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UFC 220: Francis Ngannou, ‘Fighter to Watch’ tonight in Boston

UFC 218: Overeem v Ngannou Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Francis Ngannou will have a prime opportunity to break into superstardom later tonight (Sat., Jan. 20, 2018) at UFC 220 live on pay-per-view (PPV) from inside TD Garden in Boston, Mass., when he takes on UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic.

While UFC won’t tell you that it’s hoping for a Ngannou win, the promotion leading up to UFC 220 this weekend sure makes you believe they’re pulling for “Predator.” After all, Ngannou is a hulking heavyweight with legendary punching power, is coming off one of the greatest knockouts of all time over Alistair Overeem at UFC 218, and is a true rags to riches story.

Not to mention the Cameroon native has finished all six of his Octagon appearances, including four straight in the first round.

With the backing of UFC, Ngannou is on the cusp of becoming the next big star in mixed martial arts (MMA). His divisional momentum, confidence, physicality, and ability to instill fear into his opponents has never been greater. All Ngannou has to do in order to put the pieces in place is to get through one man this weekend in Boston.

That may be easier said than done, though, especially considering Miocic is aiming to break history at UFC 220 with his third-straight heavyweight title defense. Immortality is at the champ’s fingertips and he has shown in the past the ability to rise to the occasion, overcome adversity, and cash in when it matters most. That’s why Miocic has finished his last four bouts via first-round knockout, and why he’s not scared to test his skills against a menacing dynamo like Ngannou.

With that said, Ngannou is capable of turning the lights out on any heavyweight in the world. We haven’t seen much outside of his monstrous striking game so it will be interesting to see how Ngannou deals with Miocic’s wrestling and high motor. All signs point to Ngannou being able to power through most of that stuff, but it remains somewhat of a mystery entering his biggest UFC fight to date.

If Ngannou is able to snatch the title from Miocic at UFC 220 then 2018 may be the year of “The Predator.” With the return of Conor McGregor in limbo, UFC needs a bona fide heavyweight superstar to help lead the way. We will find out one way or another if Ngannou is in fact that man. will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 220 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET.

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