How Has Francis Ngannou Improved Since His Loss to Stipe Miocic?

Published 03/24/2021, 9:16 AM EDT
BOSTON, MA – JANUARY 20: (R-L) Stipe Miocic punches Francis Ngannou of Cameroon in their heavyweight championship bout during the UFC 220 event at TD Garden on January 20, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)


UFC heavyweight Francis Ngannou will actualize his second crack at a championship title at UFC 260 against Stipe Miocic. Both men have shared the cage for 25 minutes back in 2018, and Miocic came out with a definitive win. However, Ngannou has fought his way back to a title shot and is on a four-fight KO streak.

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‘The Predator’ has man-handled former champions like Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos on his way back to a title shot. Additionally, newer contenders like Jairzinho Rozenstruik too stood little a chance against Ngannou’s ferocious power. Francis Ngannou has used the same tactic to reach his second title shot as he did when he first fought Miocic for the belt.

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA – MAY 08: Francis Ngannou of Cameroon poses on the scale during the UFC 249 official weigh-in on May 08, 2020 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC)

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Francis Ngannou overview: How far has ‘The Predator’ evolved in three years?

The Cameroonian fighter had a rather flat performance when he faced Stipe Miocic for the first time. Although the first-round was as action-packed as one might expect, extreme fatigue kicked in for Francis Ngannou. Stipe Miocic began taking Francis Ngannou down at will and racked up a high control time.

Just two rounds in, Ngannou was lumbering back to his feet at the end of the round and was fatigued. This made Stipe Miocic’s entries much easier, and the Ngannou’s power began diminishing too. Soon, it became a foregone conclusion that Stipe Miocic would leave with the victory.

BOSTON, MA – JANUARY 20: (L-R) Stipe Miocic punches Francis Ngannou of Cameroon in their heavyweight championship bout during the UFC 220 event at TD Garden on January 20, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Francis has spoken out about majorly evolving his game since then, however, there’s yet to be any visual confirmation. He’s spent no time on the mat in his fights since the Miocic loss and has continued KO’ing his opponents. However, certain positive indicators could point towards a vastly improved performance for Ngannou in the rematch.

Chiefly, he’s training with Eric Nicksick, who’s well known for providing the most comprehensive game plan possible. His coach will make sure that Ngannou is well adept to deal with all kinds of ground maneuvers thrown at Ngannou.

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Additionally, D-2 All-American and welterweight champion Kamaru Usman has helped Ngannou with his wrestling and will be in his corner. This is a positive sign for the rematch, and we are primed to see an improved version of Francis Ngannou at UFC 260.

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Darryl Pinto

1450 articles

Darryl Pinto is a senior MMA writer at EssentiallySports. He is currently pursuing his graduate degree in Mass Media (with a specialization in Journalism) out of Xavier’s College and has a year's experience in his current role. Darryl specializes in predictions, reporting, and covering UFC events live.

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