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UFC 260, the promotion’s second pay-per-view of the month, goes down Saturday in Las Vegas.
The cardboard will probably be headlined by an Octagon-shaking heavyweight title struggle between champion Stipe Miocic, who’s extensively thought-about the best fighter within the division’s historical past, and challenger Francis Ngannou, who’s arguably the scariest fighter in fight sports activities.
This UFC 260 headliner will mark the pair’s second assembly. They first collided within the Octagon in January of 2018. Miocic gained that struggle by unanimous determination, however Ngannou has since reasserted himself because the division’s prime contender with a string of dazzling first-round knockouts.
The UFC 260 card was initially going to be co-headlined by a featherweight title struggle between champion Alexander Volkanovski and challenger Brian Ortega, however that struggle fell through due to COVID-19 protocols.
Fortunately, the cardboard options a lot of different compelling sights to melt the blow, chief amongst them being a welterweight showdown between Tyron Woodley and Vicente Luque, and a bantamweight scrap between Sean O’Malley and Thomas Almeida. So, even after dropping its authentic co-main occasion, UFC 260 seems like a must-watch for struggle followers.
This is every thing you should find out about this compelling card out of Sin Metropolis.
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UFC 260 Essential Card (10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ Pay-Per-View)
- Stipe Miocic vs. Francis Ngannou
- Vicente Luque vs. Tyron Woodley
- Thomas Almeida vs. Sean O’Malley
- Jamie Mullarkey vs. Khama Worthy
UFC 260 Prelims (8:00 p.m. ET on ESPN)
- William Knight vs. Alonzo Menifield
- Hannah Goldy vs. Jessica Penne
- Jared Gooden vs. Abubakar Nurmagomedov
UFC 260 Prelims (6:15 p.m. ET on ESPN+)
- Modestas Bukauskas vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk
- Miranda Maverick vs. Gillian Robertson
- Omar Morales vs. TBA
- Abu Azaitar vs. Marc-Andre Barriault
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Stipe Miocic (20-3) has established himself because the heavyweight division’s apex predator, however his place atop the meals chain is much from protected—not so long as Francis Ngannou (15-3) is a part of the ecosystem.
As we mentioned on the prime of this text, Miocic has already efficiently defended the heavyweight strap in opposition to Ngannou, defeating the hulking Cameroonian with a mix of takedowns and high-volume putting at UFC 220 in early 2018.
Sadly for the champion, Ngannou has since reasserted himself because the division’s prime contender by doing what he does greatest: knocking individuals mindless.
Whereas Ngannou adopted his loss to Miocic with a snooze-inducing determination setback in opposition to Derrick Lewis—a struggle that noticed the 2 knockout artists land simply 31 combined strikes—he has been a juggernaut ever since. First, he bulldozed top-five contender Curtis Blaydes in 45 seconds. Then, he shut the lights out on former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez in simply 26 seconds. Subsequent up, he took out one other former champ in Junior dos Santos, this time in 71 seconds. That catches us as much as his most up-to-date win: a 20-second knockout victory over a top-five expertise in Jairzinho Rozenstruik.
To summarize, that is 4 first-round knockouts over a procession of prime contenders and former champions—all in lower than three minutes mixed. It takes longer to cook dinner a frozen pizza.
Ngannou’s latest blitzkriegs have been spectacular sufficient to all however erase the reminiscence of his hype-deflating losses to Miocic and Lewis and persuade huge swaths of the MMA neighborhood that he is destined for gold. Nonetheless, his assembly these expectations is much from sure.
The truth is that, whereas Ngannou has regarded unbelievable in his final 4 fights, his wins have been so abrupt that he hasn’t been capable of present any actual enhancements to his sport.
Can he cease the Miocic takedowns that foiled his first bid at gold? Is he ready to struggle for 5 laborious rounds if a fast knockout fails to materialize? Or will he as soon as once more wilt within the face of Miocic’s wrestling, quantity and cardio?
These are the questions on the minds of struggle followers in all places forward of UFC 260, and the questions that will probably be answered when these two are locked within the cage collectively within the card’s essential occasion.
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Whereas this Woodley (19-6-1) vs. Luque (19-7-1) struggle is not fairly as compelling because the Volkanovski vs. Ortega struggle we misplaced, it is nonetheless a superb struggle and a vastly necessary one for the welterweight division.
