Francis Ngannou came into his bout with Heavyweight champion, Stipe Miocic, at UFC 220 tonight (Sat., Jan. 20, 2018) inside TD Garden in Boston, Mass., billed as the “next big, totally terrifying thing” thanks in large part to six straight finishes to start his career inside the Octagon ... most of them devastating knockouts. The Cameroonian left humbled, dropping a clear — and dominant decision — to one of the greatest UFC Heavyweight fighters of all time.
Ngannou opened the action with a left high kick that was blocked, which Miocic used to maneuver for a takedown. Ngannou exploded off the fence and landed a nice shot on the break, but he trapped Miocic along the fence and began to land some hard shots. Miocic tried to circle out of danger, but Ngannou was on him like white on rice. Miocic finally landed a nice cross in an exchange, which appeared to momentarily slow Ngannou’s attack. Ngannou was winging huge punches, pulling them from his hip, which Miocic was able to see coming and duck under. Miocic landed a real nice clean shot that appeared to hurt him a little bit, then he scored a thunderous takedown. Miocic move to side control and landed some nice elbows, then angled for a guillotine, which allowed Ngannou to scramble back to his feet. Miocic drilled him with a clean cross, then a takedown at the bell, as the crowd roared to its collective feet.
It was a powerful back-and-forth round.
To open the second stanza, Ngannou already had his hands on his hips, his mouth wide open. Miocic landed a nice low kick to start the action, but Ngannou countered with a left cross that snapped Miocic’s head back. Ngannou was just winging wild punches, giving Miocic an opening to crack him with a solid straight right hand. Ngannou was able to land a nice uppercut, compelling Miocic once again to get the fight back to the ground. The pair stalled along the fence — perhaps both taking a quick break — and Miocic basically laid on top of him and pestered him with short shots until the round ended.
Miocic started the third round with a takedown attempt, but Ngannou was able to fight it off. He eventually was able to throw him down to the floor and lean on him before Ngannou was able to finally stand up straight. Midway through the third round and Ngannou barely threw a punch — he was visibly exhausted. Finally, he unleashed a left hook that landed, once again compelling Miocic to get the fight on the ground. Miocic pinned him to the mat and drilled him with shot from half-guard, offering up very little in terms of defense. He ended the round on his back, with Miocic on top and softening up with elbows and punches.
In the championship rounds Miocic made his gameplan clear early: He was going to grind Ngannou and make him carry him for the final 10 minutes. He was also going to nail his mid-section with knees and his face with unanswered punches. Ngannou could barely peel himself off the canvas after the end of round four, a round in which he didn’t appear to land a single strike. He needed a Hail Mary knockout to pull out a come-from-behind victory, but it never came. Miocic was just too well-round, too game and too damn good to let that happen. Ngannou had his moments and opportunities early, but he literally had nothing left after the second round. Miocic — somehow an underdog coming into the fight — utterly dominated Ngannou en route to making UFC history, becoming the first-ever Heavyweight in the history of the promotion to successfully defend the belt three consecutive times.
And it couldn’t have happened to a better dude ... and bad ass (fire) fighter.
For complete UFC 220: “Miocic vs. Ngannou” results, including play-by-play updates, click here.