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Miocic sets UFC record with dominant victory over hyped heavyweight Ngannou

Daniel Cormier also emerged victorious from his light-heavyweight title defence at UFC 220.

UFC 220 Mixed Martial Arts Stipe Miocic in control against Francis Ngannou. Source: Gregory Payan

A PAIR OF title fights headlined the UFC’s first pay-per-view event of 2018 and it proved to be a good night in Boston for both defending champions.

Light-heavyweight title-holder Daniel Cormier finished Volkan Oezdemir at UFC 220 at the TD Garden, before Stipe Miocic dominated Francis Ngannou over five rounds to retain his heavyweight crown.

Despite winning his last five fights — including four first-round finishes and two title defences — Miocic (18-2) entered this one as the underdog against his much-hyped opponent, who has taken the heavyweight division by storm since his December 2015 debut.

UFC 220 Mixed Martial Arts Miocic and Ngannou shake hands after the fight. Source: Gregory Payan

Ngannou (11-2) was catapulted into a title bout on the back of his ferocious first-round knockout of Alistair Overeem just seven weeks ago. It was the heavy-hitting Cameroon native’s sixth stoppage win from as many outings under the UFC banner and he predicted another swift finish of the defending champion.

The 31-year-old did have some success with his striking early on — as did Miocic — but it didn’t take long for the champion to expose the challenger’s one-dimensional skillset. He used his superior wrestling and grappling to score takedowns throughout the 25 minutes, controlling and wearing his opponent down on the ground.

Ngannou was certainly durable in withstanding the offence but by the end of the first round his gas tank was already running low. Miocic earned 50-44 scores on all three cards as he became the first fighter in UFC history to defend the heavyweight belt three times.

In the penultimate bout of the night, there was also a third successful title defence for Daniel Cormier, who was reinstated as light-heavyweight champion following his third-round KO defeat to Jon Jones last July when Jones tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs.

Cormier (20-1) showed his calibre and experience in seeing off Swiss challenger Volkan Oezdemir (15-2), who was fighting in the UFC for just the fourth time. Oezdemir’s big opportunity came less than a year after his UFC debut (February 2017).

With Oezdemir looking for his third consecutive first-round knockout, Cormier was able to avoid the best of his shots and eventually scored a takedown. The former Olympic wrestler sunk in a rear-naked choke but couldn’t finish it before the end of the first round.

But the beginning of the end for Oezdemir came early in the second round. Cormier again succeeded in getting the fight to the ground via a trip from a single leg takedown. The 38-year-old, from a crucifix position, unloaded with strikes until the referee intervened with 2:00 on the clock in the second frame.

UFC 220

  • Stipe Miocic def. Francis Ngannou via unanimous decision (50-44, 50-44, 50-44)
  • Daniel Cormier def. Volkan Oezdemir via TKO (punches) after 2:00 of round two
  • Calvin Kattar def. Shane Burgos via TKO (punches) after 0:32 of round three
  • Gian Villante def. Francimar Barroso via split decision (30-27, 28-29, 30-27)
  • Rob Font def. Thomas Almeida via TKO (head kick and punches) after 2:24 of round two
  • Kyle Bochniak def. Brandon Davis via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
  • Abdul Razak Alhassan def. Sabah Homasi via KO (punch) after 3:47 of round one
  • Dustin Ortiz def. Alexandre Pantoja via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Julio Arce def. Dan Ige via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
  • Enrique Barzola def. Matt Bessette via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Islam Makhachev def. Gleison Tibau via KO (punch) after 0:57 of round one

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Paul Dollery

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