The wait is over; Cleveland, Ohio finally has a title.
But it has nothing to do with Lebron James. Rather, this title belongs to a certain mixed martial artist named Stipe Miocic.
On Saturday night, Miocic – a resident of Independence, Ohio – knocked out Fabricio Werdum in the first round to claim the heavyweight belt. The fight served as the main event of UFC 198 in Curitiba, Brazil.
The KO punch came as Werdum over aggressively chased his opponent down, only to be met with a hard right hand that resulted in his own face plant. A few follow up punches by Miocic and it was all over.
“Cleveland we got a champion baby,” yelled Miocic in his post fight speech.
An energetic Miocic proceeded to thank his fiancé and team, Strong Style MMA.
The win marked his third straight, sending him to 15-2 overall and 9-2 in the UFC.
The win also resulted in a “performance of the night” bonus that was awarded later in the night at the post fight press conference.
Now that Cleveland has its champion, the hard part begins. Defending the UFC heavyweight belt is anything but easy. Just ask the likes of Cain Velasquez, Junior Dos Santos or the many that came before them.
At most, the heavyweight belt has been defended by a champion three times in its history (Randy Couture).
This theory will be put to the test as it is likely that Miocic will either next face Werdum in a rematch or Velasquez.
For now it is enough that he won one for Cleveland, a city in desperate need of a champion.
Miocic is that champion.
Photo from mmafighting.com