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Prior to every UFC fight card, Jay Primetown of MMA Oddsbreaker takes a look at a few of the essential competitions at each event. In the latest installment, we consider the main event of UFC 220 as Stipe Miocic defends his heavyweight championship against Francis Ngannou. This can be Francis Ngannou’s first main 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 lifetime 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 rear 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 at the heavyweight division. In addition to wrestling, he also played baseball in college, even drawing attention from some 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 a very high pace for a heavyweight landing a whopping 5.15 significant strikes a minute. In comparison, he is only absorbing 3.30 significant strikes per second with 61 percent striking defense.
Miocic combines his striking with wrestling scoring over two takedowns each 15 minutes inside the octagon. Miocic is not the branch’s hardest puncher, but he moves really well and has shown an ability to avoid taking much damage. Miocic includes a good motor overall and may even work a decent pace late in fights. On the side, he could be hurt by opponents. He had been stunned by Overeem only a few bouts past, so that’s something to watch for moving ahead.
Francis Ngannou (Record: 11-1, -175 Favorite, Power Ranking: A+)
On a six battle 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 successes 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 at the age of 22. He was homeless for a period of time, living in the streets of Paris because he picked up odd jobs here and there before he joined up in MMA Factory and turned into a fighter. He began fighting in 2013 and never turned back.
The 6’4″ heavyweight has among the longest reaches in MMA at 83″ inches. His output is small for a heavyweight at 3.41 significant strikes every second. He’s got heavy power in his hands (seven career knockouts), but he is not a fighter that looks to brawl. He’s fairly patient timing his chances. He will do it, when a finish is sensed by him.
From an athletic standpoint, he’s about as good as there is in the UFC. He is muscular, extremely powerful, and nimble. He’s a fighter which could do things that other fighters cannot do inside the Octagon. Most of his finishes have come in conflicts; Ngannou hasn’t yet been pushed yet so it is a whole unknown what sort of pace he would fight at if pushed into the tournament 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 brow has rarely been tested. His striking defense is excellent absorbing just 1.46 significant strikes per minute with 60percent defense that is striking. He had been staggered by Curtis Blaydes in his second UFC fight, but recovered fast and ended up winning by doctor stoppage. That’s the only time. That was a rare moment of a fluke or weakness. Until he is analyzed again, it will be tough to tell the way he copes with adversity.
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