Prior to every UFC battle card, Jay Primetown of MMA Oddsbreaker takes a peek at a few of the essential contests at each event. In the latest installment, we look at the main event of UFC 220 as Stipe Miocic defends his heavyweight championship against Francis Ngannou. That is Francis Ngannou’s initial major event and first time fighting for the UFC heavyweight championship, despite this, he is nevertheless 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 at 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, he will break the record for consecutive title defenses at heavyweight using three.
Miocic is one of the most well-rounded athletes at the heavyweight division. In addition to wrestling, he played baseball in college, even drawing interest from a Major League Baseball teams. In reference to MMA, he’s got an amateur boxing background competing at the Golden Gloves competition. Miocic is a good striker having strong hands and works an extremely large pace for a heavyweight landing a whopping 5.15 significant strikes a moment. In contrast, he is just absorbing 3.30 significant strikes per minute with 61 percent striking defense.
Miocic combines his striking wrestling grading over two takedowns each 15 minutes within the octagon. Miocic isn’t the branch’s hardest puncher, but he moves really well and has proven an ability to prevent taking much damage. Miocic includes a solid motor overall and can even work a decent pace late in battles. On the side, he could be hurt by competitions. He had been amazed by Overeem only a couple bouts ago, so that’s something to watch for moving ahead.
Francis Ngannou (Record: 11-1, -175 Favorite, Power Ranking: A+)
On a six battle winning streak to start his UFC career, Francis Ngannou has quickly risen to be a real danger to Stipe Miocic’s crown. He’s finished all six of his UFC opponents with his past four victories all coming within the opening two minutes of those bouts.
The Cameroon born heavyweight began training in boxing in his native Cameroon before moving to France at age 22. He had been homeless for a time period, residing in the streets of Paris as he picked up odd jobs here and there before he joined up in MMA Factory and developed to a fighter. He started fighting professionally in 2013 and never return.
The 6’4″ heavyweight has one of the longest reaches in MMA at 83″ inches. His output is modest for a stride in 3.41 significant strikes per minute. He has heavy power in his hands (seven career knockouts), but he is not a fighter who appears to brawl. He is fairly patient timing his chances. When a finish is sensed by him, he’ll do it.
From an athletic standpoint, he is about as good as there is in the UFC. He’s muscular, exceptionally strong, and agile. He’s a fighter which can do things that other fighters cannot do within the Octagon. The majority of his finishes have come early in fights; Ngannou has not been pushed yet so it is a whole unknown what kind of pace he would struggle at if pushed into the tournament rounds. His takedown defense is decent, but it’s not elite so he can be carried down to the mat by wrestling concentrated fighters.
His brow has been tested. His striking defense is outstanding absorbing just 1.46 significant strikes per minute with 60percent striking defense. He had been staggered by Curtis Blaydes in his next UFC fight, but recovered fast and ended up dropping by doctor stoppage. That’s the only time. That was a moment of a fluke or weakness. Until he is tested again, it is going to be tough to tell the way he deals with adversity.
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