UFC 260 Fight Card: PPV Schedule, Odds, Predictions for Miocic vs. Ngannou 2
Outside of a fight involving Jon Jones, a rematch between Stipe Miocic and Francis Ngannou is the biggest heavyweight fight the UFC can make. Fans will finally get to see the two run it back in the main event of UFC 260 from the Apex Facility in Las Vegas on Saturday.
Miocic is the most accomplished UFC champion of all time. Ngannou is one of the most lethal knockout artists in the game. Miocic is the only one to have neutralized him. Outside of a bizarre loss to Derrick Lewis, Ngannou has mowed over everyone else in his path.
Something has got to give, and there's a lot to love about the fight.
The question of whether Miocic can repeat his game plan from the first fight is among the biggest that will be answered at the event. Here's a breakdown of that question and more as we take one last look at Saturday's card.
Fight Card, Schedule and Odds
Main Card (ESPN+ PPV at 10 p.m. ET)
- Stipe Miocic (c) +115 (bet $100 to win $110) vs. Francis Ngannou -143 (heavyweight championship fight)
- Tyron Woodley +190 vs. Vicente Luque -240
- Sean O'Malley -335 vs. Thomas Almeida +250
- Gillian Robertson +134 vs. Miranda Maverick -167
- Jamie Mullarkey +100 vs. Khama Worthy -130
Prelims (ESPN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET)
- Alonzo Menifield -286 vs. Fabio Cherant +220
- Jared Gooden +195 vs. Abubakar Nurmagomedov -250
- Modestas Bukauskas +135 vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk -167
- Shane Young +160 vs. Omar Morales -215
Early Prelims (UFC Fight Pass at 7:30 p.m. ET)
- Marc-Andre Barriault -113 vs. Abu Azaitar -113
Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.
Can Miocic Repeat His Success Against Ngannou?
Francis Ngannou has run right through everyone he has fought in the UFC except for two men: Stipe Miocic and Derrick Lewis. The Lewis fight was a bizarre encounter in which two men known for flattening opponents engaged in a prolonged staring contest.
Miocic, on the other hand, had a great game plan against Ngannou and executed it to perfection. As a way of negating his opponent's prodigious power, Miocic went to work right away with his wrestling, attempting multiple takedowns and dragging the challenger to the mat twice in each of the first two rounds.
Fending off takedowns isn't something Ngannou has had to do often—let alone defending them for multiple rounds. As the fight wore on, it became clear that Miocic was the more well-rounded fighter.
With the rematch on the horizon, there isn't a ton of reason to believe that has changed. Ngannou is once again destroying opponents, but he's still doing it in less time than it takes for him to be challenged. He nuked Cain Velasquez and Curtis Blaydes before either could even test his grappling.
Miocic has survived the power before. He won't be intimidated by The Predator's prowess. And that means Ngannou is going to have to find a way to create space to uncork that massive right hand.
It's possible it happens. It's always possible Ngannou wins in under a minute any time he fights. But that's not the pick here. Miocic has been criminally underrated throughout his reign as champ, and he has the opportunity to remind people of that Saturday night.
Prediction: Miocic via decision.
Is Tyron Woodley Shot?
Two years ago, you would have been hard-pressed to name many welterweights who would be even slight favorites against Tyron Woodley. In 2021, he's a massive underdog against Vicente Luque. Life comes at you fast.
Woodley has lost his mojo and lost it quickly. He's 38, and after losses to Kamaru Usman, Gilbert Burns and Colby Covington, it's fair to wonder whether this is it for the former champion.
But there's something to T-Wood's deterioration in those fights that makes his bout against Luque especially interesting. His decline doesn't seem to be physical but rather one of aggression and mental fortitude.
Woodley has long been a frustrating fighter in terms of pace, but he has outright refused to pull the trigger in his most recent fights. His game has been built on the ability to wrestle if he needs to and using that threat to open up opportunities for his crushing right hand.
If he continues to be noncommittal against Luque, it might be the last we see of him in the Octagon. But if he gets over that passive mentality, we could see a mini renaissance for him.
With his back against the wall and a slight step down in competition, we may see a glimpse of the man who once wore gold.
Prediction: Woodley via decision.
How Will O'Malley Respond to 1st Loss?
There are crucial questions and challenges that form an MMA fighter's journey. One of the biggest is how they respond after a loss.
In a sport that relies so much on confidence, it's an important skill to go from fight to fight believing in one's own ability to win. When Sean O'Malley meets Thomas Almeida in the cage Saturday, it will be the first time he will be fighting coming off a loss.
The 26-year-old suffered a first-round TKO and a foot injury in his most recent fight against Marlon "Chito" Vera. It was an upset loss that caused some damage to O'Malley's previously humming hype train.
In facing Thomas Almeida, he has the perfect chance to get things back on track. Almeida is a striker who isn't afraid to exchange power punches. He has 17 knockouts in his career but has suffered a few of his own.
If O'Malley is unfazed after his loss, this should be an opportunity for him to showcase his dynamic striking and pick up another finish. But if some doubt has crept in or still lingers, Almeida has the tools to make this fight interesting.
Prediction: O'Malley via first-round TKO.
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