Now that both fighters' cards have essentially been shown to each other, it will be interesting to see what type of strategy they employ in their second fight.
A fight three years in the making is set to go down on Saturday as Stipe Miocic will defend his heavyweight belt against Francis Ngannou in the main event of UFC 260 in Las Vegas. This is the second fight between these heavyweights, after Miocic dominated Ngannou to defend his belt for the third time, a heavyweight record, at UFC 220 in January 2018.
Stipe Miocic UFC 260 Odds
Miocic (20-3 MMA record) is set to defend his heavyweight belt for the second time against Ngannou. The champ dominated Ngannou in a five-round bout just over three years ago, leaving the octagon with a unanimous decision win. Clearly the fight took something out of him though, as Miocic dropped his next fight in controversial fashion to Daniel Cormier. Miocic lost the belt after Cormier recorded a first round KO win. Cormier had been continually warned about illegally extending his fingers towards Miocic’s face, before finally poking him in the eye. The knockout shot came from the side of Miocic’s face that was suffering from blurred vision. That was just the first of three bouts between the fighters. Miocic reclaimed the heavyweight belt with a fourth round TKO at UFC 241, also suffering a serious eye-poke from Cormier. The second eye-poke kept Miocic out of commission until last year, when he beat Cormier again, by unanimous decision. And yes, there were more eye-pokes in that fight.
Now that both fighters’ cards have essentially been shown to each other, it will be interesting to see what type of strategy Miocic employs. Miocic won the first fight by outwrestling Ngannou and sapping him of energy on the ground to take away his fight-ending strike power. Miocic is also a skilled striker, however. He averages more significant strikes landed per minute (4.9 for Miocic, 2.23 for Ngannou) and with better accuracy (52 per cent for Miocic, 37 per cent for Ngannou). He’s a smooth boxer who is both technical and powerful. His opponent still hasn’t proven he can handle himself on the ground, so Miocic could very likely employ the same strategy as last fight. If he can sap Ngannou of energy on the ground, he has a great chance for a knockout shot, or a unanimous decision win.
Francis Ngannou UFC 260 Odds
Ngannou (15-3 MMA record) didn’t have the greatest bounce-back after his loss to Miocic. The Cameroonian fighter picked up a second straight unanimous decision loss, this time to Derrick Lewis at UFC 226 in July 2018. Since that loss though, Ngannou has hit another level. He’s coming into this fight with four straight knockouts over Curits Blaydes, Cain Velasquez, Junior dos Santos and Jairzinho Rozenstruik. Even more impressive? It took him a total of 162 seconds to earn those wins. Ngannou took out four of the biggest names in the division, including two former champs, in less than three minutes of fight time. This fighter can not only beat anyone in the division, he can make it look easy.
Although he hasn’t had the chance to prove it yet, “The Predator” has to have improved his wrestling ability in the last three years. So much of what makes Ngannou a great fighter is his one-punch knockout ability. Ngannou lost that advantage against Miocic last time around, because his energy was drained on the ground by a suffocating Miocic. He has a 71 per cent takedown defence, so if he can stay on his feet, he’ll be in good position. Ngannou is one of the best punchers in the entire UFC. He’s able to channel his incredible power into single shots that devastate opponents. His punches are so fast and ferocious, that he’s able to fool even the best technical defences. Ngannou’s path to winning this fight is keeping off the ground.
Miocic vs. Ngannou UFC 260 Prediction
It seems strange to say, but Ngannou has been so dominant over his last four fights, that it actually leaves a bit of a question mark. He’s had three years to improve his wrestling ability, but really hasn’t had a chance to show if he’s improved at all. Miocic is the whole package when it comes to a fighter. He can beat you on the ground or standing up. Until Ngannou can prove he’s become a more well-rounded fighter, we see this one ending in a decision win for the champ, Miocic.