Francis Ngannou Flattens Stipe Miocic, Claims Heavyweight Crown in UFC 260 Headliner

By Brian Knapp Mar 27, 2021

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Francis Ngannou carries a different kind of power in his massive fists.

The Xtreme Couture rep avenged a 2018 defeat in resounding fashion, as he blew away Stipe Miocic with punches and captured the undisputed Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight title in the second round of their UFC 260 headliner on Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Miocic (20-4, 14-4 UFC) succumbed to blows 52 seconds into Round 2.

Ngannou (16-3, 11-2 UFC) fought at a frighteningly measured pace from the start, picking his spots while he probed for openings. He sprawled out of a Miocic takedown in the first round, punished him with crushing ground-and-pound and set the stage for what was to come. Ngannou put the Euclid, Ohio, native on unsteady feet with a short but devastating left hook early in Round 2, ate a right hand in return and then uncorked a left hook that sent the champion careening backward, his right leg bending awkwardly beneath him. One final hammerfist drew the curtain and gave rise to the latest “Baddest Man on the Planet.”

Luque Choke Vanquishes Woodley

Cerrado MMA export Vicente Luque dispatched Tyron Woodley with a brabo choke in the first round of their welterweight co-main event. Submitted for the first time in 27 professional outings, Woodley (19-7-1, 9-6-1 UFC) conceded defeat 3:56 into Round 1 before appearing to lose consciousness.

Luque (20-7-1, 13-3 UFC) did not escape unscathed. Woodley stormed out of the gate with some rediscovered aggression and buzzed the tower with a pair of overhand rights, the Brazilian’s legs seeming to buckle beneath him. Luque withstood his brush with potential disaster and turned the tide in an instant with a counter right hand of his own. A badly staggered Woodley stumbled across the cage but found no reprieve. Luque swarmed with a variety of strikes, drove him to the canvas and locked in the choke. Woodley struggled to free himself, only to find all avenues of escape cut off.

The 29-year-old Luque has pieced together three straight victories.

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O’Malley Wrecks Spiraling Almeida

MMA Lab standout Sean O'Malley rebounded from his Aug. 15 loss to Marlon Vera and did so in style, as he disposed of Thomas Almeida with punches in the third round of their featured bantamweight battle. Winless since 2016, the once-ballyhooed Almeida (22-5, 5-5 UFC) bowed out 3:52 into Round 3.

O’Malley (13-1, 5-1 UFC) controlled virtually every second of the fight. He dazed Almeida with a head kick in the first round, dropped him with a left hook and stepped away in a bid for a walk-off knockout. However, the Brazilian was not yet finished. Almeida recovered despite significant damage to his nose and waded forward into further danger. O’Malley connected on a counter left late in the third round, followed his suddenly supine adversary and uncorked a devastating standing-to-ground right hand that brought it to an emphatic close.

Almeida, 29, now finds himself in a four-fight tailspin.

Surging Maverick Sings Robertson

Invicta Fighting Championships Phoenix Series 2 tournament winner Miranda Maverick moved one step closer to joining the Top 15 at 125 pounds, as she laid claim to a unanimous decision over Gillian Robertson in a three-round women’s flyweight feature. Maverick (9-2, 2-0 UFC) carried all three scorecards: 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28.

Robertson (9-6, 6-4 UFC) was overmatched in the standup exchanges but nevertheless made life difficult for the 23-year-old prospect. The Din Thomas protégé advanced to Maverick’s back in the second round and threatened her with an armbar from the bottom in the third. However, the stretches in between were not kind to Robertson. Maverick struck for repeated takedowns, enjoyed considerable control time and piled up points with ground-and-pound.

Maverick has rattled off five straight victories.

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Mullarkey Levels Favored Worthy

Magnus MMA export Jamie Mullarkey wiped out Khama Worthy with punches in the first round of their lightweight showcase. Worthy (16-8, 2-2 UFC) met his end 46 seconds into Round 1, as the Pittsburgh native suffered his second setback in as many appearances.

Mullarkey (13-4, 1-2 UFC) feinted a right hand and connected with a perfectly time left hook. Worthy’s legs gave way underneath him, as he collapsed forward and ate a follow-up right hand before referee Chris Tognoni could arrive on the scene.

The win was Mullarkey’s first since May 3, 2019.

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