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UFC 260: Miocic vs Ngannou 2 - Mar 27 🇺🇸


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I'm not sure if Prime Cain would beat a Prime Miocic. 

I know there was the "high-altitude" excuse made for Cain when he lost to Werdum, but it should be remembered that Werdum fought one heck of a fight that evening and had an answer for everything that Cain threw at him. I think Miocic might have been capable of putting on a similar performance against a prime version of Cain. Alas, we will never know. 

Miocic has clearly had the better career though. Cain's career was probably hindered by training at AKA where they wreck their bodies in training, which obviously isn't conductive to a long career. 

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Well fuck me. There was always the chance. I’ve been saying it for ages, no matter how good you are, weathering Ngannou’s storm is easier said than done. But this was more than the old ‘punc

As has become a bit of a habit lately with rematches, I’ve gone back and revisited the first Stipe Miocic vs Francis Ngannou fight from 2018. Can you believe it was more than 3 years ago? That’s flown

The way I see it. If you want to do what's right for the sport you do Ngannou v Stipe 3 If you wanna create a mouthwatering superfight for the ages in fucking Zaire or somewhere, throw all t

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As has become a bit of a habit lately with rematches, I’ve gone back and revisited the first Stipe Miocic vs Francis Ngannou fight from 2018. Can you believe it was more than 3 years ago? That’s flown by, hasn’t it? I’m pretty sure I haven’t seen this fight since the night it happened so I’m interested to see it again with fresh eyes.

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It went down in January 2018 at UFC 220 in Boston. I covered it in the opening post but the hype on Ngannou going in was pretty ridiculous. He had obliterated Alistair Overeem just a few weeks earlier with that devastating KO so, with that still so fresh in the memory, I guess it’s understandable that there was a buzz around him. But still, Stipe had already done enough at this point to not be overlooked or counted out. That’s kind of what happened though. Seemed like the majority of the MMA world, media and fans, thought Stipe was about to die. But Stipe was the champ and coming off finishes over JDS, Overeem, Werdum, Arlovski and Hunt. Consecutively! And Ngannou had shown little other than he could punch a block of flats down. And while that’d be a scary thing to be faced with his overall MMA game hadn’t been put to the test. The grappling, the cardio, his durability, his ability to go 5 rounds...it was all still a mystery.

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Stipe Miocic (c) vs Francis Ngannou - Heavyweight Title 

UFC 220: Miocic vs Ngannou 

January 20th 2018

Boston, Massachusetts

Rogan with the usual over the top hyperbole in the pre-fight video package that we’ve come to expect from him. He calls Ngannou “the scariest man in the history of the sport” and his favourite “a one in a million athlete”. I get it’s their job to sell the fight but they don’t half go mad with it sometimes.

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Here we go. Commentary team is Jon Anik, Joe Rogan and Dominick Cruz and I strongly disapprove of it. Referee is Herb Dean.

Round 1: Ngannou comes out aggressive and Stipe’s looking to grapple. It’s weird hearing the crowd here, I’ve got so used to the empty arenas. Ngannou swinging for the fences to the oohs and ahhs of the crowd but Stipe’s avoiding all of it beautifully. It’s a dangerous game to play, some of them are just whizzing past his head by the smallest of margins but so far, so good for the champ.

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Ngannou does start to get through with some shots though. A nasty uppercut connects but Stipe’s still dodging most of the bombs and now he’s starting to land some nice counters of his own. Cruz seems to only be watching Ngannou here. He always does a shite job of hiding who he’s rooting for. He’s saying Stipe “looks hurt” already. He doesn’t. He looks fine, he’s just wary of Francis’ power early on and rightly so. This is the real danger round.

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Stipe with a sweet counter right. Ngannou’s just going for all power shots, all the time. Not much in the way of jabs or any kind of setups at all. He’s trying to one bomb Stipe out of there and, up until now, he’s mostly hit thin air.

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Not good for Big Francis. Stipe easily gets side control. Zero resistance from Ngannou whatsoever there. Stipe’s trying to set up a submission but not having much luck so decides to just pepper him with some punches and control him.

