Stipe Miocic retained the UFC heavyweight title with a tactical, professional effort opposite hyped challenger Francis Ngannou in the main event of UFC 220 on Saturday night in Boston. "I got the job done, so I'm the UFC champion again".
While there's not a dearth of power punchers in the Heavyweight division of the UFC, there's something particularly devastating about the way the Cameroon-born Ngannou goes about his business.
With Jones once again running afoul of USADA and former title challenger Alexander Gustafsson sidelined following shoulder surgery, Oezdemir was tabbed to challenge the reinstated Cormier for the title.
With a touch of the gloves, the two hulking warriors met in the center of the Octagon. Miocic fired a quick leg kick. With Ngannou in no position to throw any offense, Miocic rode out the clock by pinning him against the fence. Ngannou fired back with a right.
He comes into this one as a slight underdog, largely due to the push given to Ngannou, but those in the know point to his superior experience and more well-rounded skill set. He landed a left hand followed by a jab. And while he was exhausted, his punches still had dynamite on them, leading Miocic to score another takedown. In his most recent fight, at UFC 211, Miocic had a chance to get some payback on Junior dos Santos, the last fighter to beat him.
The writing looked to be on the wall at the beginning of round three as Ngannou looked laboured getting off his stool. But the rest of the way was a takedown clinic by Miocic.
With the crowd on their feet, both fighters walked out for another round.
One of the most impressive knockout artists seen in quite some time, Ngannou uses his size and strength to his advantage by controlling distance, and opponents who find themselves in his range tend to not remain standing for too long.
Say that to the challenger for the belt this weekend, Francis Ngannou, and he'll say "Don't lie, Stipe". Ngannou fired a punch back but continued to show signs of exhaustion. After more stalling, Miocic uncorked a knee to the liver of Ngannou. Clinching back up, Miocic finally managed to secure the takedown against the fence. He worked to isolate Ngannou's arm, then tried elbows.