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Ahead of every UFC fight card, Jay Primetown of MMA Oddsbreaker have a peek at a few of the essential competitions 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. This can be Francis Ngannou’s first major event and first time fighting for the UFC heavyweight championship, despite this, he is still the betting favorite.
Stipe Miocic (Record: 17-2, +165 Underdog, Power Ranking: A+)
The 35-year-old lifetime Ohio native was on a tear, winning his last five fights since 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. In case 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. In addition to wrestling, he played baseball in school, even drawing attention from a Major League Baseball teams. In reference to MMA, he’s got an amateur boxing history competing at the Golden Gloves competition. Miocic is a good striker having solid hands and operates an extremely large pace to get a heavyweight landing a whopping 5.15 significant strikes a minute. In comparison, he’s only absorbing 3.30 significant strikes per second with 61 percent defense that is striking.
Miocic combines his striking with wrestling grading over two takedowns every 15 minutes within the octagon. Miocic is not the division’s hardest puncher, but he moves very well and has proven an ability to prevent taking much damage. Miocic includes a solid motor overall and can even work an adequate speed late in battles. On the side, opponents can hurt him. He had been stunned by Overeem only a couple bouts ago, so that is something to watch for moving forward.
Francis Ngannou (Record: 11-1, -175 Favorite, Power Ranking: A+)
On a six fight winning streak to begin his UFC career, Francis Ngannou has rapidly risen to be a true threat to Stipe Miocic’s crown. He’s completed all six of his UFC opponents with his last four successes 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 the age of 22. He had been homeless for a period of time, residing in the streets of Paris as he picked up odd jobs here and there until he joined up in MMA Factory and turned into a fighter. He began fighting professionally in 2013 and never turned back.
The 6’4″ heavyweight has one of the longest reaches MMA in 83″ inches. His output is small 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 that appears to brawl. He is fairly patient time his opportunities. He’ll do it, when he senses a finish.
From an athletic standpoint, he’s about as good as there is at the UFC. He’s muscular, extremely powerful, and agile. He is a fighter that can do things that other fighters cannot do within the Octagon. The majority of his finishes have come early in conflicts; Ngannou has not yet been pushed yet so it is a complete unknown what sort of pace he would struggle at if pressed into the championship rounds. His takedown defense is adequate, but it’s not elite so he could be carried down to the mat by wrestling concentrated fighters.
His brow has seldom been tested. His striking defense is outstanding absorbing only 1.46 significant strikes per minute with 60percent striking defense. He was staggered by Curtis Blaydes in his second UFC struggle, but recovered fast and ended up winning by doctor stoppage. That is the only time he’s been contested. That was a moment of weakness or a fluke. Until he’s tested again, it will be tough to tell the way he copes with adversity.

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