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Can Francis Ngannou defeat Stipe Miocic to capture the UFC Heavyweight title?

UFC 220: Miocic v Ngannou
UFC 220: Miocic v Ngannou
Jacob Felder
CONTRIBUTOR
Modified 12 Oct 2020, 06:22 IST
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After defeating Daniel Cormier for the second time at UFC 252, Stipe Miocic cemented himself as one of the greatest Heavyweight fighters of all time. The American fighter has conquered almost every single threat that stood in his way.

Stipe Miocic will fight at least two more times before retiring. Fans expect him to fight his former opponent, Francis Ngannou, and the greatest Light Heavyweight fighter in UFC history, Jon Jones. Since Jones has opted to sit out until Miocic vs Ngannou 2 concludes, the "Predator" will most likely fight for the title next.

Will Stipe Miocic vs Francis Ngannou 2 be any different?

Francis Ngannou got manhandled in his first fight with Stipe Miocic at UFC 220. The Cameroonian-French knockout artist could not land a clean strike on the champion. Even when he was able to land a strike, the shots did not take a big toll on the current UFC Heavyweight Champion.

Throughout the fight, Miocic displayed exceptional head movement and wrestling. He took down Ngannou numerous times and dominated him on the ground. The Predator looked out of sorts as Miocic transitioned from one position to another and landed some nasty ground strikes.

UFC 220: Miocic v Ngannou
UFC 220: Miocic v Ngannou

Fortunately for Ngannou, he was not finished. His chin and heart were on full display that night. His skills, however, were nowhere near that of Miocic.

So what are the chances of history repeating itself? Can Ngannou finally claim the belt and wreck everyone? Or will it be another clinic by Stipe?

Looking at both fighters' career trajectory since that fight, it is safe to say that they have both improved tremendously. Ngannou's boxing is cleaner and sharper. He seems to improve every single day. Recently, he even took boxing lessons from the legendary trainer, Teddy Atlas.

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However, the progress made by Ngannou in improving his wrestling skills and ground game is still unknown. His four fights after Stipe Miocic are not enough to judge his progression in these two key areas.

As far as Stipe Miocic is concerned, he has significantly improved his overall game. However, certain holes can still be exploited by someone like Ngannou. For example, the Heavyweight Champion is always susceptible to leg kicks.

Psychologically, Stipe Miocic should have the edge given his win over Ngannou and his performance in the last two fights. Unlike the first fight, Francis Ngannou cannot go all guns blazing right from the start of the fight. He needs to pick his shots and wait for his turn to counter the champion.

Francis Ngannou will also need to condition himself better, as this title fight has the potential to go the distance.

UFC 220: Miocic v Ngannou
UFC 220: Miocic v Ngannou

It is difficult to bet against Francis Ngannou, considering his KO power. However, Stipe Miocic is way better than Ngannou in a lot of aspects. Should the fight last five rounds, The Predator will have a tough time dealing with the current UFC Heavyweight Champion and coming out on top. At this point, it does not seem like the rematch will yield different results.

Published 12 Oct 2020, 06:22 IST
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