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