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Ahead of every UFC fight card, Jay Primetown of MMA Oddsbreaker have a peek at a few of the essential contests at each event. In the most recent installment, we look at the primary event of UFC 220 as Stipe Miocic defends his heavyweight championship against Francis Ngannou. This is Francis Ngannou’s initial main event and first time fighting for the UFC heavyweight championship, despite this, he’s still 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 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, he’ll break the record for consecutive title defenses at heavyweight with three.
Miocic is one of the most athletes in the heavyweight division. Besides wrestling, he played baseball in college, even drawing interest from some Major League Baseball teams. In reference to MMA, he has an amateur boxing history competing at the Golden Gloves competition. Miocic is a good striker having solid hands and works an extremely large rate for a heavyweight landing a whopping 5.15 significant strikes a minute. In contrast, he is just absorbing 3.30 significant strikes per minute with 61 percent defense that is striking.
Miocic combines his striking with wrestling grading over two takedowns each 15 minutes within the octagon. Miocic isn’t the branch’s hardest puncher, but he moves really well and has proven an ability to prevent taking much harm. Miocic has a good motor overall and can even work a decent pace late in battles. On the side, he can be hurt by competitions. He had been stunned by Overeem only 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 battle winning streak to begin his UFC career, Francis Ngannou has quickly risen to be a true threat to Stipe Miocic’s crown. He has finished all six of his UFC opponents with his last four successes all coming over the opening two minutes of these bouts.
The Cameroon born heavyweight began training in boxing in his native Cameroon before proceeding to France in age 22. He was homeless for a period of time, residing in the streets of Paris because he picked up odd jobs here and there until he joined up in MMA Factory and developed into a fighter. He started fighting professionally in 2013 and never return.
The 6’4″ heavyweight has one of the longest reaches MMA in 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 that appears to brawl. He is fairly patient timing his chances. He’ll go for it, when a finish is sensed by him.
From an athletic standpoint, he is about as good as there is at the UFC. He is muscular, extremely strong, and agile. He’s a fighter that could do things that other fighters can’t do within the Octagon. Most of his finishes have come in fights; Ngannou hasn’t been pushed yet so it’s a whole unknown what sort of pace he would struggle at if pressed into the championship rounds. His takedown defense is decent, but it’s not elite therefore he could be carried down to the mat by wrestling concentrated fighters.
His chin has rarely been analyzed. His striking defense is excellent absorbing just 1.46 significant strikes per minute with 60percent striking defense. He had been staggered by Curtis Blaydes in his next UFC fight, but recovered fast and ended up winning by doctor stoppage. That is the only time he has been contested. That was a moment of even a fluke or weakness. Until he’s tested again, it is going to be hard to tell how he copes with adversity.

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