his much larger opponent, found out the hard way that taking a clean shot from a 240-pound fighter is much different than absorbing punishment against a 205-pound light heavyweight. The end result was Miocic getting his hand raised in victory after what proved to be a 35-second mismatch.
The Ohio native improved to 12-1 and has now won three-consecutive fights since his only career loss against Stefan Struve. Miocic would hurt the normally durable Maldonado early in the contest with a left hook, and would follow moments later with a crisp right hand and hammerfists to seal the deal. It was his eighth career knockout.
Miocic had been originally slated to face former heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos only to see “Cigano” withdraw because of a broken hand. Maldonado showed plenty of courage in stepping up to the plate for the main event slot, but found out quickly he was in way over his head.
The No. 7 ranked Miocic likely won’t receive much praise for the quick destruction of Maldonado, but at least avoided a major upset. He’s proven deserving of getting that matchup against JDS in his next fight. Another strong option could be a potential fight against Alistair Overeem.
As for Maldonado, the fan-friendly fighter will hopefully dismiss any notions of staying at heavyweight. He was clearly outgunned and needs to make a return to the light heavyweight division where he has been victorious in his last three fights.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports.