The rematch we’ve all been waiting for goes down this Saturday at UFC 260. A fight over three years in the making between two heavyweights riding a ton of momentum. They will finally collide once again at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, the fight capital of the world. Will the result remain the same or will history be rewritten? Join us for our Miocic vs Ngannou 2 preview and find out for yourself!
Miocic vs Ngannou 2: Meet the Fighters
The greatest UFC heavyweight of all time returns at UFC 260 to continue writing his legendary status. Sitting at 20-3 (14-3 in UFC), Miocic has taken on the who’s who in this heavyweight division. Debuting in the UFC back in 2011, Miocic was undefeated and ready to go on a tear within the most prominent MMA organization. He did just that, by starting his tenure within the promotion 3-0 with two of these wins coming via KO/TKO.
Stipe would taste defeat for the first time professionally in his fourth UFC bout when he would take on the “Skyscraper” Stefan Struve. It would be a back-and-forth brawl before Struve was able to pressure Stipe up against the cage and unleash an onslaught of strikes to finish the future champion in the second round. Miocic would bounce back from this loss and go on another three-fight win streak, with two of these wins coming against Roy Nelson and Gabriel Gonzaga, both by way of unanimous decision.
Following this win streak, Miocic would be matched up with his biggest challenge to date. The former UFC Heavyweight Champion, Junior Dos Santos. JDS gave Stipe everything he could handle in this five-round war and ultimately ended up getting his hand raised in a decision victory. This bout was back and forth, with some even believing that Stipe had done enough to win. However, having another setback, it was time for Miocic to go back to the drawing board.
Unfortunately for the heavyweight division, this was bad news. Stipe would go on an absolute tear winning his next six fights, five of them via KO/TKO. This run included the likes of Mark Hunt and Andrei Arlovski, to earn Stipe’s first shot at UFC gold. After disposing of these two, Stipe would travel to Brazil to take on their countryman, Fabricio Werdum, in an attempt to become champion, and that he would. Much to the disbelief of everyone, Miocic was able to land the perfect right hand while moving backward and sent Werdum face planting to the canvas in front of his home crowd. This win would change the landscape of the UFC heavyweight division for years to come.
Many believe that to truly become a champion, you must first defend your title. Stipe would go on to do just that and then some. Miocic would in fact set the record for Heavyweight championship defenses with three. These would come against Alistair Overeem via KO, Junior Dos Santos via TKO in a rematch, and the man of the hour, Francis Ngannou by way of a unanimous decision.
It was at this moment that Stipe began to be put into the GOAT discussion and what would set him up for one of, if not the greatest trilogies in UFC history. Daniel Cormier would move up a weight class to take on Miocic and chase the “champ champ” status back at UFC 226 in 2018. Cormier would be successful in this feat and shock the world by knocking out Stipe in the very first round.
It was clear that a rematch would be next for Miocic considering his accomplishments while champion and his wish would be granted a little over one year later in August of 2019. Stipe would enact his revenge against Cormier and after being down three rounds to zero on the judges’ scorecards, pulled off one of the greatest mid-fight adjustments you will ever see. In round four, Miocic would begin landing nasty body shots against Cormier that severely handicapped him and led to a vicious combination to finish the fight.
With Miocic sitting atop the heavyweight division once again, there was only one thing left to do. Complete the trilogy. Stipe would battle Daniel one last time this past summer at UFC 252 and put a stamp on the legendary rivalry. Miocic would control nearly the whole fight and win via unanimous decision to become the clearcut greatest heavyweight of all time.
Now here we are, just days away from yet again another rematch for Stipe. This time against the most dangerous man in the UFC, Francis Ngannou. In their first fight, Miocic would survive the early barrage from Ngannou and dominate the rest of the way, cruising to a hard-earned decision victory. His wrestling proved too much for Francis and the challenger simply had no answers. Three years removed from the first bout and once again coming in as the underdog, even with the belt around his waist, can Miocic put a halt to Ngannou’s run, or will time run out for the heavyweight king?
Francis “The Predator” Ngannou
Back for his second chance at UFC gold, Francis Ngannou looks to right his wrongs from his first meeting with Stipe Miocic. With a record of 15-3 (10-2 in UFC), Ngannou has been widely recognized as the most terrifying man on the UFC roster. Rightfully so, considering all 15 of his wins have come via finish, 11 of which have come by way of the knockout. If Ngannou lands clean, more than likely his opponent will be asleep in the octagon shortly thereafter.
Born in Cameroon, Africa, Francis Ngannou comes from the humblest of beginnings. Ngannou has worked his way to the top and has now made his dreams come true, being the number one-ranked heavyweight contender in the UFC. Built like a walking statue, you can take one look at Francis and know right away he is a problem for anyone that steps across from him in the cage.
Debuting within the UFC in 2015, Ngannou wasted no time putting his name on the map. That is because he tallied off six straight wins and earned a title shot within his first 25 months in the promotion. During this stretch, some of the notable wins included KO/TKOs over the likes of Curtis Blaydes, Andrei Arlovski, and one of the most brutal finishes in UFC history over Alistair Overeem. Upon his finish of “The Reem”, Ngannou could no longer be denied a title shot and took on Stipe Miocic in January of 2018 at UFC 220.
