Written by Mike “The Crippler” Rožić
After the Miocic fight Saturday night, I felt it was the perfect time for me to return to Croatiansports.com to analyze the fight from a technical standpoint. Over the weekend, I have watched the fight over a dozen times and tried to pick out certain points that stood out to me and potentially changed the flow and outcome of the bout. I broke down the fight in three parts that I felt were key factors in the outcome.
Francis Ngannou won the fight, but he didn’t just run over Stipe Miocic at UFC 260 the way he has everyone else…at least not right away.
The Takedown Attempt
It’s obvious that Ngannou has been training his wrestling/grappling and has improved from the last fight between the two. I watched that part of the fight over and over as I think that would have been a gamechanger if Miocic landed the takedown early on. It would have tired the massive Cameroonian out and would have had immediately crushed his confidence regarding his improved grappling. As we all know, the takedown was not successful and Miocic even ate a few shots on the ground after Ngannou took his back briefly. Let’s go back to that takedown attempt and look at it from a technical standpoint. The entry was perfect as Miocic quickly changed levels and secured the front leg of Ngannou, but after the initial entry, that’s where things go wrong. There is a technical term in wrestling called “turning the corner” and the video below explains it in detail. In Miocic’s attempt he basically just drives Ngannou against the fence giving him a chance to get his balance and adjust his technique; using the fence as a base. On the initial entry, Ngannou actually makes a technical mistake by wrapping his arms around Miocic’s waist. If Miocic would of “turned the corner” and put the pressure on the leg right away, he might have got the takedown early on and exploited the early technical mistake Ngannou made. Landing a takedown that early and away from the cage would have been a huge turning point early in the fight.
The scramble happened during the failed takedown attempt where Ngannou briefly had Miocic’s back and rained down shots. However, Miocic was able to scramble back to his feet and get off the fence. The key is when Miocic was able to get back up onto his feet to briefly press Ngannou against the cage before retreating after being rocked from the punches he absorbed. What if Miocic stayed in that final position and pinned Ngannou against the cage? If you watch the third Cormier fight, Miocic made a great adjustment against the cage and was able to control Cormier in that position with regularity using high underhooks (picture below).
The ability to hold a wrestler with the quality of Cormier against the cage for that long is quite the feat and using the high guard also eliminates a lot of the ability to throw any hard strikes. If you look at Ngannou after that short sequence, he was already visibly out of breath and his mouth was wide open. I think if Miocic began to work him against the cage after the scramble it would have took a toll on Ngannou’s cardio which I don’t think has improved much. This would have given Miocic the opportunity to get the cobwebs out and have some positional control in the fight and tire out the much larger Ngannou which would pay dividends later in the fight.
The Miocic Shot Landed Prior to Ngannou’s Knockout Punch
In the post-fight interview with Ngannou, he states the big shot Miocic landed didn’t hurt him at all and that it was a planned in/out technique. I watched that over and over and you can visibly see Ngannou’s legs buckle from the shot which led to Miocic rushing in with his hands down and getting clipped with a punch that led to the finish. If you watch Ngannou’s fights, when he gets hit, he immediately starts to swing wildly as a defensive measure. If you watch the first fight between Miocic and Ngannou, this exact sequence happens several times after Miocic connects on Ngannou. Obviously, Miocic was shook from the punches and was trying to survive, but I believe after he landed that punch, he would have moved out of range and continued the fight. At the very least, I think it would have given Miocic some confidence and frustrated Ngannou. Ngannou had several exchanges to finish the fight but was unable to put Miocic away early. If this sequence would have ended differently, he may have started to get frustrated, tired, and started to wonder if he could actually get the KO.
Ultimately, this is all a “what if?” scenario which is much of the fight game leading up to the actual bout. I must give Ngannou credit for the victory as he stayed patient and made adjustments from the first fight to claim the Heavyweight title.
But where does Miocic go from here?
It does not look like an immediate rematch is in the books as the Jones/Lewis vs Ngannou talk is running rampant. Does Miocic fight one of the two: either Jones or Lewis?
Miocic weighed in at 234 pounds for Saturday night’s fight. He looked really lean already but is there a possibility he would be able to cut weight and make the light heavyweight limit? Blachowicz vs Miocic? Miocic a 2-division title holder would look nice on his resume. Not that he needs it as the UFC Heavyweight GOAT.
Does Miocic maybe look at free agency and a big paycheck? Possibly at a title at a rival organization? He has never been appreciated by the UFC and currently not knowing his contract situation; it may be an option at this time.
