UFC 220: Miocic vs. Ngannou post-fight results and analysis

The theme of Saturday night’s title fights at UFC 220? To quote Daniel Cormier, there are levels to this game. Volkan Oezdemir found that…

By: Mookie Alexander | 6 years ago
UFC 220: Miocic vs. Ngannou post-fight results and analysis
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

The theme of Saturday night’s title fights at UFC 220? To quote Daniel Cormier, there are levels to this game. Volkan Oezdemir found that out in the co-main event, then Francis Ngannou did the same in the main event. After a wild opening round which saw Ngannou land some brutal (but often sloppy) power shots on the reigning heavyweight champion, Stipe Miocic just completely dominated his foe to win a very one-sided decision. If you bet on this fight going the distance, well done. There were plenty of unanswered questions concerning Ngannou, and it’s fair to say almost all of them were answered negatively, particularly his cardio and his ability to lead striking exchanges instead of working off the counter. Maybe the best thing I can think of is he has a phenomenal chin, and he somehow made it to the final round, although Miocic didn’t land enough damaging shots on the ground for Ngannou to be in serious danger of being stopped.

Ngannou is only five years into his MMA career, so this is a harsh learning experience for him. I’m sure we’re going to get the “hype train derailed” comments, and I already got a response on Twitter saying he’s Bob Sapp 2.0, but he’s still such a physical freak that he rocked Miocic in the 3rd round despite being totally exhausted. I’ll take the optimistic side and hope that he continues to get better and actually develop more skills, because it wasn’t hindsight to say Miocic was the more skilled fighter, but the gulf in class was evident.

Most importantly, Miocic is the most accomplished heavyweight in UFC history. The bar was set very low given no one had ever defended the title more than two consecutive times, but Miocic has set a new standard. He beat Fabricio Werdum in Brazil to win the title, then defended it against Alistair Overeem, Junior dos Santos (loss avenged), and Francis Ngannou. Miocic vs. Ngannou may have fizzled after, say, round 2, but Stipe is a fantastic fighter who should go down as one of the all-time greats at heavyweight. Well done to Mr. Miocic, and I can only hope that one day I’ll understand what he’s saying in his post-fight interviews.

More thoughts on tonight’s card:

Main Card

  • What’s next for Stipe? A Fabricio Werdum rematch is possible, and then there’s Cain Velasquez, who hasn’t fought since July 2016. I guess Alexander Volkov is also in the mix. Other than that, he’s basically cleaned out the division. Curtis Blaydes is the next best hope at heavyweight apart from Ngannou, and his fight with Mark Hunt will tell us more about his prospects. There’s also the ultimate elephant in the room: Jon Jones. Depending on the length of his USADA suspension, I’d rather stop beating around the bush and just do Miocic vs. Jones. It’d be a bigger fight than any other opponent I’ve listed.
  • Volkan Oezdemir no doubt made things interesting with his all-out aggression in round 1 against Daniel Cormier, but once he started to fade, Cormier took over. After Oezdemir’s early burst of offense failed to even wobble Cormier, it was DC who had the Swiss fighter hurt on the feet, and he nearly choked him out before the horn sounded to end the opening frame. Once he got the takedown in round 2, Oezdemir had zero chance, and Cormier pounded him out with a billion unanswered punches from the crucifix position. In case you’ve forgotten, Daniel Cormier is a damn good fighter and one of the greats in this sport.
  • An emotional Cormier considered this fight for the “vacant title” due to him losing to Jon Jones in their rematch, only for Jones’ drug test failure to render it a no-contest. Well he is the champion, and the tough part is finding a compelling matchup for him. I have to think that an Alexander Gustafsson rematch is the only other interesting bout for him at LHW, with Glover Teixeira a distant second behind Gus. Cormier has shown himself to be a cut above everyone not named Jon Jones, and slightly ahead of Gustafsson. Therefore, I want to see that rematch.
  • Calvin Kattar and Shane Burgos engaged in a truly back-and-forth battle. Kattar started out brilliantly, working behind a sharp jab, but Burgos charged back with some terrific body shots and a commitment to leg kicks. Then in round 3, Kattar cracked Burgos with a right hand, then an uppercut, and that spelled doom for Shane. A great win for Kattar to improve to 2-0 in the UFC, and hats off to both men for such a compelling contest.
  • Gian Villante took a split decision over Francimar Barroso. I struggle to see how anyone could score that for Barroso, but whatever. It was a good round 1 and then descended into the slow-paced, often sloppy mess that this fight was destined to be. I cannot believe the UFC put this on a pay-per-view main card.
  • Rob Font and Thomas Almeida predictably had an entertaining clash. Font got off to a good start in round 1, then Almeida took over the latter part of the opening frame, but in round 2 it was all Font, as he floored the Brazilian twice and got the TKO. A great performance by Font, and as much as I love Almeida, I think his ceiling is pretty defined, and he’s not going to be a contender. Six knockdowns in seven UFC fights is a major concern.

Preliminary Card

  • Kyle Bochniak won in front of his home fans, taking a unanimous decision over Contender Series signing Brandon Davis. I won’t lie, this was not a particularly good fight to watch, but it’s one that perhaps prevents Bochniak from getting that UFC pinkslip.
  • Abdul Razak Alhassan had a controversial TKO vs. Sabah Homasi last month at UFC 218, with Herb Dean intervening prematurely. While Homasi may have complaints over the referee’s early stand-up after a takedown, there’s no controversy about this ending. Alhassan just about detached Homasi’s head from the rest of his body with a crushing uppercut. That’s power for you.
  • Dustin Ortiz was in big trouble in round 1 with Alexandre Pantoja draped all over his back in search of a submission. In typical Ortiz fashion, he wore Pantoja down and took rounds 2 and 3 to rally for the decision win. I thought Pantoja was in shape to win round 3 almost entirely off of him controlling Ortiz’s back, but Ortiz finished the final frame strongly and showed why he’s such a tough opponent for any flyweight.
  • Julio Arce stopped all of Dan Ige’s takedowns, and expertly picked Ige apart with his boxing to earn a clear-cut decision victory. I liked Arce on Dana White’s Contender Series, and this was an impressive Octagon debut.
  • Enrique Barzola got the unanimous decision win over MMA veteran and UFC newcomer Matt Bessette. It was a competitive fight and Bessette did well on short notice, but Barzola’s takedowns and brutal leg kicks saw him through to another win.
  • Islam Makhachev kicked off the card by flattening Gleison Tibau with a wicked left hand in under a minute. Tibau’s return after his USADA suspension was definitely not what he’d hoped for, while Makhachev wants a top-15 opponent next, and he specifically called out Kevin Lee.
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Mookie Alexander
Mookie Alexander

Mookie is a former Associate Editor for Bloody Elbow, leaving in August 2022 after ten years as a member of the staff. He's still lurking behind the scenes.

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