At UFC 260 in Las Vegas, Francis Ngannou was able to gain revenge and knockout Stipe Miocic to win the UFC heavyweight title. As the longtime defending champion, Stipe is deserving of a third matchup.
What can the legendary fighter do to come back and win the third fight? Here are 5 things Stipe Miocic needs to do to beat Francis Ngannou in their trilogy fight.
#5 Rest up
The first thing the heavyweight GOAT should do is… nothing. Stipe Miocic and his wife are expecting their second child, a son, so it’s the perfect time to chill out. Miocic is turning 39 in August and after the brutal KO he suffered at the hands of Ngannou, he needs to take a break.
#4 Use more counters
At UFC 260, Francis Ngannou was able to walk forward and throw shots at Stipe Miocic without receiving many strikes in return. Stipe definitely needs to be wary of Ngannou’s power. If he allows the champ to fight at his pace then he’s probably going to get knocked out again.
After the first round of their rematch, Stipe’s corner encouraged him to do more and he landed a big counter right to Francis at the start of the second round. By lifting his output and countering Francis he can slow The Predator down. He may also be able to knock the new heavyweight champion out.
#3 Bulk up
One option is for Stipe Miocic to fight power with power. In his last two UFC bouts, Stipe has weighed in lighter for each fight. By putting on some additional size, Miocic can add some much-needed power to his strikes.
One way of defeating Francis is by knocking him out. While it would be very dangerous to stand and bang with the UFC heavyweight champion, at 39 years old, Stipe could want to go out guns blazing. The former champ has 9 knockouts in the UFC so he has the ability to finish Ngannou.
There’s one key thing that Stipe Miocic needs to do in the trilogy fight to have success and that’s being patient. Now that’s easier said than done. Miocic used too much patience in the first round of their rematch and didn’t throw enough strikes or attempted takedowns to worry Ngannou.
In the second round, he didn’t use the same patience and rushed into a firefight with Francis and got clipped and knocked out. The former champ needs to find the right balance between dragging Ngannou into the later rounds while staying away from his power.
It’s the obvious answer most UFC fans would offer when asked what Stipe Miocic has to do to beat Francis Ngannou. However, it’s not that simple. Ngannou showed a much-improved takedown defense at UFC 260. Miocic, in turn, never looked like he was taking the heavyweight champion down.
What Stipe needs to do is mix his wrestling and grappling with his great boxing skills. The Cleveland-based fighter doesn’t necessarily need to take Ngannou down but rather make him work and use his energy against the cage. When Francis is defending a takedown or grappling against the octagon, he’s not throwing knock-out bombs at Stipe Miocic.
Stipe Miocic used dirty boxing and grappling against the cage when he fought Daniel Cormier for the third time and found great success.