Running it back after three years, Stipe Miocic is primed once again to defend his Heavyweight title against freak power puncher, Francis N’Gannou.

UFC 260: Miocic vs N’Gannou 2 Predictions & Results

Main Event

Heavyweight (265)

UFC Heavyweight Championship

Stipe Miocic (20-3) vs Francis N’Gannou (15-3)

Stipe Miocic is one of the greatest Heavyweights of all-time, even outside of the UFC. Where you place the elite Heavyweights (e.g. Fedor, Velasquez, etc.) is debatable, but Miocic is now undeniably one of the GOATs. First-round stoppages over former champions Fabricio Werdum, Alistair Overeem, JDS are already impressive – yet their value skyrockets when you realise they were title defences. Moreover, Miocic’s trilogy with the elite LHW, Daniel Cormier, is a two-year-long series that will be forever etched into the record books. Somewhere, sandwiched in between his long resume, is Francis N’Gannou’s name. Although their first fight won’t end up on future highlight reels, what occurred was a wild first round followed by Miocic boxing behind a jab before grappling his gigantic foe. Many will point towards N’Gannou’s inexperience and one-trick offence at the time, but those same fans will forget that Miocic was comfortably beating N’Gannou on the feet as well as on the mat.

Long, painful trilogies can often change a fighter. We won’t know for sure how much the Cormier trilogy has drained out of Miocic, but the major issue would be any sort of cracks appearing on his historical granite chin. Miocic’s greatest assets in the match-up will be his feints, an educated jab and leg kicks. The first time around, Miocic was able to peel away from N’Gannou with a series of hand and shoulder feints that masked his eventual thumping jab. Moreover, even in the first round, a simple shoulder dip by Miocic forced N’Gannou into explosive counters that missed the mark by a mile and drained his gas tank rapidly. Unseen in the first fight, but a viable weapon, are leg kicks. During N’Gannou’s quick bout against JDS, both men threw hard leg kicks, but N’Gannou appeared visibly far more uncomfortable. The Cameroonian bounces sharply on his feet for the first couple of rounds, but as he tires, his entire weight cements onto flat feet. Coupled with his long, bladed stance, Miocic has a free path to breaking N’Gannou’s power base.

Despite Miocic excelling in almost all technical areas of this fight, N’Gannou possesses freak knockout power off both the front and back feet. Although N’Gannou’s ungainly swarming knockout of Jairzinho Rozenstruik is comically sloppy to watch, he only needed to land one looping punch to crack the chin of a weathered kickboxing veteran who has otherwise shown a stellar chin. Better yet, that fight was largely an anomaly in regards to N’Gannou’s preferred style. N’Gannou’s best work stems from an accurate counter game where he latches onto opponents after they make a mistake on the feet (JDS, Overeem) or blindly shoot for his hips (Velasquez, Blaydes). Miocic hit Francis with his best shots in their first fight but didn’t seem close to knocking out his heavily fatigued counterpart, perhaps greater focus on the body would reap bigger rewards in their rematch.

Predicted Result: N’Gannou TKO Round 1

This is genuinely a 50/50 despite Miocic’s dominance during their first meeting. A major issue in this rematch relates to Miocic’s only opponent being Daniel Cormier, a blown-up Light Heavyweight who requires a far different game plan. Moreover, the punishment that Miocic endured during their trilogy still leaves questions over the chin and durability of the champion. N’Gannou has fought a diverse and experienced roster but hasn’t exactly exhibited any developments to his game outside of re-confirming his freak power and accuracy, For Miocic to win again, he would have to employ a similar strategy of hand and shoulder feints to bait N’Gannou into biting hard and swinging wildly. From there Miocic could jab his way as safely as possible through the tense opening rounds and search for an eventual opportunity on the hips. Furthermore, Miocic needs to utilise leg kicks, a weapon sorely missed during their first match-up but one that could throw N’Gannou out of the comfort of his long, bladed stance. Unfortunately, and it is genuinely sad as Miocic is one of the best ambassadors for the sport, sometimes freak athleticism and natural gifts are the equaliser in the heavier divisions. Miocic may have shown a wonderful chin to get out of the first round, the first time around, but his lack of head movement may likely be his downfall. Whatever the result, the opening round is surely going to be the most tense five minutes you will find this year.

