Ahead of every UFC battle card, Jay Primetown of all MMA Oddsbreaker takes a look at a few of the essential competitions at each function. In the latest installment, we consider the main event of UFC 220 as Stipe Miocic defends his heavyweight championship against Francis Ngannou. That is Francis Ngannou’s initial 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. If Miocic beats dos Santos, then he’ll break the record for consecutive title defenses at heavyweight using three.
Miocic is among the most athletes at the division. Besides wrestling, he played baseball in school, even drawing interest 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 solid hands and works a very large pace for a heavyweight landing a whopping 5.15 significant strikes a moment. In contrast, he is only absorbing 3.30 significant strikes per minute with 61 percent striking defense.
Miocic mixes his striking with wrestling grading over two takedowns each 15 minutes inside the octagon. Miocic is not the division’s hardest puncher, but he moves really well and has shown an ability to prevent taking much damage. Miocic has a good motor overall and may even work an adequate speed late in fights. On the flip side, he can be hurt by competitions. He was stunned 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 battle winning streak to start his UFC career, Francis Ngannou has rapidly risen to be a real threat to Stipe Miocic’s crown. He’s completed all six of his UFC competitions 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 at the age of 22. He had been homeless for a period of time, residing in the streets of Paris because he picked up odd jobs here and there before he joined up in MMA Factory and developed to a fighter. He started fighting in 2013 and never return.
The 6’4″ heavyweight has among the longest reaches in MMA in 83″ inches. His output is small for a heavyweight at 3.41 significant strikes every second. He’s got substantial power in his hands (seven career knockouts), but he is not a fighter who looks to brawl. He is fairly patient timing his opportunities. When a finish is sensed by him, he’ll go for it.
From an athletic standpoint, he’s about as good as there is in the UFC. He is muscular, exceptionally strong, and agile. He’s a fighter that can do things that other fighters can’t do inside the Octagon. The majority of his endings have come early in fights; Ngannou has not yet been pushed yet so it is a whole unknown what kind of pace he would fight at if pressed into the championship rounds. His takedown defense is decent, but it is not elite so he can be taken down to the mat by wrestling focused fighters.
His chin has seldom been tested. His striking defense is excellent absorbing just 1.46 significant strikes per minute with 60percent striking defense. He was staggered by Curtis Blaydes in his next UFC fight, but recovered quickly and ended up dropping by doctor stoppage. That is the only time he’s been contested. Maybe that was a moment of weakness or even a fluke. Until he is tested again, it will be tough to tell how he copes with adversity.
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