Francis Ngannou secures UFC heavyweight title with KO of Stipe Miocic in UFC 260

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“The Predator” nabbed his prey: the UFC heavyweight title.

A patient Francis Ngannou stalked Stipe Miocic with measured aggression before a torrid assault of left hands put down the champion at 52 seconds of the second round on Saturday night at UFC Apex in Las Vegas.

Ngannou (16-3, 16 finishes), who lost to Miocic (20-4, 15 finishes) via lopsided decision on Jan. 20, 2018, in his first bid to become the champion, displayed improved ability to stuff takedowns that made it easier to land his vaunted power punches.

“It was a great benefit from that fight,” Ngannou said on the pay-per-view broadcast after the fight. “And I believe that benefit pushed me, rose me higher.”

The win, his fifth in a row and all via (T)KO, sets up Ngannou’s first title defense against former longtime light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, who will make his debut in this weight class when the two step into the cage.

“For my opinion, Jon Jones is the greatest of all time for mixed martial arts,” Ngannou said. “… This time, he’s gonna be the challenger. I am the champ. He’s coming up. I’m ready any time.”

Ngannou began the opening frame as the patient aggressor, but thwarted a Miocic takedown attempt and capitalized with a strong flurry. The incumbent champ spent the majority of the round on the outside, moving laterally but rarely throwing strikes in a clear round for the challenger.

The momentum carried over for Ngannou, who 40 seconds in hammered the now-former champion with a punishing left that put Miocic in major trouble. While Miocic managed a solid right backing away from a flurry of rights and a right uppercut, Ngannou found the chin again with a left hook and put his opponent down for good, as an unconscious Miocic’s left leg bent back under him as he fell. Ngannou got in an extra hammerfist to his downed foe before the referee could arrive to intervene, then calmly walked off.

“He touched me with that punch, but I was set back, stepping back,” Ngannou said. “He did the mistake of following me, maybe thought that I was hurt or something, and then that’s when I caught him.”

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