In one of the sweetest results of recent memory, Miocic avenged his disputed defeat to Cormier with a stunning fourth-round knockout via disgusting liver shots.

Result: N’Gannou def. Miocic // KO (punch) Round 2 0:52

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Co-Main Event

Welterweight (170)

Tyron Woodley (19-6-1) vs Vicente Luque (19-7-1)

On the cusp of losing his sixteenth round straight, it may be time to finally agree that Woodley is no longer the same champion from 2018. What was once a heavy-handed, aggressive top game, decision machine, is now a gun-shy lead weight in the Welterweight division. It has been a dramatic fall from grace for the former top P4P champ and has already begun to dismantle whatever legacy he had built during his two-year reign. His last three fights haven’t even been competitive, as Woodley aimed to survive against Kamaru Usman, Gilbert Burns and Colby Covington. A mental block when striking is a terrible affliction that affects veterans who have had their chin tested (i.e. Robbie Lawler), but Woodley hasn’t even attempted to throw in his last three.

Having said that, it would still be somewhat stupid to write out a fighter who on paper should be able to ease through this stylistic match-up. Owning a still stellar chin, vicious overhand right and excellent wrestling that aims to catch people in the centre of the octagon. Luque’s takedown defence has improved since his debut with the UFC, but Woodley’s freak power when driving through on a takedown often leads him to man-handling his opponent onto the mat. Moreover, gun-shy or not, Woodley has always had a wonderful eye and timing for a counter. The pull counter, one of the simplest counter shots, is a staple of Woodley’s (e.g. cracking Darren Till). Luque is a fighter who loves to stand in the pocket, and with the frequency of left hooks he throws, Luque often leaves his chin exposed to a right hand.

Despite playing a part in some of the most entertaining fights in recent UFC memory, Vicente Luque is still not a home-brand name with many of the casuals. A vicious counter-puncher, Luque is more than willing to eat a punch to land a couple himself. Ridiculously durable, Luque drowns opponents with volume that often masks the hard shots he filters into combinations. While Luque’s BJJ hasn’t needed to appear for the past couple of year, it is still a potent threat that forces fighters to reconsider taking the affair to the ground. Hard leg kicks will control Woodley’s position in the cage, and the volume he commits to when an opponent is against the cage may force the referee to intervene if Woodley continues to fail to throw.

Predicted Result: Luque Decision

Tyron Woodley, on the cusp of dropping his sixteenth round straight, is still a difficult man to write off. The biggest issue has been Woodley’s gun-shy approach to his last three fights, unwilling to throw despite bleeding rounds on the scorecards. It can’t be that the former champion is unable to make the necessary reads, as his eye and timing for a counter shot has always been impeccable. Whatever the reason, Woodley still possesses a stellar chin, thunderous right hand, and powerful wrestling that can catch Luque during his extended combinations. Despite all the stylistic advantages in the world, if Woodley refuses to throw, he isn’t going to win against an opponent who will continually wade forward and drown his opposition in volume. If Woodley is to be stopped by Luque, there is little reason to keep the ex-champ around.

In a match-up that was expected to be a heated barn-burner, Colby Covington grinded Woodley out through five boring rounds.