Woodley is the division’s former champion. The truth is, after profitable the title with a first-round knockout win over Robbie Lawler in 2016 and defending it in opposition to Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson, Demian Maia and Darren Until, he was starting to develop a fame as top-of-the-line welterweights ever.
Then got here the autumn from grace.
After wanting as dominant as ever in his title protection in opposition to Until—a submission win—Woodley was soundly overwhelmed by Kamaru Usman, who nonetheless holds the division’s title. He then skilled a equally lopsided determination loss by the hands of Gilbert Burns earlier than dropping through TKO to Colby Covington in his most up-to-date look.
Now on a troublesome, three-fight skid, Woodley is in determined want of a win. Not solely is his standing as an elite welterweight in jeopardy, however his job with the UFC could possibly be too. The promotion has lately been downsizing its roster, and several former champs have already discovered themselves on the chopping block. Sadly for Woodley, avoiding these outcomes means getting via Vicente Luque, one of many hottest younger contenders within the welterweight division.
Luque, 29, has skilled losses to top-flight foes like Wonderboy and Leon Edwards, however he is regarded unbelievable in any other case, choosing up wins over notables like Belal Muhammad, Niko Value (twice), Mike Perry and Randy Brown.
Whereas Woodley really has one fewer professional struggle than Luque, make no mistake about it: he is representing the previous guard on this veteran vs. prospect struggle. Will his big-stage expertise carry him to victory in opposition to his hungry younger foe? Time will inform.
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The UFC 260 lineup options a lot of fascinating fights, however Sean O’Malley (12-1) and Thomas Almeida’s (22-4) essential card bantamweight scrap is clearly top-of-the-line.
Till lately, O’Malley was an unbeaten prospect and extensively considered as a future bantamweight title challenger—perhaps even a future champ. Then he bumped into Marlon “Chito” Vera.
O’Malley and Vera met at UFC 252 in August. Regardless of coming into the cage as a major underdog, Vera banged up O’Malley’s leg early and in the end stopped him with a bathe of first-round floor strikes.
Since then, O’Malley has repeatedly suggested his loss to Vera was a fluke—the results of an unlucky leg harm and nothing else. If he hopes to reassert himself as one of many brightest younger stars in MMA, nonetheless, he wants a win—and people do not come simple in opposition to Almeida.
Like O’Malley, Almeida was as soon as considered as a future star at bantamweight. Some followers even anticipated him to win the belt. Whereas his inventory has taken a success due to a collection of latest losses and extended stretches of inactivity, he stays probably the most deadly finishers within the division.
If O’Malley is something wanting good on this struggle, he could possibly be in for an additional tough night time.
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William Knight vs. Alonzo Menifield
On the UFC 260 undercard, streaking gentle heavyweight prospect William Knight (9-1) will face the largest take a look at of his profession in opposition to the marginally extra established Alonzo Menifield (9-2). Each males entered the UFC via Dana White‘s Contender Collection, and each possess ridiculous fight-ending energy. All indicators level to this one ending rapidly, so do not blink.
Hannah Goldy vs. Jessica Penne
Jessica Penne (12-6) was as soon as considered as top-of-the-line strawweights on Earth and even challenged Joanna Jedrzejczyk for the division’s final prize in 2015—although that struggle definitely did not go her means. At present, nonetheless, she’s on a three-fight dropping streak and driving a layoff of greater than 4 years due to a long and complicated tie-up with america Anti-Doping Company.
On the UFC 260 undercard, Penne will lastly return to the Octagon, the place she’ll look to get again on observe in opposition to 28-year-old prospect Hannah Goldy (5-1). It is not the largest struggle on the cardboard, however the storyline alone makes it an fascinating one.
Abu Azaitar vs. Marc-Andre Barriault
Within the first bout of the UFC 260 undercard, German middleweight Abu Azaitar (14-2-1) will look to make it six wins in a row. Standing throughout from him will probably be Canada’s Marc-Andre Barriault (11-4), who has flaunted some ridiculous energy in earlier fights and sharpens his weapons alongside Lethwei legend Dave Leduc. This one’s not getting as a lot hype because the fights additional up the cardboard, however it’s a particular frontrunner for Combat of the Night time honors.