Miocic to open as favorite against Overeem

UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic will open as a betting favorite to retain his title against Alistair Overeem on Sept. 10 in Cleveland.

Miocic (15-2) will open a -170 favorite, according to Nick Kalikas of MMAOddsBreaker.com. Overeem (41-14) is a small underdog at +140.

The championship fight will take place in friendly territory for Miocic, 33, who wrestled and played baseball at Cleveland State University and who still works as a local firefighter in the area.

It's a welcome change from his last appearance -- a title fight against Brazilian Fabricio Werdum earlier this month in front of a 45,000 crowd in Curitiba, Brazil. Miocic won that fight via first-round knockout.

The knockout over Werdum marked Miocic's third consecutive win. He is 9-2 overall in the UFC with six knockouts. Overeem, a former Strikeforce and DREAM champion, is riding a four-fight win streak.

"Stipe Miocic came through as an underdog earlier this month," Kalikas said. "Both Miocic and Overeem have a great deal of confidence and momentum, and both are vicious strikers. Miocic is more boxing focused, while Overeem is more dynamic, with powerful kicks mixed in. The big equalizer will be durability, as Overeem has been knocked out nine times in his MMA career [and another three in kickboxing].

"That being said, Overeem has serious fight-changing power, and Miocic will have to tread carefully. UFC heavyweight champions have not traditionally held their titles long, but I feel Miocic can potentially break that trend."

The UFC heavyweight championship has never been consecutively defended more than twice.