Result: Luque def. Woodley // Submission (brabo choke) Round 1 3:56

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Main Card

Bantamweight (135)

Thomas Almeida (22-4) vs Sean O’Malley (12-1)

There hasn’t been a lot of attention nor love shown to Thomas Almeida during the media scrimmage this week. While Sugar Sean will always attract the headlines, it wasn’t long ago that Almeida was picked to be an elite player at Bantamweight. The first-round capitulation to Cody Garbrandt threw a spanner in the works, and since then, the Brazilian gone 1-3 with his only win coming against the extremely limited, Albert Morelos. A pressure fighter, Almeida using the entire space of the octagon to set traps for his opponent and aim to prime them onto an explosive counter combination. Pre-Martinez fight, Almeida would have been a hugely risky fight for O’Malley due to his raw athletic ability and experience against top Bantamweights. After Martinez, Almeida looked unable to control the range or pace of the fight. Whenever he attempted to enter range with his boxing, Almeida was clipped hard with check left hooks – a defensive frailty which cannot be afforded against O’Malley’s one-shot power.

Sugar Sean hit his first major speedbump in his upward trajectory through the Bantamweight rankings, after being stunned by the disgustingly underrated, Marlon Vera. Ignoring O’Malley’s excuses, Vera targeted his opponent’s Weetabix legs and eventually cracked them before punishing his opponent with terrifying ground and pound. The durability of O’Malley’s lower half maybe a career weakness, however, as O’Malley suffered a similar fight-changing leg injury during his bout with Andre Soukhamthath. The freakish power of O’Malley at the low weight class, coupled with Almeida’s pretty reckless forward aggression means that the fake Irishman will sooner or later find the chin.

Predicted Result: O’Malley TKO Round 2

As much as it hurts to say, Almeida looked washed up against Jonathan Martinez last time out. Sure, the fight was at Featherweight, but Almeida looked lost against a fighter whose only disengage tool was a teep kick. With a style based around relentless, forward aggression, Almeida will regularly offer O’Malley opportunities to crack him hard with counters. While Almeida’s athletic talents and explosive volume remain a threat, if the fight does turn into a dog fight, O’Malley’s one-punch knockout power will trump the Brazilian. On a side note, give O’Malley’s leg a thumping early and chance your arm.

Result: O’Malley def. Almeida // KO (punch) Round 3 3:52

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Women’s Flyweight (125)

Gillian Robertson (9-5) vs Miranda Maverick (8-2)

God Damn I love me some Gillian Robertson. The perennial gatekeeper of Women’s Flyweight, Robertson will snatch up a late choke against any prospect that attempts to cruise their way to the scorecards. Last time out against Taila Santos, Robertson was dwarfed by the much larger fighter and controlled from the top for large portions. Still, Robertson refused to surrender and continued to throw up submissions off of her back in search of the victory. It ain’t pretty work, but Robertson is a grinder with a steadfast desire to win and it is hard to root against her despite her limited striking.

Juxtapose to Miranda, a figure slowly becoming one of the most annoying fighters on the roster – mostly due to the commentary team’s hard-on for her successful studies outside of the octagon. Ignoring her abrasive personality, Maverick is a young prospect who is constantly improving. Throwing short, sharp three-punch combinations on the feet, Maverick ultimately aims to submit an opponent. Maverick will always be in danger on the mat against Robertson, but her top control has so far looked impregnable throughout her career.

Predicted Result: Maverick Decision

I adore Robertson’s continual development into a well-rounded fighter, but her off-the-back submissions will struggle to come by against the dominating top control of Maverick. While neither woman has crisp striking, Maverick’s inside work is more effective, and will eventually allow her to take this to the mat. Robertson has snatched victory from the jaws of defeat many times before, but Maverick’s top control has so far appeared impregnable.

Result: Maverick def. Robertson // Decision (unanimous – 30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

Lightweight (155)

Jamie Mullarkey (12-4) vs Khama Worthy (16-7)

Christ, how many more fights is Jamie Mullarkey going to receive from the UFC. Sure, Mullarkey is a grinder who will fight to the final bell, but he has looked behind the pace during his first two fights with the organisation. Although technically smooth and compact on the feet, there is a clear speed disadvantage in striking exchanges and leaves him coming off the worse. Ideally finding his best work on the mat, Mullarkey can smother opponents but doesn’t offer much in way of punishment or chokes.

