Can Ngannou avoid replay of his loss to Miocic?

LAS VEGAS — Very little has actually altered if you take a look at Francis Ngannou in his last 4 battles.

He combated wrestler Curtis Blaydes on Nov. 24, 2018, in Beijing. He won the battle in 45 seconds by means of strikes.

He combated wrestler Cain Velasquez on Feb. 17, 2019, in Phoenix. He won the battle in 26 seconds by means of strikes.

He combated striker Junior dos Santos on June 29, 2019, in Minneapolis. He won the battle in 71 seconds by means of strikes.

And he combated striker Jairzinho Rozenstruik on May 9, 2020, in Jacksonville, Florida. He won the battle in 20 seconds by means of strikes.

That’s 4 battles, 4 success and an overall of 2:42 in the Octagon, and possibly 15 punches linked.

Possibly.

We haven’t seen him safeguard a takedown. We haven’t seen him battle his back. We haven’t seen him do anything besides whale away at his challengers and have them collapse under his squashing power.

Ngannou, however, discounts the concept he’s the very same fighter who was controlled by Stipe Miocic on Jan. 20, 2018, in their heavyweight title battle. We might not have actually seen a distinction, however Ngannou and his group sure have.

“My whole approach to the sport has changed,” Ngannou stated. “Everything. The way I train, what I think about, how I think about what I’m going to do. Everything is different.”

After a short time out, he continued.

“And better,” he included, strongly.

It had much better be, due to the fact that if it’s not, we’re most likely to see a replay of the very first battle in Boston on Saturday at Peak, when he fulfills Miocic, a +105 underdog at BetMGM, in a rematch for the heavyweight title in the primary occasion of UFC 260.

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JACKSONVILLE, FL - MAY 09: Francis Ngannou of Cameroon looks on after defeating Jair Rozenstruik (not pictured) of Suriname in their Heavyweight fight during UFC 249 at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena on May 9, 2020 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

Francis Ngannou of Cameroon searches after beating Jair Rozenstruik in their heavyweight battle throughout UFC 249 at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena on Might 9, 2020, in Jacksonville, Florida. (Image by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

The important things that makes Ngannou various is the Mike Tyson-like punching power he has. As he revealed versus Velasquez, a famous previous heavyweight champ, he doesn’t even require to link easily to score a destructive KO.

However punching difficult is just one part of blended martial arts. And it’s difficult to toss knockout blows when you’re susceptible on your back.

It’s why he’s invested hours drilling on his weak points over the last 3 years at Xtreme Couture Mixed Martial Arts.

“I think he understands at this level, the title level, you’re not going to just cut through everybody like they’re soft butter,” his coach, Eric Nicksick, informed Mixed Martial Arts Battling. “There are guys out there who are going to look to outsmart you. They’re going to have a better fight IQ. His approach to that fight, in a lot of ways, and he’ll tell you this by his own admission, he thought he was going to just walk in there, knock him out and take the belt.

“Unfortunately, you’re fighting Stipe Miocic, arguably the greatest to ever do it. He’s not going to make it that easy on you. It’s not like that at this level.”

Ngannou, a -125 preferred at BetMGM, states he gets it. And we get — or, we ought to get — that it’s not his fault that he doesn’t get the chance to show it. If he ends the battle by means of strikes in a handful of seconds, what factor does he need to attempt to make like Royce Gracie?

Ngannou, however, will make like Gracie in one method. Gracie assisted promote Mixed Martial Arts at the very first a number of UFC occasions when he demonstrated how Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu might assist a slim male beat a lot more threatening, enforcing looking professional athletes.

He ended up being a terrific ambassador for the sport and assisted bring it to the mainstream.

One location where Mixed Martial Arts is not so traditional yet is the continent of Africa, where Ngannou was born. He was born in Cameroon and operated in the nation’s sand mines as a kid.

The whole continent is swarming with battling skill, he stated, and goes far beyond UFC champs Kamaru Usman and Israel Adesanya of Nigeria and himself.

He understands a win over Miocic might have significant ramifications for the sport in Africa.

“There is a lot of pressure on my back, but it’s the kind of pressure I don’t complain about,” he informed Yahoo Sports. “The talent is there, no doubt about it. They need the opportunity to develop it. If I can be a part of that, of course, it’s what I want to try to do.

“But there is a lot of great fighting talent there, greater than us [himself, Usman and Adesanya]. They just need a chance.”

Ngannou requires a possibility to show he’s not simply a one-dimensional fighter, and Miocic is the precise fighter who will supply him that chance.

Ngannou might never ever be a black belt, however he pledges this battle will be various because he appreciates considerably the capabilities Miocic brings and worked vigilantly on enhancing his weak points.

“I didn’t have the [mindset] I needed in that last fight,” he stated. “I have more experience. I have learned. It’s a different me this time.”

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Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.