Now, assuming you have read all the way to this point, you know that Francis came up short in his quest for the strap in his first attempt. Although he landed some big shots against Stipe in round one, Miocic did weather the storm and dominated the remainder of the fight with his aggressiveness and wrestling. Both traits that Francis had not been tested with during his young career up to that point and showed in this bout.
Following the loss to the champ, Ngannou was matched up with “The Black Beast”, Derrick Lewis. This was a fight that, on paper, fans could not wait to see. Being that both men have insane power and love to brawl, it had the fight of the night written all over it. Little did we know this would turn out to be one of the most uneventful fights in UFC history, with Ngannou himself landing a total of 11 strikes. Lewis would end up getting the decision victory and now all of the sudden the once-unstoppable force in Francis looked like the hype train may have come to a complete halt.
However, we are almost three years removed from his fight with Lewis and Ngannou has looked better than ever since then. Riding a four-fight win streak, all by first-round KO/TKO over opponents like Curtis Blaydes a second time, two former champions in Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos, plus a terrifying knockout of Jairzinho Rozenstruik. Of the four fights, Francis has spent a combined 2:42 in the octagon. To compare, Stipe has spent nearly 45 minutes in the cage since UFC 226, when he fought Cormier on the same card. This is how dangerous Francis Ngannou truly is.
“The Predator” is now back for his second crack at Stipe Miocic and there are so many questions. Being that we have hardly seen Francis rack up any octagon time, can we say that he has improved significantly since the first fight with Miocic? Has he evolved his game to prepare for the wrestling-heavy approach? We aren’t far out from being able to answer these questions, but if it is a yes to both, the champ could be in for a very long, yet very short night.
Miocic vs Ngannou 2 Fight Breakdown
Rematches are so interesting and seem to be quite the theme in 2021 so far. We got Poirier vs McGregor 2, we are a month away from seeing Usman vs Masvidal 2, and the highly anticipated rematch between Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno will go down this summer! But there’s something about the heavyweights where they just hit different… literally.
In the first fight, we saw the veteran experience of Miocic was simply too much for Ngannou. Stipe was able to not only survive the early exchanges but forced Francis to go to the deep waters. He took him to places he had never seen before and quite frankly sucked the will out of him. His wrestling was on point, striking was accurate and the gas tank never ran empty.
Can Stipe come into this rematch with the same approach? We believe so, but with the same token, he probably has something else up his sleeve to keep Francis guessing. Having that 1-0 advantage in this series may also provide that extra bit of confidence that many opponents that have faced Francis wished they had. At the end of the day, the mental aspect of fighting is just as important, and look for that to play into the cards of Stipe throughout fight week and of course inside the cage on Saturday.
For Francis, look for him to come out with a slightly more cautious approach. This is because he will be aware of the takedown, but also ensure he does not tire too quickly like the first time. The perfect example is the way he fought Overeem. He wasn’t as wild, but when the combination to finish presented itself, he took the kill shot.
If Ngannou can stuff takedowns, even just a couple, that would play a vital factor. The more time he can keep the fight standing, the better for landing the knockout blow. It is worth noting that the Welterweight Champion, Kamaru Usman, will be in Ngannou’s corner. You can’t help but wonder if this is for the wrestling-specific portions of the bout when they inevitably occur.
Ultimately we feel confident in saying that Stipe has more avenues to win this rematch. Not only does he have the wrestling pedigree to grind out a decision, but he could likely finish the bout on the canvas via ground and pound. Plus, you can’t count Stipe out on the feet, just look at some of the people he has put away. While it may be hard to imagine anyone being able to finish Francis, if someone can, it will be the champ.
For Francis, it is hard to envision an outcome other than a KO/TKO finish. Although he does have a few submissions on his resume, those really came out of nowhere when there were major holes presented in his opponent’s game. Stipe, having never been submitted, will not show these same openings. As for Ngannou winning by way of decision, that is hard to think of an instance where the power can hang around for a full five rounds, enough to steal the fight that is. He simply does not have the game built for winning decisions, at least from what we have been presented with thus far.
At the end of the day, look for the champion to get the job done once more. This will not come without some adversity, however, because Francis more than likely will land some shots. So long as Stipe can keep his crisp boxing technique in check and utilize his great head movement, he should be able to avoid the big knockout blow.
Miocic will utilize the clinch and his grappling to really pull away with this one and we believe he will look to not only win but make a statement this go around. Especially with Jon Jones knocking on the door to face the winner. We are in for an absolute treat this Saturday and we will be on the edge of our seats every step of the way!
Miocic vs Ngannou 2 Prediction: Stipe Miocic via 4th Round KO/TKO
Let us know your predictions for Miocic vs Ngannou 2 in the comments below!
Checkout my MMA podcast and follow me on Twitter @dsallee14. Also, be sure to follow the team on Twitter @OTHeroicsMMA for more great content! Head over to the Overtime Heroics Forums page to join in on the discussion!
Miocic vs Ngannou 2 Miocic vs Ngannou 2 Miocic vs Ngannou 2 Miocic vs Ngannou 2 Miocic vs Ngannou 2 Miocic vs Ngannou 2 Miocic vs Ngannou 2 Miocic vs Ngannou 2 Miocic vs Ngannou 2 Miocic vs Ngannou 2 Miocic vs Ngannou 2 Miocic vs Ngannou 2