Or, does the greatest UFC Heavyweight fighter of all time walk off into the sunset and retire? Miocic has a second baby on the way and has always been a true family man throughout his entire career. Miocic may want to sit back and enjoy the family life and look at other business ventures instead of being punched in the face for another year. Miocic is a competitive guy and from being at some of his training camps across the years, I would say he is the hardest working guy in the division and has some of the best coaches in the game.
I know Marcus and the Strong Style team are already looking at ways to improve as they have always done. I think with some adjustments and increasing his output/pace, driving Ngannou against the cage and making him carry the weight along with working Ngannou’s legs to affect his mobility, we could see Miocic claim the Heavyweight title again. A lot of people may think I am crazy saying that, but we need to remember what was said after his loss to Cormier. Many people wanted Miocic to retire then.
Ngannou reminds me of Brock Lesnar with all the hype surrounding him. Everyone thought Brock Lesnar was unbeatable until he wasn’t. I know they are completely different fighters but the hype around them is exactly the same. No matter what happens, Miocic has cemented his legacy as the greatest to ever fight in the Heavyweight division and he never changed who he was along the way. His career stats speak for themselves and I am good with whatever his decision is – whether he retires or not. I remember one of the first interviews I did with Miocic in Cleveland and we said he is going to take over the world. 10 years later, that’s exactly what he did.
Great breakdown of the fight, Crippler.
Nice to see you back.
+ WERE intelligent…Jesus….🤕
Lol, also was there no Croatian orthodox church in the Austrian empire? I wonder why?
Maminjo believes that Tesla was labeled a Serb (and not a Vlah) simply because the Serbian Orthodox church was the only Christian Orthodox church that was allowed to operate in Croatia.
So are we to believe that every single Orthodox person born in Croatia is Serbian because no Macedonian, Montenegrin, Ukrainian, or Romanian churches were allowed?
“An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish them from other groups such as a common set of folklore, ancestry, language, history, society, culture, nation, religion, or social treatment within their residing area.”
“Nikola Tesla was born an ethnic Serb in the village of Smiljan, within the Military Frontier, in the Austrian Empire (present day Croatia), on 10 July [O.S. 28 June] 1856. His father, Milutin Tesla (1819–1879), was an Eastern Orthodox priest. Tesla’s mother, Đuka Mandić (1822–1892), whose father was also an Orthodox priest, had a talent for making home craft tools and mechanical appliances and the ability to memorize Serbian epic poems.”
Maminjo believes Tesla to be a Croat because he was born in present day Croatia and that ethnicity means nothing.
There’s heaps o’ pics of Tito’s youngest general Tudjman and Slobo Milosevic online as well, what do you read into that Maminjo?
Oh was fritzie a chet..meek.. I dont everything.. lucky we have sharper cros..neznam..I try..they call him cro comet..but george stole the show before anyone on this site was around..frig hollywood movies about ali..I read that ali.didnt like white politics..but george was pure and he trusted him..george was a friend of a us boxing legend.
This fights from 1966..jim brown legendary nfl running back back..talking with announcer..got a love the atmosphere.in the arena.
Fritzie and Nikola Tesla were buddies.
Funny how he’s supposed to be a Serb, but never associated with them. Plenty of photos of Tesla and his fellow Croats online. 😉
Cuvalo vs ali.in toronto ..sorry not Madison Square gardens..I wasn’t born yet but my dad always mentioned how tough cuvalo was..hes never been knocked out..listen to the announcer..enjoy..
Not Duvall I meant cuvalo..who fought mohamed Ali at Madison square gardens and went full rounds with ali..world was watchin..1960s.Ali said in interviews how he respected cuvalo and were friends after ..george attended alis..family functions ..cuvalo went to his funeral..so it shows you how good us cros are..
I’m just analyzing ..big black brothers and us cros have been oppressed for so long .cause and effect produces big bad men..so world wide fighters ..hrgovic is still there .1 billion blacks ..10 million hrvats..we us our fighters hold some big belts..fritzie..Duvall.. miocic..cro cop..frig us cros Gene’s are is tough than most of the world..+were intelligent!!!
en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Fritzie_Zi…
Fritzie Zivic – Wikipedia
Northeast ..canada and usa.,produce some tough people..george cuvalo .,toronto.cro bosanac.bones jones.rochester new york..miocic..cleveland.Stipe had a good run and imo..there’s 3 or 4 big black pro football sized fighters he would have to go through..I’m glad he lost now and not later to bones jones..who has fought.injured.,hospitalized a lot of fighters..nganou will take a beating when or if he sees jones.
Well said Crippler!
And people were saying Croatian sports has had a bad week…
The Crippler is back babay!!!!
Your absolutely right as today Jon Jones tweeted to be released from the UFC as he feels disrespected.
