Ahead of every UFC fight card, Jay Primetown of all MMA Oddsbreaker have a peek at a few of the key 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 is Francis Ngannou’s first major event and first time fighting for the UFC heavyweight championship, despite this, he’s nevertheless 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 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, then he’ll break the record for consecutive title defenses at heavyweight using three.
Miocic is among the most well-rounded athletes in the heavyweight division. In addition to wrestling, he also played baseball in school, even drawing attention from some Major League Baseball teams. In regards to MMA, he’s got an amateur boxing background competing in the Golden Gloves competition. Miocic is a fantastic striker having strong hands and works an extremely high rate for a heavyweight landing a whopping 5.15 significant strikes a minute. In contrast, he is only absorbing 3.30 significant strikes per minute with 61 percent striking defense.
Miocic combines his striking with wrestling grading over two takedowns each 15 minutes within the octagon. Miocic isn’t 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 can even work a decent pace late in battles. On the side, opponents can hurt him. He was amazed by Overeem just a couple bouts ago, 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 threat to Stipe Miocic’s crown. He’s finished all six of his UFC opponents with his past 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 proceeding to France in age 22. He was homeless for a time period, living in the streets of Paris because he picked up odd jobs here and there until he joined up in 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 in 83″ inches. His output is modest for a heavyweight at 3.41 significant strikes per minute. He has heavy power in his hands (seven career knockouts), but he’s not a fighter that appears to brawl. He’s fairly patient timing his opportunities. He will go for 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 agile. He’s a fighter that could do things that other fighters cannot do inside the Octagon. The majority of his endings have come in fights; Ngannou has not been pushed yet so it’s a complete unknown what kind of pace he’d struggle at if pushed into the tournament rounds. His takedown defense is decent, but it is not elite therefore he can be carried down to the mat by wrestling focused fighters.
His brow has rarely been analyzed. His striking defense is excellent absorbing only 1.46 significant strikes per minute with 60percent striking defense. He was staggered by Curtis Blaydes in his second UFC struggle, but recovered quickly and ended up winning by doctor stoppage. That’s the only time. That was a moment of weakness or a fluke. Until he’s analyzed again, it is going to be hard to tell how he deals with adversity.
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