Khama Worthy is a counter-punching knockout artist whose leaky striking defence is covered up by explosive bursts of kickboxing. Worthy’s guard is particularly an issue as he drops both hands when committing to shots, but his head movement and herky-jerky footwork is often enough to avoid incoming damage. If this is taken to the mat, Worthy can survive for a decent amount of time, but he doesn’t offer much threat off the back.

Predicted Result: Worthy TKO Round 3

Neither man will be able to climb high up the rankings, but Worthy is at a clear physical advantage that will regularly beat Mullarkey to the punch. While the Aussie is a tight, compact operator who doesn’t offer many opportunities in the way of mistakes, Worthy’s body kicks will eventually force Mullarkey into action and onto Worthy’s explosive boxing combinations. Mullarkey could easily grind out a decision on the ground, but he has shown a vulnerability to being dragged into wars on the feet.

Result: Mullarkey def. Worthy // KO (punches) Round 1 0:46

Winner ❌ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Preliminary Card

Light Heavyweight (205)

Alonzo Menifield (9-2) vs Fabio Cherant (7-1)

Please, please can Alonzo Menifield secure a victory. After an extremely difficult 2020 where Menifield gassed out against Devin Clark, and had his woeful striking defence exposed by OSP, the elderly prospect desperately needs to get back into the win column. Having somewhat solved his pacing issues, Menifield could prove a handful if he remains a potent striking threat throughout all three rounds.

Fabio Cherant is thankfully nowhere near the level of Menifield’s last two opponents. Cherant has shown an aptitude for snatching submissions from naked takedown attempts, but his striking needs to vastly improve before being pushed onto the UFC stage. Cherant struggles with spying counter striking opportunities, and despite his size, will not offer much to keep Menifield at bay in the opening round.

Predicted Result: Menifield TKO Round 1

Cherant is a big boy at 205, but he struggles to make early reads on opponents. Menifield seemed to have made strides in ironing out his pacing issues against OSP, and his knockout power has never been in question. Menifield won’t struggle too much pushing Cherant back against the cage from which he can eventually find the finishing blow.

Result: Menifield def. Cherant // Submission (Von Flue choke) Round 1 1:11

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ✔️

Welterweight (170)

Jared Gooden (17-5) vs Abubakar Nurmagomedov (15-3-1)

Despite a rugged performance against Alan Jouban in his UFC debut, Jared Gooden lost decisively and looked lost against an advanced striker. Gooden carries heavy hands and proved his chin upon surviving the barrage that Jouban threw, but his takedown defence was not once tested. Sure, Gooden has a couple of guillotine chokes on his record, but as many regional fighters find out when they enter the UFC, they are much harder to secure against better wrestlers. After failing the choke and ending up flat on your back – you’re left stranded for however long the round is left.

Poor Abubakar. Cousin of Khabib, the Nurmagomedov clan looked thoroughly disappointed in Abubakar when he ran headfirst into David Zawada’s triangle choke last time out. A robotic stand-up throwing one-twos like a rock-em-sock-em robot, Abubakar recklessly searches for takedowns and aims to grind opponents on the mat. There is almost zero doubt that if Abubakar gets Gooden down early, he will have free reign over his opponent.

Predicted Result: Nurmagomedov Submission Round 3

A horribly boring decision victory for Abubakar is probably the safest call, but Gooden’s work off his back is less than inspiring. Abubakar is ridiculously robotic on the feet and will be cracked hard if he overstays his welcome, but Gooden’s leaky takedown defence should prove more than simple for Abubakar to snatch a leg and grind out the clock.

Result: Nurmagomedov def. Gooden // Decision (unanimous – 30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Light Heavyweight (205)

Modestas Bukauskas (11-3) vs Michal Oleksiejczuk (14-4)

Bukauskas is an exciting fighter to watch despite his biscuit chin and complete lack of grappling. A tall, rangey striker, Bukauskas tags opponents from distance with straight shots – especially a snapping jab. Unfortunately, Bukauskas tends to stay in range after firing as well as keeping his head on the centre line. While his lateral movement on the outside is tricky for opponents to keep on top of, attempting to take off Bukauskas’ head when he lingers in the pocket is the best time to profit.

