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Midnight Mania! Francis Ngannou brings in Kamaru Usman as cornerman for Stipe Miocic title fight

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Welcome to Midnight Mania!

Francis Ngannou is getting close to his second title shot, a main event showdown opposite Stipe Miocic at UFC 260 next weekend (Sat. March 27, 2021) at UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada. The first time those two battled back in January 2018, Miocic scored a clear-cut decision victory, wrangling his powerful opponent to the mat for the majority of five rounds.

In order to avoid a repeat performance, Ngannou has made his intentions clear of coming in more measured, in better shape, and with more wrestling training. On his Fight Camp vlog, Ngannou revealed an ace in the hole for his wrestling defense: Welterweight kingpin Kamaru Usman.

“Yeah, so Kamaru Usman’s gonna be in my corner for this fight. So it’s good having him here, helping me out for the fight, by this time you need everything,” Ngannou said (transcription via BJPenn.com). “Basically, he is gonna be in my corner and it’s good for him to train where I am and to bring his own asset into the game. This is a very decisive moment leading up to the fight so it is very important to engage with him. He’s gonna be in my corner basically helping me with my wrestling, which is great. So yeah, it’s good.”

Will having “The Nigerian Nightmare” in his corner prove a difference-maker, or will Stipe Miocic remind fight fans (and odds makers) of his continued greatness?

Insomnia

Petr Yan may have suffered his first loss inside the Octagon, but “No Mercy” remains undefeated on Twitter.

Josh Emmett does not yet have a return bout scheduled after his ACL surgery, but the man is looking CRISPY on mitts.

Derrick Lewis has PIPES!

Will any of the Welterweight elites please, please fight each other?

It’s not usual that Alistair Overeem is made to look small.

UFC are the ultimate opportunists.

Slips, rips, and KO clips

On occasion, looks can be deceiving. More often in the cage, first impressions are accurate! Specific example: I still remember looking at Paulo Costa in his debut vs. Gareth Mclellan and being incredibly confident solely due to the physical difference in size and strength.

The two techniques didn’t really have much to do with one another, but rolling thunder to triangle choke is still a legendary combo.

This triangle didn’t work out quite so well. It’s imperative for the bottom fighter to either 1) hook the leg 2) let go or 3) maintain body tension so he doesn’t land head first!

Random Land

Praise be to avocados.

Midnight Music: My buddy recommended I check out Eric Burdon’s work outside of his famous early ‘60s recordings with The Animals, so here’s one such track:

Sleep well Maniacs! More martial arts madness is always on the way.