They say the best things come in threes. In disciplines like MMA and pro boxing, trilogies between fighters are something special.

Before 2020 is out, we should see the concluding chapters of two of combat sports’ most compelling recent rivalries. One will be settled inside the octagon for UFC Heavyweight Championship and the other in the squared circle for the WBC heavyweight belt.

Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic are two of MMA’s biggest stars. The pair have fewer bouts in front of them than behind them, but one final encounter is set for the UFC 252 pay-per-view event on August 15.

This is likely to be the last time Cormier competes in the octagon. He is 41 years old with an MMA record of 22-2 (1). Only Jon Jones and Miocic have beaten Cormier in a career that has seen him reign as both UFC Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight champ.

He also won the first bout with Miocic at UFC 226 on July 7 2018. Cormier made on successful defense of the belt before losing in a rematch at UFC 241 in August of last year.

Miocic is the younger man at 37 with a 19-3 record inside the octagon. His only defeat since 2014 has come courtesy of Cormier, who has accusations of eye poking in both their previous match-ups. That first round KO has since been avenged with Miocic stopping his rival and regaining the UFC Heavyweight Championship.

The bookies cannot split Cormier and Miocic at -110 (10/11) each. Their next fight could go either way, but the latest boxing betting on Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder is a different story. Reigning WBC Heavyweight champ Fury is a red-hot -350 (2/7) favorite to beat the American again. Wilder is a +250 (5/2) underdog.

Their saga is even more dramatic than Cormier and Miocic. British boxer Fury was lineal world heavyweight champion following his defeat of Ukrainian legend Wladimir Klitschko in 2015. However, depression and drugs almost cost Fury his career with titles stripped from him.

What saved Fury from this downward spiral was training. He shed the pounds piled on during his darkest hours and returned to the ring. All the while, Wilder was making a name for himself by making successful defenses of the WBC Heavyweight belt that was missing from Fury’s resume.

After winning a couple of easy comeback fights, Fury first faced Wilder in Los Angeles’ Staples Center in December 2018. In one of the most remarkable bouts of modern times, Wilder twice floored Fury but “The Gypsy King” got up off the canvas to continue and claim a sensational, if somewhat controversial draw.

That inconclusive outcome and the drama of their initial encounter demanded a rematch with a clear winner needed. Both men took other fights in the interim, and squared off again in February.

Abandoning his usual tactical approach to boxing, Fury beat “The Bronze Bomber” at his own game. The Brit came out swinging punches and pummelled Wilder until his corner threw in the towel during round seven for a first-ever defeat in the paid ranks.

With Fury unbeaten in the two previous fights with the American and still yet to suffer a professional loss, it’s no wonder he is fancied to win again. There may yet be further twists in the tale of these two combat sports trilogies, though, so watch this space!

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