UFC 220 takes place tomorrow night in Boston and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights below.
Main Card (PPV):
Stipe Miocic vs. Francis Ngannou
There’s a buzz around the heavyweight division at the moment that hasn’t been felt in quite some time, and that’s all thanks to Francis Ngannou.
In a relatively short space of time Ngannou has emerged from nowhere to deliver a six-fight winning streak in the UFC, leaving a trail of bodies in his wake, including big names like Alistair Overeem and Andrei Arlovski.
Ngannou has massive punching power, is a huge physical specimen, and at 31-years-old is relatively young in an aging weight class.
With that in mind it’s not surprising that many people are tipping Ngannou to win the title, but it would be a mistake to overlook how dangerous of an opponent Miocic is for him.
The champion has also been on fire in the division during his current five-fight winning streak, serving up T/KO’s every time against the biggest names in the division.
With an overall 17-2 record, the 35-year-old Miocic is also far less shop-worn than many other grizzled veterans in the division, and he has excellent cardio if the fight doesn’t end with a quick KO.
Most importantly though, Miocic is a much more well-rounded fighter than Ngannou, who has only been training MMA since 2013. While he’s a very good boxer, what Miocic also does very well is transition smoothly to wrestling and I think that’s going to be a big factor for him in this fight.
Ngannou’s takedown defense is improving rapidly, but perhaps not quickly enough to prevent Miocic from revealing holes in his game that will enable him to get the fight to the floor and cause him some big problems with ground and pound, leading to a TKO stoppage in the third or fourth round.
Stipe Miocic to win by TKO in Rd3.
Daniel Cormier vs. Volkan Oezdemir
Despite having been KO’d by Jon Jones last time out, Cormier returns as champion thanks to his rival’s failed drug test, and it will be interesting to see if he’s able to refocus and get back to winning ways against a challenger who has risen to the top in remarkably quick period of time.
The 205lb division has been at a low ebb of late, and so Oezdemir was able to take full advantage of that, with three impressive stoppage wins being enough to leap him straight into title contention.
Truth be told though, it’s still hard to know what to make of Oezdemir given that his last two fights ended almost as quickly as they started, in contrast to his UFC debut where a out-of-sorts OSP made heavy weather of a fight that Oezdemir only just managed to win by way of a questionable split decision verdict.
What we do know however is that aside from his nemesis ‘Bones’ Jones, nobody has been able to beat Cormier at either light-heavyweight or heavyweight, and in all honesty its hard to point to any one thing that Oezdemir has done that suggests he has a better chance than the likes of Anthony Johnson, Alexander Gustafsson, Anderson Silva, Dan Henderson and more had.
Perhaps Jones has weakened Cormier’s chin, but even if that was the case I still believe the champion’s major wrestling advantage will see him dominate the proceedings against Oezdemir and lead to him mauling the challenger in the clinch and on the mat for a third round TKO stoppage.
Daniel Cormier to win by TKO in Rd3.
Calvin Kattar vs. Shane Burgos
Both of these two featherweights have enjoyed lengthy winning streaks, but for one that’s about to end on Saturday night.
Burgos is the heavier hitter of the two here and will be pressing forward wherever possible, while Kattar is a more cautious operator, working behind the jab while seeking counter-striking opportunities.
With that in mind Burgos has more of a chance to find a finish, but I think he might instead have to make to do with providing the more eye-catching moments in the fight to win the approval of the judges on the scorecards.
Shane Burgos to win by decision.
Gian Villante vs. Francimar Barroso
UFC 220’s main card is a decidely top-heavy affair, with Villante Vs Barroso being a puzzling addition when you consider that between them they’ve only mustered two wins in their last eight UFC fights.
Villante’s offensive instincts on the feet appeal to the UFC brass though and they might just pay off for him here as he can use his wrestling to stifle any attempts by Barroso to get the fight to the mat, and he should also have more gas left in the tank late in the fight to help seal a decision victory.
Gian Villante to win by decision.
Thomas Almeida vs. Rob Font
This should be a fun bantamweight fight between two talented fighters who are both looking to bounce straight back after suffering a loss last time out.
Almedia is an extremely potent striker who can overwhelm opponents with his offensive arsenal, and though Font is a good all-rounder, who will be able to give the Brazilian a competitive fight, I feel that he will find himself get outgunned, leading to a second round TKO stoppage.
Thomas Almeida to win by TKO In Rd2
Prelims (FOX Sports 1): (Predicted winners in bold)
Kyle Bochniak vs. Brandon Davis
Abdul Razak Alhassan vs. Sabah Homasi
Dustin Ortiz vs. Alexandre Pantoja
Dan Ige vs. Julio Arce
UFC Fight Pass:
Enrique Barzola vs. Matt Bessette
Islam Makhachev vs. Gleison Tibau