There’s a heavyweight title clash at UFC 260 on Saturday night in Nevada, with Francis Ngannou aiming to steal Stipe Miocic’s crown.
The headline clash will be broadcast live from the Octogon on BT Sport 2 at around 6am on Sunday morning UK time.
The pair previously went toe-to-toe in January 2018, with Miocic dominating Ngannou for five rounds and winning by unanimous decision as he defended his heavyweight title for a record third successive bout.
Miocic v Ngannou Offer from Bet365 tonight:
Ngannou is 8/11 to inflict revenge by beating Miocic and become heavyweight champion for the first time, with Miocic 11/10 to defend his title.
Ahead of their previous fight, Miocic made it clear that he had felt disrespected by the amount of promotion and support (or lack thereof) he had received from UFC compared to Ngannou.
The 38-year-old may not take too kindly to being billed as the underdog once again, then, despite currently ranking as the third best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport.
However, Ngannou once landed the hardest recorded punch in UFC history, and has the capabilities to knockout any opponent with his phenomenal right hook.
Indeed, he is EVENS (Sky Bet) to win by TKO/KO via punches, compared to 9/4 for Miocic, illustrating his more conventional power.
The 34-year-old believes he has learned a lot since his loss to Miocic, too:
“For the first [Miocic] fight, I think I rushed the first round. Now I’m like, ‘Damn, I had five rounds. Why should I run and rush out of gas?’
“I watch that fight, I see the guy look like me, but I don’t recognise myself because it’s not the way that I fight.
“I look back at other fights and it’s like watching two different persons. The way that I used to fight, I was calm, I’d push the fight and let myself get into it. But this one I just rushed in there, so I’m like, I should have calmed down.”
To his credit, Miocic acknowledged his opponent’s improvement since 2018, but stressed that he has improved as a fighter, too:
“It won’t be nothing like the first fight because he’s definitely gotten better and so have I. A lot of things are going to change.
“I’m trying to make it a more one-sided fight, and of course try to end it early, but he’s gotten better. The man hits hard and it’s the heavyweight division so of course anything can happen.
“I think whoever implements their game plan the best is going to win. I think I’m a bad matchup for anyone.”
Given that Miocic has won eight of his last nine fights, it’s tough to disagree with him (and who would want to?!).
Clearly, judging both fighters’ comments and their more recent fights, Miocic is likely to be the aggressor in the fight, with him rated an odds-on 4/6 shot to land more significant strikes during the clash.
Whoever proves to be the winner, though, it’s sure to be one hell of a fight.
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