On Saturday, the UFC 260 main card is getting underway at 10:00 p.m. ET from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada. UFC 260 started out as a huge card with two title fights, but we lost multiple fights due to COVID-19 protocols. The most notable loss was the co-main event, which was supposed to be a title fight between Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega. The good news is that we still have a seismic main event, as Stipe Miocic faces Francis Ngannou for the UFC Heavyweight Championship in one of the most highly anticipated fights of the year.
DraftKings is hosting a big UFC 260 fantasy MMA tournament that pays out $600K in guaranteed prizes, including $150,000 to first place. The fantasy MMA contest locks at 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday. Set your DraftKings fantasy MMA lineups here: MMA $600K 260 Special [$150K to 1st].
Notable DraftKings Sportsbook betting odds
- Favorite Francis Ngannou (-121) vs. underdog Stipe Miocic (+102)
- Francis Ngannou by KO, TKO or DQ (+100)
- Stipe Miocic by KO, TKO or DQ (+210)
- Stipe Miocic by Decision (+400)
- Francis Ngannou by Decision (+1200)
- Stipe Miocic by Submission (+1400)
- Francis Ngannou by Submission (+2000)
- Tie (+8000)
- Francis Ngannou: Yes (-106), No (-130)
- Stipe Miocic: Yes (+185), No (-265)
Get a 26% profit boost on DraftKings Sportsbook for UFC 260! See the DraftKings Sportsbook Promos page for more details!
Stipe Miocic (c) vs. Francis Ngannou
Francis Ngannou is probably the most terrifying power puncher in MMA history. Ngannou routinely obliterates opponents due to his ridiculous punching power combined with his long, bionic arms. Ngannou has a massive 83-inch reach, which is one of the longest in the entire organization and much longer than the average heavyweight reach of about 77 inches. Ngannou’s arms make him a finishing machine. Ngannou has an absurd 100% finish rate for all of his wins and has knocked out all four of his most recent opponents within 75 seconds. This type of destruction is extremely rare at the highest level of the sport.
Ngannou is not a particularly accurate striker, landing only about 37% of his significant strike attempts. Even in Ngannou’s most recent win over Jairzinho Rozenstruik, he was swinging rather wildly, but he punches so hard that it covers up for inefficient striking—if he touches your chin once with anything near full force, there’s a good chance you’re getting stopped.
Stipe Miocic has the best resume among all heavyweights in UFC history, which goes back to when the division was first created in 1997. Miocic ranks first in title fight wins with six and has the UFC heavyweight record for most consecutive title defenses in a row. Fedor Emelianenko—who went undefeated for nearly a decade fighting in the PRIDE FC promotion in Japan—still has the best resume among heavyweights in the history of the sport, but Miocic’s UFC success has not been matched in the heavyweight division.
Miocic and Ngannou fought previously at UFC 220 in January 2018. Miocic won the fight using elite and brilliant technique that had Ngannou gassed by the second round. Miocic’s feints and head movement often left Ngannou swinging at air, which can be demoralizing and draining when throwing full-force punches. Ngannou landed just 19 of his 105 distance strikes in the fight, which is extremely inefficient. Miocic timed Ngannou’s misses to land some good distance strikes of his own and ended up landing 37 of his 52 distance strikes, which is highly accurate output.
Miocic’s supremely timed takedowns also put Ngannou in positions that both limited Ngannou’s offense and drained his gas tank. Miocic generated a heavy 15 minutes of control time in the fight and finished six of his takedown attempts. Miocic attempted a heavy 14 total takedowns to keep the grappling pressure on Ngannou. By forcing Ngannou to frequently grapple, Miocic attacked the weakest part of Ngannou’s game and neutralized Ngannou’s best weapon, which is his power striking from distance.
Miocic is the more technical fighter—Miocic has better wrestling, better ground grappling, more technical striking, and a better gas tank. Despite all that, there’s a good chance Ngannou avenges his loss and walks out of UFC 260 with the belt.
For one, Miocic is getting old and has a lot of mileage on his body. Miocic is 38 years old and has had three battles with Daniel Cormier since he last fought Ngannou at UFC 220 three years ago. In that time frame, Miocic got knocked out by Cormier once, took a beating vs. Cormier in the rematch for half of the fight before landing a fight-changing liver punch that ultimately led to a fourth-round knockout, and went another 25 minutes with Cormier in a decision win last August. Ngannou barely missed with some of his power punches in the first fight, and if Miocic has slowed down at all since then, that could be all Ngannou needs to land the finishing blow that has turned the lights out on so many of his other opponents.
Ngannou’s skills also should have improved since their first fight. It’s been 38 months since then, and Ngannou has had plenty of time to prepare to counter what Miocic did to him in the first fight. It’s usually harder to beat someone in a rematch because you generally have to find a new way to win—the opponent will be preparing for the exact way he lost the first time around. Ngannou should be better prepared for Miocic’s feints and wrestling, and a more reserved game plan could be in store here for Ngannou where he doesn’t fall for Miocic’s feints and times Miocic inside his range more effectively.
All that said, Miocic cannot be counted out because he has better technique and more overall skill. Miocic will have more ways to win due to his well-rounded skill set, and he has the power in his hands to hurt Ngannou on the feet. It’s tiny four-ounce gloves, after all, and the power in the heavyweight division can result in one-punch knockouts. It’s entirely possible that Miocic works Ngannou over again in the wrestling department and gasses Ngannou out, which allows him to either win another decision or finish an exhausted Ngannou late in the fight.
Ultimately, Ngannou’s unparalleled punching power and potential lessons from the first fight give him the edge in the rematch for me. The Ngannou moneyline (-121), Ngannou by finish (-106) and Ngannou by KO, TKO or DQ (+100) are all potential considerations, with the moneyline casting the widest net.
Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is timfinn521) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.
21+ (18+ NH). CO/IL/IN/IA/NH/NJ/PA/TN/VA/WV/MI only. Eligibility restrictions apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for full terms and conditions.