At UFC 260 on Saturday, March 27, Stipe Miocic is set to defend his title against Francis Ngannou for the second time.
Ngannou first challenged Miocic on January 20, 2018, and lost a unanimous decision against the reigning champion. Miocic’s wrestling prowess was on display as he continued to take down the heavyweight challenger and control him from top position for the majority of the fight. With scores of 50-44, 50-44, and 50-44, it was clear that Ngannou didn’t have the grappling ability to hang with a well-rounded heavyweight champion like Stipe Miocic is.
In that same year, Miocic would lose the heavyweight title to Daniel Cormier but was then able to reclaim it in August 2019 with a TKO win. He then defended his title against Cormier again in August 2020.
Ngannou’s also been busy since that defeat to Miocic. He would go on to lose a unanimous decision to Derrick Lewis in a fight that should be forgotten. But since then, he’s won four consecutive fights by first-round KO/TKO, defeating Curtis Blaydes, Cain Velasquez, Junior dos Santos, and Jairzinho Rozenstruik.
In this video, Patrick Auger and Matthew Wells give their Stipe Miocic vs Francis Ngannou predictions and a comprehensive Miocic vs Ngannou breakdown.
Stipe Miocic vs. Francis Ngannou predictions
Matthew Wells is picking Stipe Miocic to win. But claims that there is no one more dangerous than Francis Ngannou inside the octagon. The obvious challenge in predicting this fight is that we haven’t seen any of Ngannou’s wrestling and grappling improvements since the first fight with Miocic. Now, while that’s all because he has knocked out his last four opponents in about a minute or less, we just haven’t seen what we need to see to pick him to beat Miocic at this stage.
Wells says that we could just see the first fight all over again because we haven’t seen anything different from him yet.
He believes that Ngannou is going to need to come out and go straight for Miocic’s head. He will need to come out and put that pressure on Miocic quickly. He can’t afford Miocic to get comfortable in there at UFC 260.
Patrick Auger says Francis Ngannou is like a black box. The only two wrestlers he has faced since Stipe Miocic are Curtis Blaydes and Cain Velasquez. And in those two fights, they didn’t even get a chance to wrestle against Ngannou because they were knocked out so quickly. He’s had less than three minutes of cage time in his last four fights and they’ve all been knockouts.
That all being said, Auger thinks Miocic can win this one. He made excellent adjustments in the Cormier fights to come out on top in that trilogy 2-1. Miocic just needs to watch out for that one big punch from Ngannou. It sounds simple, but it’s not. Miocic is going to need to take Ngannou down and keep him there as he did in the first fight.
Auger is leaning Stipe Miocic to beat Francis Ngannou but considers Miocic’s chances at close to 55 percent and nothing higher than that.
Unlike Wells, Auger thinks Ngannou’s best way to beat Miocic is to stay back a little bit and make Miocic work for his takedowns. If he sits back a bit he’ll have an opportunity to counter Miocic and land that one knockout shot.
Who do you think wins the UFC Heavyweight Championship at UFC 260?
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Jake Nichols is The Body Lock's Editor in Chief. Previously, he was the MMA Editor at RealSport.