Stipe Miocic retained his heavyweight title tonight at UFC 220 after weathering an early storm from the much bigger Francis Ngannou, and then making him pay in the rounds that followed with superior wrestling and conditioning.
The main event heavyweight title fight is underway at UFC 220 in Boston!
Early leg kick for Miocic. Ngannou tries for a high kick and lands high to the body. Miocic in on a single leg takedown and does get Ngannou partially down, but the challenger stands back up.
As they sepearate Miocic is again in on a takedown attempt, but Ngannou stuffs it again and thats very big for him.
Now Ngannou is pressing forward with urgency and letting his hands go. Miocic looking a little concerned, but is mostly staying away from the heavy artillery so far.
Miocic manages to force another clinch opportunity and walks Ngannou over to the cage. Ngannou with a knee strike in there. Miocic with a knee too.
Ngannou back out now. Miocic lands a good punch and now utilizing nice head movement to avoid Ngannou’s offense.
Miocic with a solid punch that may have hurt the challenger. Now the champ follows that up by taking Ngannou down cleanly. Miocic in side control now in the center of the Octagon.
Ngannou finds a way to start getting upright. Miocic thinks about a guillotine choke, but then lets it go and they both stand.
The pace slows a little now. Big uppercut for Ngannou. Right hand for Miocic and more clean punches behind it, but then he gets clipped with a punch too. Miocic staggers into a takedown attempt and does well to thump the giant challenger to the mat just as the round is ending.
Ngannou comes out for the second round looking tired. Slower pace from both men. Miocic looking for a one-two. Punch from Ngannou snaps Miocic’s head back.
Body kick for Miocic. Now legs kicks. Punch to the body and another leg kick. More quick leg kicks for Miocic. Ngannou not offering a whole lot so far in the second and when he does throw he’s much slower than in the first round.
Big punch for Miocic. Leg kick for the champion. Ngannou with a right hand. Miocic charges forward on takedown attempt, going the full length of the cage and then successfully getting him down.
Ngannou on one knee against the cage and then stands, but Miocic is still leaning heavily on him and gradually forces him back down.
Ngannou to a knee again. Now he’s eating a few knees to the body as Miocic runs down Ngannou’s already depleted energy reserves here. Final 30 seconds of the round and Ngannou is unable to stand and is eating a few short punches from the champion. Miocic thinks about a choke, but there’s not enough time.
Ngannou looks absolutely exhausted heading back to his corner.
leg kick for Miocic. Another lands. MIocic in on a takedown attempt, but this time Ngannou defends well. Miocic continuing to work it, but it’s not going to pay off this time and he has to settle for just clinching against the cage.
Ngannou tries to muscle his way out of the clinch, but falls to his knees and Miocic is again back to just wearing on him. Ngannou stands and Miocic continues pressing him to the cage and then backs up to the center of the cage.
The champ lands a leg kick. Right hand gets through for Miocic. Ngannou wings a right hook, but Miocic is away from it. However, Ngannou then unloads a big right hook and that one wobbles Miocic’s legs. However, he responds well by landing another good takedown as Ngannou tries to follow up.
Miocic in half-guard and eating a series of punches. He tries to trap an arm, but is unable to and just lands a few more punches to the head. Ngannou trying to get out from underneath, but Miocic is having none of it and ends the round on top.
Leg kick for Miocic. Early takedown for him and he lands it without much resistance this time around. Miocic immediately moving to secure side control with plenty of time to work.
Ngannou gets to half-guard. He’s trying to stand, but Miocic is dominant on top and all he can do is turtle on his knees. Miocic with elbows to the body and now punches to the head.
Ngannou moves over to the cage, but Miocic is smothering him and he’s essentially trapped here. the champ continues to grind awaway and suddenly starts landing a series of hard left hands.
Another salvo from the champ and then a knee to the body. A minute of the round remaining. Ngannou offering nothing here and just gradually getting more and more beaten up. Miocic with multiple right hands to the body.
The round ends and Ngannou struggles to stand back up, then slumps onto his stool with his head hung low. He’s completely spent, but he’s still got a round to go.
leg kick for Miocic as has been the case at the start of each round. Ngannou tries for a punch, but Miocic avoids that and clinches up and drives him back to the cage.
Miocic taking his time here and Ngannou doesn’t have the energy to offer him too much trouble. knee from Miocic. He tries for the takedown, but Ngannou stays upright and tries for a guillotine choke that doesn’t pay off.
Miocic gives up on the takedown and stays in the clinch. Not much happening and the ref separates them.
Miocic looking tired too now, but still fresher than Ngannou by some distance. Right hand lands for Miocic, then gets out of range as quickly as he can.
Another punch from Miocic. Leg kick now. Ngannou tries for a body punch but misses. Ngannou just standing in the center of the cage with no real indication that he wants to come forward.
Kick from Miocic and winging punches from Ngannou that miss. Jumping knee attempt from Ngannou, but nothing doing and Miocic gets the clinch again against the cage to ride out the final seconds of the round.
No doubt about the winner here. Ngannou tried to shock Miocic early, but ran his gas tank down to empty in the process and then had nothing left to deal with Miocic’s superior wrestling and cardio in the four rounds that followed.
Miocic wins by unanimous decision (50-44 x3).