• Sammy Mattaliano

UFC 260: Miocic vs N'Gannou

We have a fantastic PPV card from the UFC with an incredibly anticipated heavyweight rematch at UFC 260 this Saturday. One of the greatest heavyweights ever and the most successful in the UFC, Stipe Miocic, is looking to continue down the path of greatness against one of the scariest fighters in the sport’s history, Cameroonian tank Francis N’Gannou. Alongside a very fun main card, the undercard includes a former welterweight champ against a contender who’s been gunning down everyone in his path. One of bantamweight’s most hyped contenders is looking to bounce back after his first loss. The rest of the card is filled with fun prospects taking a step up against proven veterans. This card is an absolute must watch!


The Main Card


Starting with the main event, we have a cream of the crop heavyweight title fight between Stipe Miocic and Francis N’gannou. There really isn’t a whole lot better in MMA than the heavyweight division at the highest level. They’re the most powerful guys in the sport who can end the fight with one shot plus they use technique and intelligence.

Let’s start with Francis, a man who has had an incredibly inspiring journey to get to the spot he’s in today. Spending his youth doing incredibly difficult labor digging in sand mines in Cameroon & having an intense experience migrating from his home country to Morocco, then to Paris, France. Francis has been through the fire in life, so fighting in the cage doesn’t equate to the fighting he’s done through his own life. He’s arguably the most powerful fighter in the sport today. He holds an amazing 10-2 record in the UFC with 10 finishes including KOs over UFC champions, Cain Velazquez, Junior Dos Santos, and Andrei Arlovski. One of the scariest knockouts of all time over heavyweight great Alistair Overeem. Along with his knockouts over top 5 contenders like Jairzinho Rozenstruik & defeating Curtis Blaydes twice. Francis is a nightmare on the feet, striking with him is like bringing a handgun to a tank fight. While his technique isn’t the cleanest, his ability to blitz and overwhelm his opponents with his touch of death is something like we’ve never seen in the sport. After his first title shot loss to Stipe in 2018, he moved his training to Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas where they’ve really tried to improve his game. He added better decision making and a cleaner variety of techniques to his game, which is all he needs to become champion with his god given gift of power. He can nuke anyone in front of him no matter how skilled or credentialed his opponents are.

Now let’s go over Stipe. Arguably the best heavyweight the UFC has ever seen. Stipe is a two-time heavyweight champion and holds the record in the division for consecutive title defenses. He’s easily the most under-appreciated champion of all time too. Fans and media always seem to look past him against his opponents. He isn’t the most brash or the biggest promoter but a prime example of the great guys in MMA. Just a family man and firefighter trying to provide for his family, who happens to be the heavyweight champion of the world. Every time Stipe keeps it low key in his small gym in Cleveland, puts his nose to the grindstone and just gets to work. It shows in his skill set, great boxing and movement, fantastic takedowns, smothering and heavy top pressure on the ground, and fantastic decision making to always fight to his strengths. I think his best tool is his mind. Just an ability to stay cool in the fire. Doesn’t veer from his game plan. Never looks past his opponents and just focuses at the task at hand. He has so much experience at the highest level to draw from, when he first won the title by knocking out Fabricio Werdum going backwards in Fabricio’s home country of Brazil. His Rockstar performance in his hometown of Cleveland when he knocked out Alistair Overeem. One of the best trilogies in the division’s history against all-time great Daniel Cormier. A fight a lot of people forget, his domination and beautifully executed performance of Francis N’Gannou. Stone cold Stipe has been there and done that.


Analysis


It’ll be interesting to see what improvements Francis has made since the first fight. To be honest, he hasn’t had to show them because of his power with his last four wins only totaling just under 2 and half minutes of cage time. We’re going to find out against Stipe because he created the blueprint to beat Francis. Francis must take his time this try. Don’t charge in with wild 3-4 punch combinations. Just try to touch Stipe with 50 to 60% power so he can avoid the takedowns better. Stipe has only gotten older since the first fight and went through a brutal trilogy with Daniel Cormier, so I don’t think his punch resistance has gotten any better. Stipe, on the other hand, must fight a perfect fight. Just like the first round in the first time they met. Stipe has to use his footwork and head movement to make Francis whiff, put him on his back, make Francis carry all of his weight to fill his muscles with lactic acid to take some steam and speed off of Francis’s shots, weather the hurricane, and go to work late. The longer this fight goes the better it is for Stipe. This is going to be such an intense fight where Stipe has to float like a butterfly dodging a barrage of nuclear punches Francis is going to be launching at him. Heavyweight title on the line, teetering on the edge of a brutal knockout, and the winner of this fight most likely to face Jon Jones later in the year. The stakes don’t get any bigger than they are in the main event this weekend.


