Miocic v Ngannou odds
The heavyweight belt is on the line in the main event of UFC 260 as Stipe Miocic defends his title against two-time challenger Francis Ngannou.
These two first met in January 2018 during Miocic’s first reign as champion, when Ngannou entered the fight as the betting favourite after steamrolling through the division with six straight finishes.
Miocic proved his class in Boston, though, as he shut down Ngannou’s threat on the feet with a clinic in technical striking and wrestling.
The Cleveland native has since underlined his status as one of, if not the greatest heavyweight in UFC history after bouncing back from a loss to Daniel Cormier by winning back the belt and then defending it, closing out the trilogy and seeing his opponent into retirement in the process.
Despite all this, Miocic will once again enter a title defence against Ngannou as betting underdog, priced at to retain his belt.
Ngannou followed up the loss in his first title fight with a hugely disappointing defeat by Derrick Lewis, but has since rediscovered his mojo to earn another shot.
The Predator has beaten four of the division’s finest – Curtis Blaydes, Cain Velasquez, Junior dos Santos and Jairzinho Rozenstruik – in his last four fights, all by first-round knockout.
He isn’t as big a favourite as he was for the first fight, but still heads to Vegas on Saturday at to become the new heavyweight king.
Miocic v Ngannou prediction
Ngannou is always going to rely on his heavy hands to finish fights – 11 of his 15 wins have come by knockout, and that is his most likely method of victory on Saturday.
But in order to get himself into the position to secure a finish this weekend, he will need to have seriously improved his wrestling.
Miocic was able to nullify Ngannou’s threat in their 2018 meeting by forcing him into the clinch and securing takedowns with ease. The challenger was simply unable to respond, and was too drained to mount a challenge in the later rounds.
Ngannou has switched teams since then, landing at Xtreme Couture in Vegas, where he will no doubt have been working heavily on his grappling skills.
The Cameroonian’s ability to end fights early makes it hard to see exactly what improvements he has made, but it does feel like he has matured as a fighter in the three years since his first title shot.
He is also likely to hold a significant weight advantage over Miocic, who clocked in at just 233lb for his last fight against Cormier. The champ will likely have bulked up a bit for this fight, but considering Ngannou regularly pushes the 265lb limit, he will be giving up a significant chunk. This should help Ngannou in any grappling exchanges.
There are also questions about Miocic’s chin. The 38-year-old was knocked out by Cormier and then rocked in both of his subsequent wins in that trilogy.
Should he get caught by Ngannou on Saturday, he isn’t likely to get back up. All it takes is one punch from The Predator.
Miocic has history in defying the odds – he’s done so in four of his title fights – but this feels like it could be Ngannou’s time.
Backing him to finish the fight with his trademark power looks a good bet, as does backing him to get things wrapped up early.
Ngannou to win by KO, TKO or disqualification
Ngannou to win in round 1 or 2
Visit Betway’s UFC betting page.