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UFC heavyweight champion gets shot at revenge in next title defence

Stipe Miocic will aim to retain the belt when he goes up against former champion Junior Dos Santos.

Stipe Miocic celebrates after last September's successful title defence against Alistair Overeem.
Stipe Miocic celebrates after last September's successful title defence against Alistair Overeem.
Image: David Dermer

STIPE MIOCIC WILL have an opportunity to avenge his last defeat when he puts his UFC heavyweight belt on the line later this year.

The organisation has confirmed that Miocic (16-2) will take on Junior Dos Santos (18-4) in the main event at UFC 211 at the American Airlines Centre in Dallas on Saturday, 13 May.

The bout will be a rematch of their December 2014 headliner on a Fox card in Phoenix, when Dos Santos emerged victorious via unanimous decision from a five-round ‘Fight of the Night’.

Since then, Miocic has embarked on a run of four consecutive stoppage wins which have propelled him to the top of the heavyweight division. After getting the better of Mark Hunt and Andrei Arlovski, the 34-year-old caused an upset last May when he finished defending champion Fabricio Werdum in the first round of their UFC 198 main event in Brazil.

Miocic, whose only other defeat came at the hands of Stefan Struve back in 2012, defended the belt in his hometown of Cleveland in September by defeating Alistair Overeem via first-round KO.

If he can gain revenge against Dos Santos, he’ll become just the fifth fighter — after Randy Couture, Tim Sylvia, Brock Lesnar and Cain Velasquez — to have successfully defended the UFC heavyweight championship twice.

UFC 166 Mixed Martial Arts Junior Dos Santos Source: AP/Press Association Images

Dos Santos is keen to regain the title he lost to Cain Velasquez in December 2012. The 33-year-old had won the belt from Velasquez 13 months earlier. His attempt to regain the strap in a trilogy match ended with a fifth-round TKO defeat in October 2013.

The Brazilian veteran, who debuted for the UFC in 2008 by knocking out Fabricio Werdum, last competed back in April when he was victorious by unanimous decision against Ben Rothwell in a Fight Night main event in Zagreb.

Miocic returns to the octagon after recently bemoaning his contract situation during an interview with MMAFighting.com. He earned $600,000 for his win over Overeem — $200,000 less than the challenger — which the champion described as “a slap in the face.”

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