Francis Ngannou didn’t just run over Stipe Miocic at UFC 260 the way he has everyone else... at least not right away. Miocic survived the first hard shot Ngannou landed on him — even ate a few shots on the ground after Ngannou took him down — but he couldn’t survive the second flurry that came in the second round. For good measure, Ngannou landed a follow up shot that sealed the beginning of Ngannou’s title reign.
Perhaps most impressive in Ngannou’s win was the ability to stuff Miocic’s lone takedown attempt. It was early when Ngannou was still fresh, indicating he has picked up some wrestling. It will likely be a different story should Ngannou go beyond the first round — his gas tank still hasn’t been proven since his first loss to Miocic — but he won’t have to worry about that if he can continue to blow through anyone.
His first challenge appears to be Jon Jones as the former light heavyweight kingpin called him out on Twitter. Ngannou appears ready to take up the challenge. If marketed right, it could be the biggest selling PPV in a while for the UFC.
While it was a bad night for Miocic, his legacy shouldn’t be hurt very much by the loss. He still has more title defenses in the division than anyone else and it isn’t out of the question that he could get a rubber match with Ngannou. Of course, it wouldn’t necessarily be a surprise to see him retire. We shall see....
- It may have been Tyron Woodley’s best performance since losing the welterweight title, but it wasn’t enough. Vicente Luque eventually landed a heavy shot in the middle of the cage that had Woodley stanky legged. To Woodley’s credit, he hung in there as long as he could, throwing heavy leather back, but Luque locked in a d’arce choke and elicited a tap. With the win, Luque appears ready to challenge the welterweight elite.
- The UFC was hoping to have Sean O’Malley put on a clinic and got their wish. The lanky bantamweight picked apart a smaller Thomas Almeida with a variety of kicks and jabs. The fight almost ended in the opening round – O’Malley didn’t follow up on a knockdown – but it wasn’t until the third round when he put Almeida away. O’Malley appears to be back on track to stardom.
- Inevitably, when two good grapplers collide, a striking contest ensues. Well… Miranda Maverick and Gillian Robertson traded punches early, but eventually engaged in several fun grappling exchanges where each had their moments. However, Maverick’s stand up in the opening round allowed her to take the decision after they split the last two rounds.
- If there was going to be a KO between Khama Worthy and Jamie Mullarkey, everyone was predicting it would have been Mullarkey on the receiving end. Instead, he was delivering the KO blow with a single punch, finishing him off with a few more punches in under a minute. It gives the Aussie his first UFC win while continuing Worthy’s skid.
- Initially, it appeared Alonzo Menifield fell right into a trap, nearly getting submitted by choke artist Fabio Cherant. With some adjustments, Menifield turned the potential choke into a Von Flue choke for the win. The three people that picked Menifield to win by submission are swimming in the money….
- Jared Gooden appeared to be so preoccupied with the takedowns of Abubakar Nurmagomedov that he forgot to let his fists fly. Khabib’s cousin took advantage of that, piecing up Gooden on the feet while mixing in the occasional takedown for an impressive all-around performance, securing his first UFC win.
- One of the better scraps on the evening, Michel Oleksiejczuk stayed in the face of Modestas Bukauskas, convincing the judges his pressure was more effective than Bukauskas’ volume. The contest could have gone either direction with the second being a tossup, but Oleksiejczuk staved off the cutting room floor with the win.
- What was expected to be a firefight between Omar Morales and Shane Young turned out to be a tit-for-tat point-fest. Morales made better use of his length to pick away with jabs and low kicks to take a clear decision, though the lack of action was certainly disappointing.
- We all knew the contest between Abu Azaitar and Marc-Andre Barriualt was going to be sloppy as hell and the two sluggers lived up to expectations. Azaitar jumped out in front by being the more aggressive fighter, but the high activity compromised his stamina and Barriault turned the tide by the second round. The final round was academic as Barriault maintained top control, landing punches until the ref finally called it.