Ahead of each UFC fight card, Jay Primetown of all MMA Oddsbreaker have a peek at a few of the essential contests at each function. In the latest installment, we look at the primary event of UFC 220 as Stipe Miocic defends his heavyweight championship against Francis Ngannou. This is Francis Ngannou’s first main event and first time fighting for the UFC heavyweight championship, despite this, he is still the betting favorite.
Stipe Miocic (Record: 17-2, +165 Underdog, Power Ranking: A+)
The 35-year-old life Ohio native was on a tear, winning his last five fights since a decision loss to Junior dos Santos in 2014. He enters Saturday’s title fight on the back of a knockout victory over dos Santos in their rematch in May 2017. In case Miocic beats dos Santos, he’ll break the record for consecutive title defenses at heavyweight with three.
Miocic is one of the most athletes at the heavyweight division. Besides wrestling, he also played baseball in school, even drawing interest from a Major League Baseball teams. In reference to MMA, he has an amateur boxing background competing at the Golden Gloves competition. Miocic is a good striker having solid hands and works an extremely high pace for a heavyweight landing a whopping 5.15 significant strikes a moment. In contrast, he’s only absorbing 3.30 significant strikes per minute with 61 percent striking defense.
Miocic combines his striking with wrestling scoring over two takedowns every 15 minutes within the octagon. Miocic isn’t the branch’s hardest puncher, but he moves very well and has proven an ability to prevent taking much damage. Miocic includes a good motor complete and can even work a decent pace late in battles. On the flip side, opponents can hurt him. He was amazed by Overeem just a few bouts ago, 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 start his UFC career, Francis Ngannou has rapidly risen to be a true threat to Stipe Miocic’s crown. He has completed all six of his UFC opponents with his last four victories all coming over the opening two minutes of those bouts.
The Cameroon born heavyweight began training in boxing in his native Cameroon before moving to France in age 22. He had been homeless for a period of time, residing in the streets of Paris as he picked up odd jobs here and there until he joined up in MMA Factory and developed into a fighter. He began fighting in 2013 and never return.
The 6’4″ heavyweight has among the longest reaches MMA at 83″ inches. His output is small for a stride in 3.41 significant strikes per minute. He has heavy power in his hands (seven career knockouts), but he is not a fighter who looks to brawl. He is fairly patient timing his opportunities. He will do it, when he feels a finish.
From an athletic standpoint, he is about as good as there is at the UFC. He’s muscular, exceptionally strong, and nimble. He’s a fighter that can do things that other fighters can’t do inside the Octagon. The majority of his finishes have come early in fights; Ngannou hasn’t been pushed yet so it is a whole unknown what kind of pace he would fight at if pushed into the championship rounds. His takedown defense is decent, but it’s not elite therefore he can be carried down to the mat by wrestling concentrated fighters.
His chin has rarely been analyzed. His striking defense is excellent absorbing only 1.46 significant strikes per minute with 60percent striking defense. He had been staggered by Curtis Blaydes in his next UFC struggle, but recovered fast and ended up dropping by doctor stoppage. That’s the only time. Perhaps that was a rare moment of weakness or a fluke. Until he’s analyzed again, it is going to be tough to tell the way he copes with adversity.