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“Ngannou looks lost. He does not seem to know what to do here.” - Joe Rogan

Stipe goes for a guillotine and that allows Ngannou the opportunity to escape. They’re back on their feet with under a minute to go in the round. Ngannou looking a bit tired already and Stipe’s landing some punches. In the dying seconds they both start trading. They both land and Ngannou connects with his best shot of the fight so far...

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Christ almighty. Stipe did well to weather that and he gets another takedown as the round ends. Miocic 10-9. Ngannou landed the bigger punches but not enough to cancel out Stipe outworking him for like 95% of the round.

Stipe’s eye is all marked up. Ngannou looks knackered getting off the stool. With 4 more rounds to go, that doesn’t bode well.

Round 2: Ngannou looks like he’s moving underwater here. Stipe’s avoiding his punches with ease because they’re coming at him so slowly. When he does land though, even with one of those slow arse winging shots, it rocks Stipe’s head back. A reminder to Stipe to not get too comfortable or overconfident. He’s not out of the woods yet. Stipe’s outlanding him but there’s been a couple of times he’s thrown a strike lazily and nearly got clipped in this round. Stipe mixing it up with some kicks and straight punches. Big takedown for Miocic. Ngannou’s not doing a bad job of trying to get up, to be fair, but Stipe is smartly just leaning on him and making an already exhausted Ngannou carry his weight. Knees to the body and punches from Stipe. 

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Man, this sucks for Ngannou. Just miserable. Miocic just grinds out the rest of the round in that position, emptying Ngannou’s gas tank that bit more. Miocic 10-9. If you had it 10-8, I wouldn’t argue.

Ngannou looks like he’s done 15 rounds. He’s done 2. As Dave Taylor would say, he looks “ragged, bagged and shagged”. And the worst thing is, he’s about to enter unknown territory. At this point in his career he’d never gone into a third round. And here he is moving like something out of Michael Jackson’s Thriller video.

Round 3: Leg kicks from Stipe now. And surprisingly, Ngannou defends a takedown here. It wasn’t the best shot from Miocic but considering Francis looks half dead, he’s done well to stay upright. Stipe eventually does drag him down though. It’s not the most exciting fight to watch but this is the smartest path for Stipe to take. He just continues to decrease the energy bar of Ngannou minute by minute. Ngannou, to his credit, avoids any real significant damage and they’re back on the feet. But at this point, Ngannou looks so much less dangerous than he did at the beginning of the fight it’s like a different man. He looks as flustered mentally as he looks fatigued physically. He’s thrown those sledgehammers and Stipe’s still there. He’s got no answers. Right when I say that...

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But Miocic immediately takes him straight back down. Ngannou has nothing in this position. He didn’t when he was relatively fresh so nearly 15 minutes deep he’s absolutely bollocksed. Bit of ground and pound for Miocic and it’s another one in the books for him. Miocic 10-9.

Championship rounds.

Round 4: Ngannou looks like he can barely lift his arm for the glove touch at the start of the round. Stipe with a piss easy takedown and straight into side control. Less than a minute into the round as well. Disaster. Ground and pound from Stipe. Francis isn’t quitting. There’s a few points here where he could’ve easily turtled up and let Stipe hit him until the ref stepped in if he wanted out. But he keeps trying to move and get up. He just doesn’t have the conditioning or experience to get out of this hell here. Stipe’s proper roughing him up now. Nothing that’ll make a highlight reel and nothing spectacular or massively impactful but it’s just constant pressure and leaning on him and digging in with elbows to the ribs and punches to the ears and temples. Just the worst day at the office ever for the big man. The most dominant round yet for Stipe. Definite 10-8. Ngannou got nothing done. Sod all.

Round 5: Stipe shoots in, Ngannou defends it. So Stipe works him over from the clinch for a bit. They hang out on the fence for a while and it’s dull stuff but I can’t blame Stipe. What’s that old saying? If it’s not broke, why risk letting Francis Ngannou break it? He probably could’ve opened up more and got Ngannou out of there at this point, to be honest. But I think he’s tired himself now and why risk it when you’re so in control of the fight? The onus is on Ngannou to make something happen here but he’s looking like a spent force. Nothing happening now, they’re just staring at each other as we enter the final minute. Even now you can hear the desperate hope in the voices of Rogan and Cruz, just wishing Ngannou would land the killshot in the last few seconds. Stipe’s not having it though. He grabs the underhooks and rides out the clock. Boring round. Stipe 10-9. And still.

