Las Vegas is set to shake this Saturday (March 27) as Stipe Miocic and Francis Ngannou rematch for the right to be called ‘The Baddest Man on the Planet’. UFC 260 is here, read our predictions and best odds for the fights.
Three years after handing ”The Predator” his first defeat as a UFC fighter, Miocic (20-3) will once again look to stop Ngannou (15-3) in his tracks with the world heavyweight championship on the line. The current king utilised his wrestling to great effect and took the decision win last time this mammoth duo faced off, but Ngannou returns as -125 favorite to take the crown this time around.
As well as offering over-evens +105 odds for Miocic to defend his belt in Vegas, William Hill USA is offering its customers a massive +1200 special that the Ohio native will win in the first round. That figure doesn’t specify any particular method, only that Miocic must win in the first five minutes of the fight, something he’s done six times in 17 fights with the UFC. Miocic was on a streak of four first-round finishes leading up to his first victory over Ngannou, but his style has often demonstrated above-average volume and output for a heavyweight.
It could prove telling that Miocic was available at +120 odds to win this rematch less than one month ago, with the betting public gradually siding with the reigning champ over time. The fact his price has fallen by more than 10 percent in the weeks since is a sign of the support running in his favor of late, with the 38-year-old at +450 to repeat a decision victory this time around.
UFC 260 Betting Predictions
It’s speculated that Ngannou has endeavoured to improve his wrestling more than anything else since his decision loss to Miocic in January 2018, a smart choice given how it was routinely exposed in that encounter. Unlike most other opponents he’s faced, Ngannou’s reach advantage is a measly one inch in this encounter, and Miocic is the smartest active heavyweight when it comes to keeping range and evading danger, of which his foe presents a lot:
But regardless of just how much Ngannou has fine-tuned his ground game in the years since their first encounter, Miocic remains a wrestler by nature. A former NCAA Division I competitor who just so happens to also hold a Golden Gloves title in boxing, he is simply the anti-Ngannou on paper.
There will be a certain confidence to the incumbent’s game, but we already know Miocic is anything but arrogant. Having faced this threat once, he knows his best chance is to take this fight into deeper waters where he’s fought on numerous occasions, contrasted with Ngannou whose only venture into a fifth round (or even a fourth) was that decision loss in their first bout.
Former UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping told BT Sport he felt experience would be the key to a Miocic triumph once again, except this fight may finish a little differently:
There’s no getting away from the fact that Miocic is 38 and heading towards retirement in the nearish future—but hopefully not too near. Ngannou isn’t a spring chicken himself at 34, but the elder statesman may not be as durable as he once was.
With that being the case, we may see Miocic surprise somewhat and go after the finish should he spot the gap, looking to end the threat before he himself gets too tired. It would hardly be a shock to see him use his wrestling to once again grapple his way to victory, but his excellent boxing could just as easily light up a path to hand Ngannou the first finish loss of his career.
Prediction: Miocic via KO/TKO (+200) in Rd 3 (+900)
Miocic vs. Ngannou 2 Odds
Stipe Miocic: +105
Francis Ngannou: -125
UFC 260 Info
Date: Saturday, March 27
Venue: UFC Apex, Las Vegas, Nevada
Early Prelims: 5:15 p.m. ET (10:15 p.m. GMT)
Prelims: 7 p.m. ET (12 a.m. GMT)
Main Card: 9 p.m. ET (2 a.m. GMT)
Free Bets: William Hill, BetMGM