Ahead of each UFC fight card, Jay Primetown of MMA Oddsbreaker have a look at a few of the key competitions at every function. In the most recent installment, we look at the main event of UFC 220 as Stipe Miocic defends his heavyweight championship against Francis Ngannou. That is Francis Ngannou’s initial major event and first time fighting for the UFC heavyweight championship, despite this, he is nevertheless the betting favorite.
Stipe Miocic (Record: 17-2, +165 Underdog, Power Ranking: A+)
The 35-year-old life Ohio native has been on a tear, winning his last five fights as a decision loss to Junior dos Santos at 2014. He enters Saturday’s title fight on the back of a knockout victory over dos Santos in their rematch in May 2017. If Miocic beats dos Santos, he’ll break the record for consecutive title defenses at heavyweight using three.
Miocic is among the most well-rounded athletes at the division. In addition to wrestling, he also played baseball in school, even drawing interest from some Major League Baseball teams. In reference to MMA, he’s got an amateur boxing history competing in the Golden Gloves competition. Miocic is a good striker having strong hands and works an extremely high rate for a heavyweight landing a whopping 5.15 significant strikes a moment. In comparison, he is only absorbing 3.30 significant strikes per second with 61 percent striking defense.
Miocic mixes his striking with wrestling grading over two takedowns every 15 minutes inside the octagon. Miocic is not the division’s hardest puncher, but he moves really well and has proven an ability to prevent taking much damage. Miocic has a good motor complete and can even work an adequate speed late in fights. On the reverse side, opponents can hurt him. He was amazed by Overeem only a few bouts past, so that’s something to watch for moving forward.
Francis Ngannou (Record: 11-1, -175 Favorite, Power Ranking: A+)
On a six battle winning streak to begin his UFC career, Francis Ngannou has quickly risen to be a real threat to Stipe Miocic’s crown. He has finished all six of his UFC competitions with his past four successes all coming within the opening two minutes of those bouts.
The Cameroon born heavyweight began training in boxing in his native Cameroon before moving to France in the age of 22. He was homeless for a period of time, residing in the streets of Paris because he picked up odd jobs here and there before he joined up at MMA Factory and developed into a fighter. He started fighting professionally in 2013 and never turned back.
The 6’4″ heavyweight has one of the longest reaches in MMA at 83″ inches. His output is small for a heavyweight at 3.41 significant strikes per minute. He’s got substantial power in his hands (seven career knockouts), but he is not a fighter who appears to brawl. He’s fairly patient timing his opportunities. When a finish is sensed by him, he will do it.
From an athletic standpoint, he is about as good as there is at the UFC. He’s muscular, exceptionally powerful, and nimble. He is a fighter which could do things that other fighters can’t do inside the Octagon. The majority of his endings have come in fights; Ngannou hasn’t been pushed yet so it is a whole unknown what kind of pace he would fight at if pressed into the championship rounds. His takedown defense is decent, but it is not elite so he could be carried down to the mat by wrestling focused fighters.
His chin has seldom been analyzed. His striking defense is excellent absorbing just 1.46 significant strikes per minute with 60percent striking defense. He was staggered by Curtis Blaydes in his next UFC struggle, but recovered quickly and ended up dropping by doctor stoppage. That’s the only time. That was a rare moment of weakness or a fluke. Until he is analyzed again, it will be tough to tell how he deals with adversity.