Prior to each UFC battle card, Jay Primetown of MMA Oddsbreaker takes a look at some of the key contests at every event. In the most recent installment, we consider the main event of UFC 220 since Stipe Miocic defends his heavyweight championship against Francis Ngannou. This can be Francis Ngannou’s initial major event and first time fighting for the UFC heavyweight championship, despite this, he’s nevertheless the betting favorite.
Stipe Miocic (Record: 17-2, +165 Underdog, Power Ranking: A+)
The 35-year-old lifetime Ohio native has been on a tear, winning his last five fights as a decision loss to Junior dos Santos in 2014. He enters Saturday’s title fight on the rear of a knockout victory over dos Santos in their rematch in May 2017. If Miocic beats dos Santos, then he will break the record for consecutive title defenses at heavyweight using three.
Miocic is among the most well-rounded athletes in the division. Besides wrestling, he played baseball in school, even drawing interest from a Major League Baseball teams. In regards to MMA, he has an amateur boxing history competing in the Golden Gloves competition. Miocic is a fantastic striker having strong hands and operates an extremely large rate for 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 striking defense.
Miocic mixes his striking wrestling grading over two takedowns every 15 minutes within the octagon. Miocic is not the division’s hardest puncher, but he moves really well and has proven an ability to prevent taking much harm. Miocic includes a good motor complete and can even work an adequate speed late in fights. On the side, opponents can hurt him. He was amazed by Overeem just a few 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 quickly risen to be a true threat to Stipe Miocic’s crown. He’s finished all six of his UFC opponents 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 moving to France in age 22. He had been homeless for a time period, residing in the streets of Paris because he picked up odd jobs here and there before he joined up in MMA Factory and turned to a fighter. He began fighting professionally in 2013 and never turned back.
The 6’4″ heavyweight has one of the longest reaches in MMA at 83″ inches. His output is small for a stride in 3.41 significant strikes every second. He’s got substantial power in his hands (seven career knockouts), but he’s not a fighter who appears to brawl. He is fairly patient timing his opportunities. When he senses a finish, he will do it.
From an athletic standpoint, he’s about as good as there is at the UFC. He’s muscular, extremely strong, and agile. He’s a fighter that could do things that other fighters can’t do inside the Octagon. The majority of his finishes have come in fights; 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 championship rounds. His takedown defense is decent, but it’s not elite so he could be carried down to the mat by wrestling concentrated fighters.
On the toes, his chin has rarely been tested. His striking defense is outstanding absorbing only 1.46 significant strikes per minute with 60percent defense that is striking. He had been staggered by Curtis Blaydes in his second UFC struggle, but recovered quickly and ended up dropping by doctor stoppage. That’s the only time he has been challenged. Perhaps that was a rare moment of weakness or a fluke. Until he’s tested again, it will be tough to tell how he copes with adversity.

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