After taking apart Daniel Cormier in his last fight, we finally get to see Stipe Miocic back in action. Francis Ngannou made quick work of his last opponent, Jairzinho Rozenstruik, and earned his rematch for the Heavyweight title. After going back to watch the first matchup between these two, Miocic vs. Ngannou 1, I have to stick with Stipe in this matchup. Somehow, Stipe is an underdog again, +110, despite dominating Francis the first time. Ngannou has clearly improved having taken out Curtis Blaydes, Junior Dos Santos, and Cain Velasquez as well. The only reason I am concerned about Ngannou’s chances are that those were still all first round knockouts as were all of his other previous wins except 2, which were second round knockouts. The two times that he lost, the fight went three rounds or longer, and that includes the first loss to Stipe. Ngannou has obviously learned from the last fight, but I do not believe that Stipe has lost his touch or that those lessons will be enough to overcome his opponent. Stipe will win this fight again, but don’t be surprised if it goes the distance again. Francis has shown he can survive a longer fight even in a loss. Look for Stipe to have an O/U of 3-5 takedowns tonight. Whatever that number is at, I would take the over as well.
There are three other fights on the cards tonight that are worth betting on, including one in the prelims, so let’s take a look at those as well!
Tyron is coming into this fight on a bit of losing streak with losses to Colby Covington, Gilbert Burns, and Kamaru Usman. Not bad losses, but clearly showing that he is not quite back yet when it comes to returning to champion status. Vicente has won two in a row and is looking to make a move up the rankings in the Welterweight division. A win of Woodley would absolutely push him up the rankings as well, and possibly put him two fights away from a title fight. Woodley badly needs this fight though and is coming into this fight as an underdog at +200. While Luque is on a bit of a roll, I still ike Woodley in this matchup. Look for him to shake off the losses, as devasting as they seem, and get back on track as he looks to make another push towards a Welterweight title fight.
In his last fight, Sean O’ Malley injured his leg in the first round against Marlon Vera. Vera was able to take advantage and win the fight pretty quickly. An unfortunate event that ruined what would have been a great fight, but that is always the risk in the UFC and in sports in general. Injuries occur and if they cannot be overcome, sometimes you lose because of them. O’ Malley is back though and looking to rebound against Almedia, who is trending down and fast. Almedia began his MMA career 21-0 and 4-0 in his UFC career. Unfortunately, he is 1-4 in his last five fights. O’ Malley is known for his stellar knockouts and if Almedia losses again it will not be good for him. Both men desparately want to rebound here, but it is O’Malley that I am taking to win this fight. He comes in as a heavy favorite at -335, and I would even suggest picking him to win by KO in the first two rounds. I will even be so bold as to say the first round. O’ Malley rights the ship and puts himself back into contention for an eventual Bantamweight title fight.
The only prelim fight worth talking about, and yes it is due to name recognition. Abubakar is the cousin of the now retired Khabib Nurmagomedov. This is his UFC debut and enters with a 15-3-1 MMA record. Jared Gooden is not a man to overlook though. He enters at 17-5 and throws absolute bombs. He lands an average of almost 7 punches per minute, but the issue comes when he absorbs 11 per minute as well. That is where I see Gooden losing. Abubakar will avoid the heavy strikes from Gooden and end up winning by submission in the first or second round. Many seem to agree with that as he enter this fight as the heavy favorite at -250. Take Abubakar and by submission.
UFC 260 may not have three title fights and a loaded prelim and main card, but this will still be a spectacular event. Good luck with your picks/parlays!
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