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UFC Predictions: UFC 260: Stipe Miocic vs Francis Ngannou II - Predictions & Picks

Stipe Miocic faces Francis Ngannou in their long-awaited rematch at UFC 260 this weekend.
Stipe Miocic faces Francis Ngannou in their long-awaited rematch at UFC 260 this weekend.

The UFC presents its latest big pay-per-view this weekend in UFC 260 from the APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada. The UFC Heavyweight title will be on the line in UFC 260’s main event when Stipe Miocic takes on Francis Ngannou.

The show has lost its co-main event – a UFC Featherweight title clash between Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega – but there’s still plenty of cool fights on tap here.

Here are the predicted outcomes for UFC 260: Stipe Miocic vs Francis Ngannou II.


#1 UFC Heavyweight title: Stipe Miocic vs Francis Ngannou

Stipe Miocic survived - and thrived - against Francis Ngannou at UFC 220 in 2018.
Stipe Miocic survived - and thrived - against Francis Ngannou at UFC 220 in 2018.

Their rematch from UFC 220 in January 2018 has been a long time coming. That fight saw Miocic take some serious damage but eventually grind down Ngannou for a decision win.

Will the champ repeat the feat here? Naturally, it won’t be easy.

Ngannou claimed that title shot in 2018 by knocking out everyone in his path, including Andrei Arlovski and Alistair Overeem.

This time, his path back to the title shot has been even stronger, taking in wins over Curtis Blaydes, Cain Velasquez, Junior Dos Santos and Jairzinho Rozenstruik.

Ngannou’s strengths remain the same as they were back in 2018. He’s a terrifying power striker who can destroy an opponent with any shot he manages to land on them.

Technically, he isn’t great – the combination he knocked Rozenstruik out with, for instance, comprised crazy wild swings – but who cares when you’ve got all that power?

That power almost took him to the UFC title before. He had Miocic hurt badly on several occasions in the opening rounds, but the champion was wily enough to survive. Once Miocic settled into a clenching pattern with the French-Cameroonian fighter and took him down, ‘The Predator’ quickly ran out of steam.

Miocic was about as badly hurt as we’ve seen in the UFC – a lot of people attested the damage he took from Ngannou as the main reason he was KO’d so easily by Daniel Cormier. However, he survived and eventually thrived.

Many people seem to be picking Ngannou here due to the strength of his knockout run, and it’s very tempting. However, Miocic is coming off two hugely impressive wins over Cormier, both fights being among the best UFC Heavyweight title skirmishes in history.

In both fights, Miocic showed remarkable toughness and, more importantly, an ability to go deep into the later rounds and remain dangerous.

Ngannou will always be deadly if he can land, but what if that one shot doesn’t knock an opponent out? Usually, we know a lot more about a UFC title challenger – especially when they’re making their second title run.

However, Ngannou hasn’t displayed any indication that he has closed the holes in his game that allowed Miocic to beat him the first time around. The truth is he hasn’t had to.

Miocic, meanwhile, remains a tremendous wrestler who can take most of his opponents down; he hits hard himself, and his ground-and-pound is ruthless.

Therefore, considering the many unknowns around Ngannou, the smart pick here would be to stick with Miocic – in the knowledge that one false move could get him KO’d.

The Pick: Miocic via unanimous decision

#2 UFC Welterweight division: Tyron Woodley vs Vicente Luque

After a poor 2020, does former UFC champ Tyron Woodley (left) have anything left in the tank?
After a poor 2020, does former UFC champ Tyron Woodley (left) have anything left in the tank?

It’s hard to believe quite how far Tyron Woodley has fallen since losing his UFC Welterweight title to Kamaru Usman, but it does make sense. ‘The Chosen One’ is now 38 years old and reached that dangerous decade threshold in his career in 2019.

So the question is, do his 2020 UFC losses to Gilbert Burns and Colby Covington suggest he’s simply got nothing left to offer? Or were they a case of bad stylistic matches?

In the fight with Covington, the answer would probably be in the affirmative. Woodley’s takedown threat wasn’t really there against a wrestler of Colby Covington’s pedigree.