Michal Oleksiejczuk hasn’t exactly set the UFC Light Heavyweight apart since her entrance in 2017. Victories over Gian Villante and Gadzhimurad Antigulov age like spoiled milk over time, his losses to Jimmy Crute and OSP were emphatic stoppages. Ridiculously small for the weight means Oleksiejczuk struggles against opponent’s aiming to wrestle, but he will be to employ his scrappy volume striking against Bukauskas.

Predicted Result: Bukauskas TKO Round 2

Bit of a toss-up between two stylistically different strikers, but Oleksiejczuk’s size disadvantage and lack of leg kicks will leave him chasing Bukauskas for long stretches of the fight. While Bukauskas’ chin is open for the taking when he eventually falls into his combinations, the Lithuanian’s liquid snappy jab will slow the relentless opening aggression from Oleksiejczuk. Can’t expect much grappling out of either of these men though.

Result: Oleksiejczuk def. Bukauskas // Decision (split – 28-29, 29-28, 29-28)

Winner ❌ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Featherweight (145)

Shane Young (13-5) vs Omar Morales (10-1)

A pressure fighter, Shane Young consistently advances on the front foot and aims to break opponents through relentless pressure. Although lacking in power, Young can move opponents around the octagon by effectively cutting off the ring. Young’s striking defence is pretty garbage though, and he lacks any dynamite power to gain much respect from better opposition.

It will be interesting to see how Morales can bounce back after his first career loss against Giga Chikadze. Utterly dismantled on the feet by the classy kickboxer, Morales was lost at sea in the striking exchanges and failed to engage in grinding grappling affairs that has found him much success before.

Predicted Result: Morales Decision

Both men like to pressure off of the front foot, but Morales possesses a more diverse striking arsenal and a vicious head kick that will eventually land for a highlight reel. In a somewhat pure striking affair, as to be expected, Morales has the speed advantage to make Young pay.

Result: Morales def. Young // Decision (unanimous – 30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

Middleweight (185)

Abu Azaitar (14-2-1) vs Marc-Andre Barriault (11-4)

Abu Azaitar fights like Ottoman but without the stunning knockout power. Rushing into striking range with wild hooks, Azaitar at least targets the body and breaks his opponent’s guard. Off the front-foot, Azaitar finds success from being a wild man, but his back-foot work is almost none existent. Worse yet, Azaitar is wide open to takedowns during his aggressive barrages.

Barriault seemed to have broken his three-fight slide with a second-round TKO over fellow Middleweight struggler, Oskar Piechota, but eventually tested positive for ostarine. A more educated pressure fighter, Barriault is open to punishment but he seeks to push fighters to the cage from where he can land his dirty boxing.

Predicted Result: Azaitar Decision

Barriault can win this if he uses his weight/size advantage to pressure Azaitar against the cage and bust him up with his excellent dirty boxing. Azaitar’s reckless bursts of wild hooks, however, will find great success against Barriault as the Canadian’s striking defence is almost as none existent as his counterpart.

Result: Barriault def. Azaitar // TKO (punches) Round 3 4:56

Winner ❌ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Prediction Accuracy

UFC 260

Winner: 7/10

Method: 2/10

Round: 3/10

2021 MMA Season

Winner: 73/123

Method: 63/123

Round: 61/123

MMA Overall

Winner: 264/427

Method: 200/427

Round: 187/427

Takeaway comments: Perhaps the last we see of two elite, former champions. Thank you for everything Stipe and Tyron.

Tipping Jar

Pintsized Interests is just a baby finding its first steps in the big, bad world of sports journalism. If you enjoy the content that is regularly uploaded then please consider donating via the link below. Any amount is greatly appreciated, and will go towards ensuring the survival of Pintsized Interests in the long-term.

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Leave a Reply

Related Stories