Prior to every UFC fight card, Jay Primetown of all MMA Oddsbreaker takes a look at a few of the essential contests at each event. 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 can be Francis Ngannou’s initial major 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 has been 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. If Miocic beats dos Santos, then he will break the record for consecutive title defenses at heavyweight with three.
Miocic is among the most well-rounded athletes in the heavyweight division. Besides 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 at the Golden Gloves competition. Miocic is a good striker having solid hands and operates an extremely large pace to get a heavyweight landing a whopping 5.15 significant strikes a minute. In comparison, he is just absorbing 3.30 significant strikes per second with 61 percent striking defense.
Miocic combines his striking with wrestling grading over two takedowns each 15 minutes within the octagon. Miocic is not the branch’s hardest puncher, but he moves very well and has shown an ability to prevent taking much harm. Miocic has a good motor complete and may even work a decent speed late in battles. On the side, opponents can hurt him. He was amazed by Overeem only a few bouts past, so that is something to watch for moving forward.
Francis Ngannou (Record: 11-1, -175 Favorite, Power Ranking: A+)
On a six fight winning streak to begin his UFC career, Francis Ngannou has rapidly risen to be a true danger to Stipe Miocic’s crown. He has completed all six of his UFC opponents with his last four successes all coming over the opening two minutes of these 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 time period, living in the streets of Paris as he picked up odd jobs here and there until he joined up at MMA Factory and developed into a fighter. He began fighting professionally in 2013 and never turned back.
The 6’4″ heavyweight has one of the longest reaches in MMA in 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 that appears to brawl. He is fairly patient timing his chances. He will do it, when he feels a finish.
From an athletic standpoint, he is about as good as there is in the UFC. He’s muscular, extremely strong, and nimble. He’s a fighter which can do things that other fighters cannot do within the Octagon. The majority of his endings have come in fights; Ngannou hasn’t been pushed yet so it is a complete unknown what sort of pace he’d struggle at if pressed 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 been analyzed. His striking defense is outstanding absorbing only 1.46 significant strikes per minute with 60percent defense that is striking. He was staggered by Curtis Blaydes in his second UFC fight, but recovered quickly and ended up dropping by doctor stoppage. That’s the only time. Perhaps that was a rare moment of even a fluke or weakness. Until he is tested again, it will be hard to tell the way he deals with adversity.