Prior to each UFC battle card, Jay Primetown of MMA Oddsbreaker have a look at a few of the essential contests at every function. In the most recent installment, we consider the primary event of UFC 220 as Stipe Miocic defends his heavyweight championship against Francis Ngannou. That is Francis Ngannou’s first main 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. In case Miocic beats dos Santos, he will break the record for consecutive title defenses at heavyweight using three.
Miocic is one of the most athletes in the heavyweight division. In addition to wrestling, he also played baseball in college, even drawing interest from some Major League Baseball teams. In regards to MMA, he has an amateur boxing background competing in the Golden Gloves competition. Miocic is a good striker having strong hands and works a very high rate to get a heavyweight landing a whopping 5.15 significant strikes a minute. In contrast, he’s just absorbing 3.30 significant strikes per minute with 61 percent defense that is striking.
Miocic combines his striking wrestling grading over two takedowns each 15 minutes within the octagon. Miocic isn’t the division’s hardest puncher, but he moves very well and has proven an ability to prevent taking much harm. Miocic has a solid motor overall and can even work an adequate speed late in battles. On the flip side, opponents can hurt him. He was amazed by Overeem only a couple bouts ago, so that’s something to watch for moving forward.
Francis Ngannou (Record: 11-1, -175 Favorite, Power Ranking: A+)
On a six fight winning streak to start his UFC career, Francis Ngannou has rapidly risen to be a real danger to Stipe Miocic’s crown. He’s completed all six of his UFC competitions with his past four victories all coming over the opening two minutes of those bouts.
The Cameroon born heavyweight began training in boxing in his native Cameroon before proceeding to France in age 22. He had been homeless for a period of time, living in the streets of Paris as he picked up odd jobs here and there before he joined up at MMA Factory and turned to a fighter. He started fighting professionally in 2013 and never turned back.
The 6’4″ heavyweight has one of the longest reaches MMA at 83″ inches. His output is modest for a stride in 3.41 significant strikes per minute. He’s got substantial power in his hands (seven career knockouts), but he is not a fighter who looks to brawl. He’s fairly patient timing his opportunities. When he senses a finish, he will do it.
From an athletic standpoint, he is about as good as there is in the UFC. He’s muscular, exceptionally strong, and nimble. He is a fighter which could do things that other fighters can’t do within the Octagon. The majority of his finishes have come early in conflicts; Ngannou has not yet been pushed yet so it’s a whole unknown what kind of pace he would fight at if pushed into the tournament rounds. His takedown defense is adequate, but it’s not elite therefore he can be carried down to the mat by wrestling focused fighters.
His brow has been analyzed. His striking defense is outstanding absorbing only 1.46 significant strikes per minute with 60percent defense that is striking. He was staggered by Curtis Blaydes in his second UFC fight, but recovered fast and ended up winning by doctor stoppage. That’s the only time. Perhaps that was a moment of a fluke or weakness. Until he’s analyzed again, it will be tough to tell the way he copes with adversity.
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