There’s a new king of the UFC heavyweight division, and he’s a monster named Francis Ngannou.
Ngannou became the champion — and avenged his 2018 decision loss to Stipe Miocic — with a devastating second-round knockout of Miocic on Saturday night in the main event of UFC 260 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
The rematch showcased a far more poised version of “The Predator.” He picked his spots, deployed some leg kicks and demonstrated improved takedown defense against the man widely recognized as the greatest heavyweight in UFC history. Miocic saw a completely different fighter this time around and wore the confusion on his face as he struggled to find a way inside during the opening round.
After absorbing a few leg kicks, Miocic attempted to duck under Ngannou and secure a takedown. But in a new development, Ngannou sprawled, got Miocic’s back and unleashed a barrage of strikes. To Miocic’s credit, he survived the onslaught and made it into the next round.
Unlike in the first fight, Ngannou’s conservative approach Saturday allowed him to enter the second round with more energy, which in turn allowed him to maintain the pressure. Miocic followed Ngannou and found himself on the wrong end of a sharp jab that put him down against the fence. Miocic bounced up and landed a huge punch that he wrongfully assumed had Ngannou in trouble. Instead, Ngannou held his ground, fired a left hand that caught Miocic flush and put him down and out at 52 seconds of the round.
The victory is the fifth in a row for Ngannou, who has yet to need a judge’s scorecard for any of his wins. But there is already a new challenger on the horizon: Jon Jones, arguably the greatest mixed martial artist of all time, is moving up to heavyweight, and he laid down his challenge shortly after the knockout.
Jones tweeted, and then deleted, “Let’s play.” After that, he tweeted a condition for making the fight.
The new champion was informed of the tweet, and then made it clear that he’s the man and is ready for whomever is put in front of him, especially Jones.
“It’s a challenge that I’ll take and a very good fight on my resume,” Ngannou said. “He’s the challenger, I am the champion, so he’s looking for me. I’m ready to fight in July and August. Let’s do it.”
Here’s how it all went down at UFC 260.
Stipe Miocic vs. Francis Ngannou 2 live updates, highlights from UFC 260
(All times Eastern)
Round 2 (12:20 a.m.): Miocic can’t find a way in. Ngannou lands a left hand. Miocic is inching closer and Ngannou smashes him with a left hand a few follow-up strikes. Ngannou NUKES him with a left hand. Miocic is laid completely out. It’s over. New champ!
Round 1 (12:14 a.m.): Leg kick by Ngannou to start. Body shot follows. A right hand by Ngannou landed and Miocic barely flinched. What? Miocic goes for a takedown and Ngannou stuffs it. Takes Miocic’s back and blitzes him with strikes. Miocic survives the assault. Head kick by Ngannou? What is going on here? Miocic looks confused and can’t find an entry point. Miocic lands a leg kick. Ngannou returns fire with a leg kick of his own. 10-9, Ngannou
11:57 p.m.: The main event is up now: Stipe Miocic will defend his title against Francis Ngannou. Has the challenger figured out how to stop the takedown and conserve his energy, or will Miocic dominate him again?
11:45 p.m.: This might be the end of Tyron Woodley’s UFC career after he was submitted by Vicente Luque in the first round. The former champion opened the fight by throwing caution to the wind and letting his hands go. Woodley rocked Luque with a right hand but Luque obliterated his equilibrium with a right hand behind the ear. After pouring on the punishment, Luque sank in a D’arce choke and got the submission.
11:33 p.m.: It’s likely win or go home for Tyron Woodley as the former welterweight champion looks to end a three-fight losing streak against Vincente Luque. Woodley has lost to Kamaru Usman, Gilbert Burns and Colby Covington in succession after holding the welterweight title from 2016-19. Can he regain his form, or will Luque prove that he’s worthy of being in the title conversation?
11:28 p.m.: Sean O’Malley put together a fantastic performance to earn a third-round knockout of Thomas Almeida. O’Malley made the mistake of thinking he had a walk-off knockout in the first with a head kick. Almeida recovered and remained in the fight, offering a competitive second round. But O’Malley’s speed and creative technique were simply too much. A short left hand dropped Almeida in the third and O’Malley nearly earned the walk-off again but this time returned to the scene of the crime to finish the job with a vicious right hand.
11 p.m.: Up next, one of the hottest prospects in the bantamweight division will face a fighter who was once recognized as the fastest-rising star of the division when Sean O’Malley faces Thomas Almeida in a fight that few expect to go the distance.
10:56 p.m.: Miranda Maverick will likely find herself in the flyweight rankings after a dominant unanimous decision victory over Gillian Robertson. Maverick was simply too powerful. She utilized excellent striking and overcame adversity in the second round to earn the best victory of her career. The sky is the limit for her.
10:26 p.m: Gillian Robertson vs. Miranda Maverick in a women’s flyweight bout is up next. This fight was bumped up to the main card after Alexander Volkanovski was diagnosed with COVID-19 and removed from his featherweight title bout against Brian Ortega.
10:22 p.m.: Well, that’s how you get things started. Jamie Mullarkey obliterated Khama Worthy in just 46 seconds with a perfectly placed left hook. It was beautiful. It was brutal. It’s just what we needed after a sleepy prelim.
10 p.m: Welcome to Sporting News’ live coverage of UFC 260. The main card is about to begin. What did you miss in the prelims? Not much. Aside from Alonzo Menifield scoring the fourth Von Flue choke in UFC history in his victory against Fabio Cherant, there wasn’t much to see. Hopefully, things change with the main card.
Miocic vs. Ngannou 2 start time
- Early prelims: 7:30 p.m. ET
- Prelims: 8p.m.ET
- PPV main card: 10 p.m. ET
Broadcast coverage of UFC 260 will begin with the UFC Fight Pass prelims at 7:30 p.m. ET followed by the prelims at 8 p.m. ET. The pay-per-view event is set to begin at 10 p.m. ET. Miocic and Ngannou are expected to hit the Octagon about 12:15 a.m. ET, although the exact time depends on the length of earlier fights.
How to watch Stipe Miocic vs. Francis Ngannou 2 on PPV
The entire UFC 260 card, including the PPV main card, is available in the U.S. on the ESPN+ subscription streaming service.
Earlier fights, however, are also viewable live on ESPN and the Watch ESPN app and, for the early prelims, on UFC Fight Pass.
In Canada, the main card pay-per-view is available on Bell, Rogers, Shaw, SaskTel, Videotron, Telus, Eastlink and UFC PPV on UFC Fight Pass. Prelims are on TSN and RDS.
UFC 260 fight card
Main card (ESPN+ PPV)
- Francis Ngannou def. Stipe Miocic (c) via 2nd-round KO (:52), for Miocic’s UFC heavyweight championship
- Vicente Luque def. Tyron Woodley via 1st-round submission (3:56).
- Sean O’Malley def. Thomas Almeida via 3rd-round KO (3:52).
- Miranda Maverick def. Gillian Robertson via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).
- Jamie Mullarkey def. Khama Worth via 1st-round KO (:46).
Preliminary card (ESPN/ESPN+)
- Alonzo Menifield def. Fabio Cherant via 1st-round submission (1:11).
- Abubakar Nurmagomedov def. Jared Gooden via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
- Michał Oleksiejczuk def. Modestas Bukauskas via split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29).
- Omar Morales def. Shane Young via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Early Prelims (ESPN+/UFC Fight Pass)
- Marc-André Barriault def. Abu Azaitar via 3rd-round TKO (4:56).