Stipe Miocic goes up against Francis Ngannou for the second time in three years with Miocic looking to retain his heavyweight title in his second defence of the title he won from Daniel Cormier. Who will reign victorious on March 27?
Stipe Miocic v Francis Ngannou 2 UFC 260 Predictions & Tips
This fight will be the first time in three bouts that Stipe Miocic will not be looking at Daniel Cormier in the opposite corner as he battles Francis Ngannou for the second time.
Miocic is a two-time heavyweight champion. He first won the title when he knocked out Fabricio Werdum in the first round at UFC 198 on May 14, 2016.
The hard-hitting American, who has won 15 of his 20 wins via knockout or technical knockout, defended his title on three occasions before Cormier knocked him out in the opening round at UFC 226.
That defeat rankled with Miocic, and he got back in the Octagon 13 months later at UFC 441 and got his revenge as he secured a TKO win over Cormier to win the belt for a second time. He has made one title defence since then, when he won on points against Cormier in their third encounter. So, like I say, he will probably be happy to be facing a different opponent.
Ngannou, who is ranked as the number one contender, has won his last four bouts in the UFC with victories over Curtis Blaydes, Cain Velasquez, Junior dos Santos and Jairzinho Rozenstruik.
The Cameroon-French fighter is also a powerful puncher and if anyone can dethrone Miocic, then you should look no further than Ngannou.
The 34-year-old has won eight of his last 10 bouts by knocking his opponent in the opening round, which makes him very dangerous. Now, I am a massive fan of both of these fighters, and in a perfect world this would be an all-out war for five rounds with both fighters laying siege on the other with heavy hands.
Unfortunately, I cannot see this going the distance. These guys both punch so hard, it is very difficult not to see one of them land the killer blow and knock their rival out. Both fighters will be wary of what the other one will be planning, so I am not expecting a first-round knockout. Both fighters will get a feel for the other, before Miocic lands a flurry of clean strikes that Ngannou will not be able to defend. Ngannou is probably the most dangerous in terms of punching power, but the accuracy of Miocic – he has a strike rate of 52% compared to Ngannou’s 37%. I am backing Miocic to win this one with a second-round knockout.
The Road To Stipe Miocic v Francis Ngannou 2
As you will all know, this is not the first time that Miocic and Ngannou have shared the Octagon. They battled out in the main event at UFC 220 on January 20, 2018, with Miocic winning the contest with a unanimous points decision to retain his UFC heavyweight title.
It’s safe to say that both of these fighters have improved since their last meeting, and they will both be looking to land that sweet heavy-handed punch that will send the other to sleep.
After getting his raised against Ngannou, Miocic set his sights on bigger fish. He then went on to have a trilogy of fights with Daniel Cormier. The first bout saw DC spark Miocic out in the first round to win the belt but looking back that defeat was probably the making of Miocic.
He has since recorded back-to-back wins over DC, winning his title back at UFC 241 before defending the same belt a year later at UFC 252.
Ngannou and his army of supporters will believe he has improved since his defeat against Miocic, but the champ has also improved. Ngannou cannot be written off, he has won 10 of his 12 UFC contests since making his debut against Luis Henrique in December 2015.
This will be Ngannou’s second attempt at winning the heavyweight title, while overall this will be the seventh time Miocic will have fought in a title bout.
Stipe Miocic v Francis Ngannou 2 Tips: UFC 260 Predictions
Francis Ngannou: “Kamaru Usman is going to be in my corner for this fight. So, it’s good having him here, helping me out with the fight. By this time, you need everything. Basically, he’s going to be in my corner and it’s good for him to train where I am and to bring his own asset into the game to help because this is a very decisive moment leading up to the fight. It’s very important to get with him, he’s going to be in my corner helping me with my wrestling, which is great.”