Tyron Woodley vs Vicente Luque


We also have a great co-main event between one of the best 170lb champions of all time, Tyron Woodley, and the hyped contender and division bulldozer, Vicente Luque. Woodley at one point had 4 title defenses under his belt with wins over savages like Stephen Thompson, Darren Till, Demian Maia, Kelvin Gastelum, and Robbie Lawler. One of the division's most powerful strikers with NCAA division 1 All American wrestling. Tyron is looking to get his back off the wall and finally pull the trigger to snap his 3-fight losing streak. With how tentative and gun shy his recent performances have been he has his hands full with Luque. When Vicente fights it’s always a must watch. Winning 10 out of his last 12 fights in the UFC with 9 finishes. Always shows a beautiful display of controlled pressure and aggression with clean powerful hooks, brutal leg kicks, and great finishing instincts. Tyron must show more output this fight or Vicente will trap him against the cage and drown him with boxing and kickboxing combinations. This is a crossroads fight for Woodley at age 38.. he can’t afford to take his fourth loss in a row, while the UFC set this up to be a showcase fight for Luque, possibly earning a top 5 opponent with a win over the former champion.


O'Malley vs Almeida


Next up we have a 135lb fight between polarizing prospect Sean O’Malley and Brazilian veteran Thomas Almeida. O'Malley, one of the hottest prospects in a division filled with hot prospects looking to bounce back after his first loss to Marlon Vera. A beautiful precision striker that’s produced many walk off knockouts, his most recent coming when he put down former WEC champ Eddie Wineland with one shot. His striking style gives Conor McGregor vibes. Great distant management, accuracy, feints, an arsenal filled with unique spinning and jumping kicks, and crisp boxing. If he stays focused on the job in front of him, he could cruise to the win and even have a championship ceiling. Almeida, being a very competent fighter himself, was once in the same position as Sean a few years ago. He has the skill set to give Sean some problems. A Muay Thai specialist coming from the hard knock camp of Chute Box in Brazil. Thomas has fought some of the best guys of the division and has only lost to the crème de la crème. Sean has shown a weakness in his leg strength which was shown when he was sidelined for two years dealing with a leg injury. Then, in his last fight against Marlon Vera, he was kicked in the perineal nerve causing him to lose feeling in his foot which led to him being finished with strikes. Almeida’s game plan is for sure to work Sean’s legs. Almeida has taken a lot more damage in his UFC career than Sean so he should have the chin advantage on paper. This should be a great back and forth fight but should be a bounce back win for Sean.


Watch Out for These Fights


The rest of the card has a spoil of fun fights you should keep your eye on. A 125lb fight between veteran submission artist Gillian Robertson and flyweight’s newest prospect Miranda Maverick. It seems like the girls at 125lb are finally starting to catch up to the skill level of champion Valentina Shevchencko. I think by the start of next year the division will have a bloom of new contenders with Miranda being one of them. A 155lb fight between finisher Khama Worthy and brawler Jamie Mullarkey. A 205lb fight between two power houses, Alonzo Menifield and William Knight. The cousin of Khabib, Abubakar Nurmagomedov is looking to bounce back in a 170lb bout against Jared Gooden. The slick Polish boxer Michal Oleksiejczuk takes on Modestas Bukauskas in a 205lb fight. Polished Venezuelan striker Omar Morales takes on the scrappy New Zealander Shane Young in a 145lb fight. Tune in this Saturday because this main event is must see TV! Put some bets in, grab some adult beverages, and enjoy the fights this weekend!


We'll have a UFC 260 betting guide out tomorrow so be sure to come back for that!

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