Thanks much appreciated
Mike..what an amazing detailed breakdown of events. Happy to see you writing again about the mma scene. Thank you. I couldn’t agree with you more about the fight and his team, especially after meeting and hosting Stipe and his Strongstyle team of coaches. Amazingly kind group of people. It was an honor. Look forward to your next article.
Stipe’s message seems like he’s not done yet.. Let Dana play with his new toys for a bit and let’s see how things shake up in the division the next 8-9 months. Who knows what will happen with Jones that could very easily never materialize. As mentioned previously Stipe getting up there in years if he fights again it needs to be for a title with nothing in between. I think the clearest path for that would be Ngannou v Lewis next and Stipe takes the winner.. That would require Ngannou v Jones blowing up in Dana’s face but again I wouldn’t be surprised if that were the case
I do make house calls when needed hahahah
Unforutnately Konjuh’s impressive run came to an end this morning. Cilic had a win. Do we think we will actually defeat Malta tomorrow??
Francis will not hold onto this title like Stipe did. He already has lost to Lewis and Stipe.
….makes sense Crippler…I’m gonna hire you to help me wrestle my neighbor…I need to take him down and keep him there!
Your right Gane is a great fighter with very good technical striking just a little bit raw yet. Would like to see him go against a guy like Lewis or even Blaydes whos a strong wrestler.
@ Slavonac from Canada
I really think after the first round if you do the right things he would be tired. You need to make him work in areas of the least risk like pinned on the fence, grappling scrambles, continuously making him miss his shots and working his legs to slow him down. It has to be a methodical fight with a lot of pace and continued movement.
…chopping a big guy down with repetitve legs kicks and body shots are something I think should be essential when you’re fighting someone much bigger and stronger than you.
Thanks for the insight Crippler, much appreciated.
I’m not specialist in fighting so I won’t pretend to know any of the technicalities involved. I felt the giant man fighting Miocic is able to be broken…I just feel it would have to happen in the latter portion of the fight…so the question to me is….how do you get the fight to play out until a 4rd, 4th and 5th round?
Its very hard to exchange punches with someone that big unless you’re going to jab and move…avoid the big shot and avoid the exchanges, no matter if you feel you are winning or not.
I remember watching Miocic when he was fighting Cormier and I as thinking to myself…WTF is Miocic doing??? He’s gonna lose the damn fight!!! AND THEN…he changed his strategy and Cormier starter looking like a wet paper bag…Miocic took the life outta him with those body shots.
How can a plan be assembled to do similair or at least to get the big massive dude to exert energy and then smash his ass in the latter rounds?
Francis definitely got hurt from that Stipe punch.
But Stipe was too quick and desperate to come at Francis to continue with a combination of follow up punches, and that’s when Francis connected.
The multiple knocks that put Stipe in trouble during that scramble in the first round, is what influenced his eager reaction in the second round.
All this because Francis practiced his takedown defence, and maybe a little bit of Stipe coming into the match too light and not being able to take the bigger Francis down as easily.
Miocic taking that many Francis shots during the scramble (especially a fresh Francis, very early in the fight) is a testament to how tough Stipe is. All other heavyweights would have been knocked out by those.
The UFC has been looking for any reason to hype up Francis, simply because of his sheer size and strength, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he lost to Derrick Lewis or Jon Jones.
Another guy to really watch out for is Cyril Gane. He’s just like Stipe, a true heavyweight with a complete skillset. He’s also very young at 30 and is a top 5 fighter. He’s right up there too, just unproven.
I doubt Francis will be able to keep a title defense streak like Stipe did.
I agree that Stipe is more than capable to come back, but I’m not sure if it’s worth it for him. He’s taken a lot of knocks. Not everyone can be like George Chuvamo (who seemed to be resistent to the long term effects, unlike Muhammed Ali). I don’t know if Stipe should risk further punches to the head, for minimal gain both financially and respect.
Plus, Dana White will likely make him fight Lewis or Gane, and THEN a title shot. Stipe would likely be 40+ before getting a chance. We’ll see what he does.
I hear you but when Stipe fought Francis the first time around he weighed 10 more pounds. At that time he had the speed and cardio and power. Well at least it appeared to me. Maybe this fight was just bad luck due to a few errors. Francis would of definitely gassed out if it went the distance.
Sorry forgot to put name down
Gaining the weight could be a double edged sword in terms of speed and cardio. I think back to what Frank Mir did back in the day gained all the weight and that ruined his career and what his advantage had always been. Move like a middleweight but big like a heavyweight
Great article and insight.
I noticed as well Francis was breathing heavily. If Stipe comes back I rather he wait it out like the first loss to DC and only fight for the title. Maybe gain 10 lbs. 🙂
Regardless of what he does Stipe is a stand up guy. Greatest heavy weight ever and a hell of a Croat.