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Winner - Stipe Miocic by unanimous decision.

All three judges scored it 50-44. No other way to score it really. About as clear as it gets. There was the odd hairy moment early but, honestly, even less than I remembered. Not a great fight, although the first round was still edge of the seat stuff even now, but a great and intelligent performance from Stipe. 

Stipe’s post-fight interview is hilarious. Just a load of indecipherable mumbling and then...

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😂 Bless him. 

This fight has been used to knock Ngannou a lot. I get it. He showed a lot of flaws. But it seemed like almost the entire MMA world turned on him after this loss. It was weird. Dana especially couldn’t wait put the boot in...

“Francis Ngannou, at the time that he was coming up, I believed this guy was going to be the guy. Was going to be the Heavyweight champion. And he lost his mind. This guy completely lost his mind and started to act in a way that you just don’t act. Ngannou has a lot of things he needs to fix personally and professionally to see if he ever gets back on track again.” - Dana White 

Little bit of an overreaction. So Dana believed Ngannou was going to be the champ and his poster boy, Dana was the one talking about Francis hitting as hard as a Ford Escort going as fast as it can...then when Ngannou starts believing it he’s the cunt? But only when he loses? OK. Just seemed like a typical Dana tantrum because he didn’t get the result he wanted. Expect similar this Sunday if Stipe spanks him again.

Ngannou’s awful showing against Derrick Lewis in his next fight didn’t help matters and there’s a section of MMA fans who still act like he’s shite because of those two fights. Granted he didn’t look good here and he is one dimensional. But a) he was fighting Stipe Miocic. And b) that one dimension is still a bastard to deal with. I think the criticism he got was harsh. Bear in mind he’d only turned pro 5 years earlier. MMA was still relatively new to him. Now if he comes in on Saturday still having made no improvements then he’s a fool. But he SHOULD be a better version of himself going into this rematch. There’s no excuse not to have made gains in his overall MMA game in the 3 years since the first fight. Whether that’s enough remains to be seen. I don’t think it will be but who knows? He’s still going to bring that threat early. People can say ‘he’s shown nothing new since the first fight’ and I agree, he hasn’t. But that doesn’t necessarily mean he hasn’t put the work in during camp. He just hasn’t needed to show it on fight night. He’s wiped out Cain, JDS, Blaydes and Rozenstruik in a combined 2:42 in his last 4 fights. He’s very much a threat. Regardless of how one sided this first fight was, that doesn’t mean Stipe has it in the bag. One step left when he should’ve went right and he could be sleeping. Worth remembering as well that as shite as Ngannou looked against Stipe, he did last the full 25 minutes. Which is more than can be said for Overeem, JDS, Werdum, Hunt, Cormier in the second fight etc. Even if just his conditioning is better this time, it could make it a better fight to watch at least. He’s never catching up on the grappling side but you’d think he’s at least been drilling the bollocks out of takedown defence the past 3 years. 

All that said, the smart money is on Stipe going 2-0. Ngannou’s going to bring the heat as always. But Stipe walks into fires every day in his real life job. He’s not arsed. It’s weird but even after watching this one way traffic shutout, I’m still hyped for the rematch. Ngannou’s ‘puncher’s chance’ always makes it interesting. Plus Stipe’s the one man who can drag Ngannou into deep water so we should get some answers on if Ngannou’s made any improvements. On top of that, there’s the ‘Jon Jones fights the winner’ twist looming over the whole thing.

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I don’t think I’ve ever been as excited for a rerun of a squash match in my life.

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As Wand said, Ngannou was as gassed as Dadda 5000 was against Kimbo by the end of Round 2 in their first match, and Miocic still couldnt/didnt submit him. Three years worth of improvements by Ngannou should logically say that if he didnt get submitted first time, its even less likely this time.

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Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, Dai said:

As Wand said, Ngannou was as gassed as Dadda 5000 was against Kimbo by the end of Round 2 in their first match, and Miocic still couldnt/didnt submit him. Three years worth of improvements by Ngannou should logically say that if he didnt get submitted first time, its even less likely this time.

