UFC 260 concluded in Las Vegas, the main event of which was a rematch between Stipe Miocic and Francis Ngannou. The first fight took place in 2018: then Miocic won by unanimous decision of the judges, defending the heavy division title.
This time the fight didn’t last even 6 minutes: Ngannou confidently took the first round, stopping Miocic’s attempted touchdown and outboxing the champion in the counter.
In January 2018, Stipe Miocic defeated Francis Ngannou without much trouble. He survived the first round and then knit, fought and won by unanimous decision of the judges. Ngannou then lost by decision to Derrick Lewis, having had a completely ugly fight: he was afraid to get within striking distance of the knockout Lewis and as a result almost never attacked. But then Ngannou began to improve again: he won four fights in 2 minutes and 42 seconds in total! And these were all top fighters: Curtis Blades, Kane Velasquez, Junior Dos Santos, Jairzinho Rosenstruyk.
Miocic, on the other hand, after his fight with Ngannou, had three fights, all against Daniel Cormier. In the first fight he lost by knockout, in the second one he won with a huge effort (TKO), in the third one he won quite confidently (unanimous decision).
Despite the progress of the Cameroonian, the opinion that the rematch would turn out the same way as the first fight was quite widespread. In the first round, however, it became clear that things would be different. Miocic looked stiff, and his attempted takedown failed as Ngannou first covered him and then swiftly slid behind his back and started punching.
The American Croatian got up, but he missed a lot. And to miss at least one punch from Ngannou is probably the same as to miss a dozen punches from just a tough heavyweight. Francis had one more moment, which for some reason he didn’t develop – when he hit with a right overhand, then added a left side, but then went back. At the end of the round the African stopped – obviously to save energy.
The second round, however, lasted only 52 seconds. Ngannou showed a right jab and then hit a powerful left straight to the jaw. Miocic fell down, got up, and then missed some powerful punches at the net. A stunned Stipe broke free, made a few steps, stopped Ngannou with a right hook, then went forward and immediately came across a hook from the Cameroonian. Miocic collapsed unconscious, but Ngannou hit him again to be sure. It was unnecessary, but a lot of fighters have reflexes like that – it’s hard to do anything about it, it’s all automatic.
“I can’t even find the words to describe how I feel,” Ngannou said after the fight. – “I can’t even find the words to describe how I feel,” Ngannou said after the fight. “But it’s the same feeling that for years, ever since I was little, I couldn’t get it out of me – and now I can. I’ve proved it to everyone, to all the skeptics. I am on my way to greatness.
January 20, 2018 (the day of the first fight with Miocic) is the main day in my career, that’s when I gained the main experience. I don’t think I ultimately lost that fight, because that’s what led me to this result today. When I dropped him the first time and went at him, he definitely hit me with his right hand, and I heard my cornerbacks, Kamaru Usman yelling at me, “Calm down, don’t fly!” And I stepped back, gathered myself, and he made the mistake of going at me sharply, and I caught him.
Me and my team, my coaches Eric Nixick and Dewey Cooper, did a great job, watched video of his fights every day, my managers did a great job as well. Most importantly, I went into the fight relaxed and patient. Kamaru helped me emotionally, I knew he would help in that regard even before the fight. He’s my brother, now we have three champions from Africa, and hopefully we’ll have a UFC tournament in Africa.”
Ngannou’s next opponent will likely be former UFC bantamweight champion and one of the best fighters in MMA history, Jon Jones. “I think he’s the greatest of all time, and the fact that he’s moving up in weight is a big challenge for me. Absolutely ready for this fight. July-August, I’m ready,” Ngannou stated.