Francis Ngannou’s hype train came to a halt at UFC 220, when the heavyweight title challenger found most of his offense neutralized by reigning champion Stipe Miocic in the main event at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.
Ngannou, 31, had moments of success in the opening two rounds but was unable to counter Miocic’s wrestling-heavy gameplan, which earned the champ a clear-cut unanimous decision win.
UFC commentator Joe Rogan, who spoke to both men in the post-fight interview, isn’t sure if ‘The Predator’ trained any grappling in the lead-up to UFC 220 and says that that kind of preparation is unacceptable in the modern era of mixed martial arts.
“Before, everyone was saying, ‘Oh my God, he’s in tremendous shape, everything is amazing,’” Rogan said on a recent episode of the JRE MMA Show podcast, per MMA Junkie. “Then afterwards it’s like, ‘Oh, he doesn’t train on the ground.’ What? He doesn’t train on the ground? They go, ‘All he wants to do is strike.’ You can’t let him do that. You can’t let him.
“He’s going to fight a Division-I wrestler,” he continued. “How is he going to do this? How is he going to stand up? He’s going to magically get up? You have to train it.”
Ngannou, who made his professional MMA debut in 2013, seemed to rely solely on his size and athleticism to counter Miocic’s takedowns.
But it wasn’t enough.
The Cameroonian didn’t know what to do once the fight hit the ground and admitted that he underestimated Stipe at the post-fight press conference. Despite his relative inexperience, Ngannou still troubled Miocic early on and was a threat for the entire five rounds.
The knockout artist said he learned a lot from UFC 220 and, with the right adjustments, could be a future heavyweight champion.
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