At UFC 260 Stipe Miocic defends his UFC heavyweight title in a rematch against the heavy-hitting Francis Ngannou at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. It will be a return bout between the man who is widely recognized as the greatest heavyweight in UFC history squaring off with a familiar foe who only needs one punch to alter the course of the division.
A lot has changed since they last met in January 2018. Miocic has faced only one opponent in Daniel Cormier — Miocic bounced back after being knocked out to regain his title with a knockout of his own in the rematch, and followed that up with a unanimous decision victory to send Cormier into retirement.
As for Ngannou, he had his entire existence in MMA questioned following the Miocic loss with a gun-shy performance that saw him drop a decision to Derrick Lewis. Since then, there has been a return to form for “The Predator” as Ngannou has laid waste to four straight opponents in Curtis Blaydes, Cain Velasquez, Junior dos Santos and Jairzinho Rozenstruik. All four fights ended by knockout and none went longer than 75 seconds.
Has Ngannou added a few wrinkles to his game or will Miocic pick the giant apart as he did in their first meeting?
Here are the betting odds to help you with your selection.
All odds courtesy of FanDuel.
Stipe Miocic vs. Francis Ngannou 2 odds
- Stipe Miocic: -102
- Francis Ngannou: -120
- Draw: +5000
Despite the fact that Miocic owns a victory over Ngannou, the champion once again enters the fight as a slight underdog. Miocic is at a -102, which means a wager of $102 would return $100. Ngannou, although he was dominated in the first meeting, is the favorite at -120. A bet of $120 would need to be made in order to see a return of $100. There isn’t much distance between the two according to oddsmakers, which makes this a toss-up fight, and one that probably isn’t worth betting straight up as a large bet would need to be made before a bettor could see a substantial return. Instead, there are prop bets that could yield a far more significant return.
Stipe Miocic vs. Francis Ngannou 2 prop bets
- Miocic by (T)KO: +210
- Miocic by Submission: +2100
- Miocic by Decision: +420
- Ngannou by (T)KO: +100
- Ngannou by Submission: +3400
- Ngannou by Decision: +1300
The idea of either fighter winning by submission is absurd as stated by the odds. To the disbelief of many, it is Ngannou who actually has one submission while Miocic has never won a single fight by submission in his MMA career. Those can both be disregarded. However, there are two scenarios that are more likely, and that is Ngannou by (T)KO and Miocic by decision.
If the first fight is used as a template, Miocic could deploy the exact same strategy and dare Ngannou to stop him. The champion used his strikes to set up takedowns in an effort to sap Ngannou’s energy. The strategy worked as it frustrated and left The Predator unable to land with his massive power to score the knockout. Since then, Ngannou hasn’t spent a whole lot of time in the Octagon to show that he can last beyond the first round. His decision loss to Derrick Lewis saw a fighter who was unwilling to exchange. He shook that fight off and obliterated his next four opponents in under a round. Does that mean he learned anything that would give him an advantage in the rematch? It’s unlikely, so the smart money for Miocic would be winning by decision at +420. A $100 bet would earn $520, which is a $420 profit.
There is truly only one path to victory for Ngannou, and that is by knockout. He has 25 minutes to pull it off. Given his power and that he is aware of what the champion will likely do in the rematch, everything points to the challenger being more patient to set up the perfect shot. Considering how his last four fights played out, there’s a reason why Ngannou by (T)KO is only a +100. A $100 bet would return $200, which is a $100 profit.
Which way should you go? Miocic has been stopped by a far lesser striker in Daniel Cormier but has shown the technical ability to stay out of harm’s way when needed. Ngannou will know what is coming, but it’s hard to believe that he’s improved that much in three years to turn things around. Then again, when it only takes a lapse in judgment by Miocic to see Ngannou detonate one of those bombs, it’s easier to side with the challenger as he has 25 minutes to pull off the feat. The smart money here is to take Ngannou by (T)KO as he should be smarter with his gameplan and will send Miocic packing at some point in the fight.
Sporting News Pick: Francis Ngannou by (T)KO