Prior to every UFC fight card, Jay Primetown of MMA Oddsbreaker takes a peek at a few of the essential contests at each function. In the latest installment, we look at the main event of UFC 220 as Stipe Miocic defends his heavyweight championship against Francis Ngannou. This is Francis Ngannou’s initial main 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 lifetime 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’ll break the record for consecutive title defenses at heavyweight with three.
Miocic is one of the most well-rounded athletes at the heavyweight division. Besides wrestling, he also played baseball in school, even drawing attention from a Major League Baseball teams. In reference to MMA, he has an amateur boxing history competing at the Golden Gloves competition. Miocic is a good striker having strong hands and works a very large rate for a heavyweight landing a whopping 5.15 significant strikes a minute. In contrast, he’s just absorbing 3.30 significant strikes per second 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 division’s hardest puncher, but he moves very well and has proven an ability to prevent taking much harm. Miocic includes a solid motor complete and may even work an adequate speed late in fights. On the side, competitions can hurt him. He was amazed by Overeem only a couple bouts past, so that is 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 real threat to Stipe Miocic’s crown. He has finished all six of his UFC opponents with his past four victories all coming within the opening two minutes of these bouts.
The Cameroon born heavyweight began training in boxing in his native Cameroon before proceeding to France in the age of 22. He had been homeless for a period of time, living in the streets of Paris as he picked up odd jobs here and there until he joined up at MMA Factory and turned to a fighter. He never return and started fighting in 2013.
The 6’4″ heavyweight has one of the longest reaches in MMA at 83″ inches. His output is modest for a stride in 3.41 significant strikes per minute. He has substantial power in his hands (seven career knockouts), but he is not a fighter that appears to brawl. He is fairly patient time his opportunities. He’ll do it, when a finish is sensed by him.
From an athletic standpoint, he’s about as good as there is at the UFC. He is muscular, extremely powerful, and agile. He is a fighter which can do things that other fighters cannot do inside the Octagon. The majority of his finishes have come in conflicts; Ngannou has not been pushed yet so it is a complete unknown what sort of pace he would struggle at if pushed 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 concentrated fighters.
On the feet, his chin has rarely been tested. His striking defense is outstanding absorbing just 1.46 significant strikes per minute with 60percent defense that is striking. He had been staggered by Curtis Blaydes in his next UFC fight, but recovered fast and ended up dropping by doctor stoppage. That’s the only time he has been challenged. Perhaps that was a moment of weakness or a fluke. Until he is tested again, it is going to be tough to tell the way he copes with adversity.
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