UFC 226 on Saturday night in Las Vegas features Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier and Francis Ngannou taking on Derrick Lewis. The bout between Miocic and Cormier will have Miocic defending his heavyweight title against Cormier who returns to the heavyweight division after having success as a light heavyweight. Combined, the two fighters are 38-3 in their careers. Let’s look at UFC 226 with a focus on Miocic vs. Cormier and Ngannou vs. Lewis.
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Stipe Miocic -255 vs. Daniel Cormier
Miocic is 18-2 in his career, including 12-2 in the UFC, while Cormier is 20-1, including 9-1 in the UFC. Miocic is listed as a solid favorite in this fight and that has not gone over well with Cormier. “I’ll tell you this: There are oddsmakers for a reason,” Cormier said to the media, “They installed me as the underdog, and it’s great. Stipe Miocic is in a completely different situation. Last time he got disrespected. I feel I’m getting disrespected. Stipe Miocic is fighting a guy that he’s never seen anything like this. There’s odds for a reason, but know that those odds, and all that money that they bet on him, it’s tied to one outcome. The only way he can win is to knock me out. There’s no other way he beats me.”
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Cormier is extremely confident he will win on Saturday night. “He’s fought some tough guys,” Cormier said. “But Fabricio Werdum, I don’t know what he was doing. He ran right into Stipe’s fist. Stipe might have still won that fight. Alistair Overeem, I don’t know what he was doing. He hurt him then he thought he tapped. Third match with (Junior) Dos Santos, I think Cain Velasquez may have turned Junior into a zombie. He’s a walking zombie nowadays. I love the guy, but he is. And Francis Ngannou, he can’t wrestle. So this will be the first time he’s fighting somebody that can do everything.”
Miocic has proven to be the better striker than Cormier. Miocic averages 0.41 knockdowns per 15 minutes, while Cormier averages 0.25. Cormier has been knocked down in three of his past six fights and those were at light heavyweight. Miocic also has an eight-inch reach advantage over Cormier. In terms of wrestling, Cormier has landed 2.35 takedowns per 15 minutes of fight time for a rate of 37%, while Cormier lands 1.89 takedowns per 15 minutes for a 42% rate.
I think Cormier is right in one respect in that the only way that Miocic wins this fight is by a knockout, but I think there is a real chance that is exactly what happens. The price on Miocic is a bit too high for me, so I will take the rounds, which are listed at 3.5, to go under.
Francis Ngannou -365 vs. Derrick Lewis
This fight should be a bruising battle between two heavyweights that have big time power. Ngannou looked unstoppable until he ran into Miocic and lost badly in a five round decision at UFC 220. Lewis has won seven of his last eight fights with six of those wins coming by knockout. Ngannou is 11-2 overall in his career, while Lewis is 19-5-1.
This one should be entertaining for as long as it lasts. Both fighters have a lot of power so it should come down to who can withstand the big blows. I will simply avoid a side and go under the rounds total of two.
UFC 226 takes place on Saturday, July 7, 2018 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. There are four fights on the main-per-view card, featuring Stipe Miocic taking on Daniel Cormier. There are seven fights on the preliminary card with four on FS1 and three on UFC Fight Pass.
Main Card (Pay-Per-View)
Heavyweight – Stipe Miocic -255 vs. Daniel Cormier
Heavyweight – Francis Ngannou -365 vs. Derrick Lewis
Lightweight – Michael Chiesa -160 vs. Anthony Pettis
Light Heavyweight –Gokhan Saki -130 vs. Khalil Rountree Jr.
Preliminary Card (FS1)
Middleweight – Paulo Costa -465 vs. Uriah Hall
Welterweight – Paul Felder -156 vs. Mike Perry
Bantamweight –Raphael Assunção -180 vs. Rob Font
Welterweight – Curtis Millender -170 vs. Max Griffin
Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass)
Lightweight – Dan Hooker -125 vs. Gilbert Burns
Lightweight - Lando Vannata -175 vs. Drakkar Klose
Women’s Strawweight – Jamie Moyle -200 vs. Emily Whitmire
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