UFC 220: Will Francis Ngannou Spoil Stipe Miocic’s Bid to Make History?
The UFC’s heavyweight championship fights typically draw significant interest throughout the MMA world, but this Saturday’s bout between Stipe Miocic and Francis Ngannou, may be one of the most anticipated in the promotion’s history.
The two will battle in the headliner of UFC 220, which will go down at the TD Garden Arena in Boston. The fight comes at a juncture where if Miocic wins, he will set a new promotional record for heavyweight title defenses of three. But, in order to set that record, the champion will need to defeat one of the fastest rising stars in the game, who has stopped every man he’s faced in the Octagon.
Will Ngannou end the reign of Miocic, and spoil his bid to make history? According to BetNow Sportsbook there’s a decent chance he will.
Ngannou’s Key Factors
Not only has Ngannou become one of the UFC’s top commodities thanks to his 6-0 run in the Octagon, but because “The Predator” has finished several opponents in devastating fashion. The most recent example of this took place last month at UFC 218, when Ngannou KO’d Alistair Overeem in the opening round with a crushing, left uppercut, which was one of the most devastating knockouts of 2017.
So, there’s no denying that Ngannou has fearsome, knockout power, and that he can finish any man, including Miocic, with one shot.
In order to increase his chances of doing that, Ngannou will need to avoid head hunting, and pick his strikes carefully. If he over extends, or comes out too aggressively, he risks eating a counter or being taken down.
Due to Miocic’s wrestling pedigree, Ngannou’s wrestling defense will play a pivotal role. If he gets taken down several times, and spends an extensive amount of time on his back, it’s hard to imagine Ngannou walking away with the win. Especially, if Ngannou’s cardio isn’t up to the challenge of a 15 minute, plus fight.
Miocic’s Key Factors
Obviously, Miocic is going to have to fight smart, and avoid getting into any wild exchanges with Ngannou. Although Miocic can also crack, as noted, all it takes is one shot from the challenger. Further, even if Ngannou clips Miocic, it could be curtains not long after.
Miocic will need to come out pressuring, as he typically does, and mix in his punches with takedowns. If he telegraphs his takedowns, however, he could take one of Ngannou’s feared uppercuts, and that could very well be that.
The champ might also be wise to clinch up, along the cage when possible, in an effort to gas out Ngannou.
So What Will Happen?
To date, the only opponent Ngannou has faced in the UFC with significant, wrestling credentials is Curtis Blaydes. Although Ngannou won that the fight via TKO stoppage (doctor’s stoppage), Blaydes did not wrestle at the same level that Miocic did in college (NCAA Division 1). Further, the rising heavyweight does not have the striking abilities that Miocic does, which one would think, will only help the latter score takedowns.
Now sure, we haven’t seen much of Ngannou’s wrestling defense or ground game, so, it could be much better than expected. But, based off what’s widely known, Miocic has a very good chance of defending the belt for a third time, if he can get Ngannou to the ground.
The big question is, however, will he? Or will Miocic also fall prey to one of Ngannou’s booming punches at UFC 220? According to BetNow Sportsbook, the odds favor the latter.