By Nick DiNisco
Date: Saturday, March 27
Location: The UFC Apex, Las Vegas, NV
Time: Prelim fights begin at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN, Main Card begins at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV
The much anticipated heavyweight championship rematch will headline UFC 260 with #1 contender, Francis Ngannou (15-3) facing off against the heavyweight champion, Stipe Miocic (20-3).
The two fought just over three years ago where Miocic won via unanimous decision in a five round main event. Both fighters proceeded to lose their next fights; Miocic lost to Cormier in a heavyweight title fight and Ngannou was defeated in a three round fight against heavyweight contender Derrick Lewis.
Since then, Miocic and Ngannou have cemented their positions at the top. Miocic regained his title from Cormier by beating him at UFC 241 via 4th round TKO. A year later, in the trilogy fight, Miocic held onto his belt in a unanimous decision victory.
Ngannou has continued to increase his stock with stoppages to Cain Velasquez, Curtis Blaydes, Junior Dos Santos and Jairzinho Rozenstruik in a combined time of less than one three-minute round.
The question that has been asked leading up to this fight is the same question that was asked in their first meeting: Can Ngannou avoid getting outwrestled and can he keep the fight at stand up?
Ngannou’s advantage is his knockout power and many notable fighters have not lasted long in the octagon with him, but in the first fight it was the wrestling that Ngannou could not handle. The champion understood his path to victory and executed it perfectly.
It’s been three years since the first bout and many believe that the Cameroon native has improved his takedown defense and wrestling. The question is has he improved enough to defend against the champ? In a very entertaining matchup, we will see how these important questions play out.
Miocic is a slight underdog in this fight which doesn’t make any sense to me. Many believe that it is Francis Ngannou’s time to reign to the top in an inspiring journey. It will be interesting to see their styles matchup and to see the adjustments that each fighter has made since the first fight. I believe the longer that this fight goes the more it favors Miocic as he understands the power that Ngannou has but also understands that he will get tired the longer the fight goes. Many people are backing Ngannou in this fight but I just can’t bet against the champ as an underdog.
Fight Odds (via DraftKings):
Stipe Miocic +110
Francis Ngannou -130