Given Covington’s big strength is pressuring an opponent – something Woodley never deals well with if he can avoid a big counter – it was always a tricky-sounding match for him.

Burns, however, seemed like a decent match for the former UFC champion. The wild striking style of Burns, primarily a grappler, felt as if it’d play into Woodley’s hands – and yet it didn’t at all.

Woodley was instead highly passive; he didn’t really attack Burns and ended up being badly beaten down.

Luque is an interesting fight for Woodley, though. While Luque isn’t as good in any area as Burns and lacks the wrestling chops of Covington, he’s probably more aggressive than both.

‘The Silent Assassin’ is 12-3 in the UFC, and only one of his wins has come via decision. Every other opponent he has faced has been finished off, usually in a violent fashion. Basically, if Luque gets you hurt, it’s probably game over.

So the question here is whether Woodley will remain passive and continue his penchant to back straight up into the fence. If he does that, then Luque will swarm him, probably hurt him and finish him off properly – becoming the first man to do so in the UFC.

Can Woodley win this fight? He definitely does have a couple of options. Firstly, he could look to land a big counter on Luque as he comes in. However, that plan hasn’t worked for him recently at all and could likely cost him his fights with Burns and Covington.

Woodley’s other option would be to take Luque down and hold him there. ‘The Silent Assassin’ has had issues with this gameplan in the past, most notably against Michael Graves and Leon Edwards, the two men responsible for Luque’s first two UFC losses.

However, it’s notable that Luque does have a venomous ground game, and the Edwards fight did come four years ago.

With all things considered, particularly Woodley’s downward spiral, Luque via TKO looks like the most likely outcome in this fight.

The Pick: Luque via second-round TKO.

#3 UFC 260: The Main Card

Hot prospect Sean O'Malley faces Thomas Almeida on UFC 260's main card.
Hot prospect Sean O'Malley faces Thomas Almeida on UFC 260's main card.

At the time of writing, UFC 260 has just two more fights scheduled for its main card. It’s likely the UFC will move one of the prelims into the missing slot in the next few days.

In the Bantamweight division, hot prospect Sean O’Malley returns to take on Thomas Almeida. It could be a fascinating fight, especially when you consider that five or six years ago, Almeida was the hottest prospect in the division.

Since then ‘Thominhas’ has fallen on seriously hard times. After suffering his first career loss to Cody Garbrandt, the durability that seemed to allow him to brawl without fear seems completely off. He’s now on a three-fight losing streak.

That should theoretically make him an easy win for O’Malley, who is a hard-hitting striker with wonderful technical skills and a ruthless finishing ability. However, he’s shown before that he can get into trouble due to overconfidence – witness his first career loss at the hands of Marlon Vera.

O’Malley via TKO is the simple and most likely pick here – but to see an upset wouldn’t be a mega shock.

In the Lightweight division, Khama Worthy will return to face Jamie Mullarkey. Worthy came into the UFC with the reputation of a knockout artist and has lived up to it by finishing Devonte Smith. He then proceed to stun everyone in his second fight when he choked out grappler Luis Pena, proving he is a threat from all areas.

However, his most recent UFC outing – a loss to Ottman Azaitar – showed he isn’t invincible. So will Mullarkey be able to take advantage?

The likely answer is no. Australia’s Mullarkey is a solid enough striker, but he isn’t the best athlete around and lacks the explosiveness of Worthy – something that caused his loss to Brad Riddell on his UFC debut.

Considering the same, Worthy via TKO is the pick.


#4 UFC 260: The Prelims

Picks in bold

UFC Light-Heavyweight division: Alonzo Menifield vs William Knight.

UFC Strawweight division: Jessica Penne vs Hannah Goldy.

UFC Welterweight division: Abubakar Nurmagomedov vs Jared Gooden.

UFC Light-Heavyweight division: Modestas Bukauskas vs Michal Oleksiejczuk.

UFC Flyweight division: Gillian Robertson vs Miranda Maverick.

UFC Featherweight division: Shane Young vs Omar Morales.

UFC Middleweight division: Marc-Andre Barriault vs Abu Azaitar.

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Edited by Bhargav
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