The only thing there though, is we really don’t know how much, or even if, Ngannou has improved. Because since that snoozer with Lewis, we’ve seen less than 3 minutes of him in the Octagon and he’s just blasted through everyone on the feet. Who knows if his cardio or grappling is any better? If he’s got any brains at all he’d have seen the first Stipe fight as a massive wake up call and put the graft in. Even then he’s up against it but at least it improves his chances. But I don’t know. It’s a big mystery until we see it put to the test. He might’ve been killing it conditioning-wise over the last 3 years for all we know. Or maybe he started taking it serious but then once he crushed Cain and JDS or whoever in seconds he started thinking ‘this is easy, who needs cardio?’ We don’t know. He must know that Stipe’s on another level and relying solely on that KO to come early isn’t a good idea.

Ngannou weighed in at 263 yesterday, the same as the first fight. He looks better to me though. Looks in better shape and a little bit leaner so hopefully that means he’s coming in in better condition this time.

First fight in 2018;

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And yesterday’s weigh in;

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That’s a slightly different looking 263 isn’t it? Might mean fuck all in the end, Stipe’s still the more skilled overall fighter of the two. He should win this. But I’m hoping that we’re at least getting a better Ngannou this time and we get more of a competitive fight out of it. 

Edited by wandshogun09
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I'm hoping that, even if he hasn't changed up the training regimen as a general principle, he's at least tried to train for his specific opponent. The first match, in some ways, was absolute gold for him as defeats go, in that there was a lot there for him to learn from - he didn't get subbed or knocked out quickly, so there's plenty of footage for him and his coach to review. Obviously, knowing's only half the battle, and even with the training it might end up making no difference against someone as crafty as Miocic, but he has loads of intel he can work on his own game with and hopefully come up with something that makes him more of a threat than he was. I would suspect that someone with power like his becomes much more dangerous if he can raise the rest of his general game even a small degree.

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All good points. I guess Im basing it on some very general assumptions that Ngannou seems like hes got a very good attitude, and even though hes not had much fight time, Im assuming there were full and intense training camps for all of his fights. Again, based on nothing but general vibes I get from Ngannou, youd like to think he had some major training and hours of work in wrestling and ground work in preparation for Cain and Blaydes specifically, which may come to fruition in this fight. Thats going to be the second most interesting part of the fight (the first being if Francis lands the big bomb in Round 1).

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The loss of the co main FW title fight was a bit of a downer, having Woodley and O'Malley on the card makes it a good show but the rest of the undercard and prelims aren't as great as previous PPVs this year, still I am not complaining as I will watch it all happily and I am sure there will be some great fights in the pre lims.

I have gone for a Stipe/Woodley double on the betting, the odds were too good not to. A £3 stake gets me £19 back. That's high returns for just two fights. 

I am really excited to see O'Malley again, this is a very winnable and favourable fight for him and if he can't get the job done then the hype train is definitely off the tracks.

 

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Feels like the trains already off the tracks with O'Malley. He can get it back, but that Vera fight and more so his actions afterwards have really slowed O'Malley's buzz. If Almeida is somewhat close to what he once was, this fight could be a cracker.

oh and this:

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39 minutes ago, Egg Shen said:

Feels like the trains already off the tracks with O'Malley. He can get it back, but that Vera fight and more so his actions afterwards have really slowed O'Malley's buzz. If Almeida is somewhat close to what he once was, this fight could be a cracker.

oh and this:

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I'm probably going to stay up and watch it live with it being a 2am start, excellent stuff.

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With the main event tonight and it now almost certainly happening, I'm thinking about how it'll play out, and I honestly don't see my view going into this one being any different from my view going into the last one. 

Ngannou has a punchers chance of winning, but Miocic is clearly the more skilled fighter. If it goes beyond two rounds I don't see a way Ngannou wins. 

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1 hour ago, David said:

 

Ngannou has a punchers chance of winning, but Miocic is clearly the more skilled fighter. If it goes beyond two rounds I don't see a way Ngannou wins. 

Unless he's made massive improvements that we've yet to see, i think its almost certain that this is how it'll play out.

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