Heavyweight Takes: Path to Victory at UFC 260

With another UFC PPV around the corner, we get our hard earned money ready to enjoy another Saturday night watching the great sport of MMA. As we close into fight night we prepare for the rematch between arguably the greatest heavyweight of all time, Stipe Miocic and the scariest man to walk to the octagon, Francis Ngannou. The anticipated rematch will determine the king of the UFC heavyweight division and will help thread the needle for a weight class that has been stuck for a few years. For our co-main event we have Tyron Woodley, a former champion looking to bounce back from a 3 fight losing streak against the always dangerous Brazilian, Vincent Luque. The headliner and co headliner will take place Saturday but first let’s dive into our fighters path to victory!

Co-Main Event – Tyron Woodley vs Vicente Luque

Tyron “The Chosen One” Woodley

19-6-1 MMA, 9-5-1 UFC | 7 (T)KO 5 Submissions | 5’9” (176cm) | 76” Reach

Currently the 7th ranked UFC welterweight and former UFC Welterweight Champion, Tyron Woodley is looking to return to octagon come fight night. As of late, the former champion is on a 3 fight losing streak but looks to turn it around. “The Chosen One” is 38-years-old but still has the physique from his championship reign. He has the ability to climb back the mountain and regain his title but needs to get out of the slump he’s been in. He has a tough matchup ahead of him in a fight that could ultimately define the rest of his career. With his back against the cage (no pun intended) Woodley seeks his first win since losing the welterweight title to current UFC Champion Kamaru Usman.

Path to Victory

In his past three performances Woodley hasn’t been the explosive fighter we have become accustomed to. In his fight against Vicente Luque, Woodley needs to go back to his old ways using his powerful boxing and explosive wrestling. The former champion needs to avoid being on his back foot. Luque loves to push forward with a series of combinations. As soon as his opponent does this Woodley needs to explode forward with his hooks. He did this exact thing in his fight against Robbie Lawler. He waited for the perfect time and let off a devastating hook which gave him the finish.

Tyron Woodley knocks out Robbie Lawler to capture the UFC Welterweight title at UFC 201.

Originally tweeted by Tommo (@kopractice) on July 31, 2016.

As long as Tyron Woodley can control the fight standing he should win the fight. Controlling the fight will consist of being in the center or having Luque on his heels. He will need to use his explosive boxing when Luque tries to throw strikes. This is the former champions path to victory. If he can do this he will be back in the win column on Saturday night.

Vicente “The Silent Assassin” Luque

19-7-1 MMA, 12-3 UFC | 11 (T)KOs 6 Submissions | 5’11” (180cm) | 76” Reach

The #10 ranked UFC welterweight competitor and former ultimate fighter participant Vicente Luque looks to take out a former world champion and add another win to his impressive UFC career. Luque has beaten the likes of Niko Price (2x), Mike Perry, and Belal Muhammad. He currently rides a 2-fight win streak and looks to make it 3 fights in a row but first let’s take a look at his path to victory.

Path to Victory

Cool, calm, collected. Three words that describe Vicente Luque as a person and as a fighter. Luque never seems to lose his composure and always looks to finish the fight. “The Silent Assassin” is the perfect nickname for Luque. In order to beat Woodley on fight night he just needs to stay calm, pick his shots and continue pushing the forward pace. In his fight with Derrick Krantz he showed true patience. Much like Tyron Woodley, Krantz exploded towards Luque with heavy shots followed by a takedown. The Brazilian stayed patient, eventually got up to his feet and finished the fight in the first round.

Vicente Luque finishes Derrick Krantz at UFC Rochester.

Originally tweeted by Fanaticos del MMA GT (@fanaticosMMAGT) on May 18, 2019.

In order to beat Woodley, he will have to anticipate the explosiveness and try to time a counter punch or look to take him down. The counter punch will make his opponent hesitate and think more about coming in and the takedowns will help set up strikes. Making Woodley hesitate by being first and countering has been a major part to his losing streak. If Luque can take away his opponents ability to go he will eventually win the fight.

The attempted takedowns off of his opponents exploding pressure will help Luque deny the forward attack. It will also help set up his counter punching and strikes. When his opponent comes forward and sees Luque changing levels for a takedown he will lower his guard. This will allow him to fake takedown attempts and come over the top with a looping hook or a powerful overhand putting Woodley down to the canvas.

Main Event – Stipe Miocic vs Francis Ngannou

Stipe Miocic

20-3 MMA, 14-3 UFC | 15 (T)KOs | 6’4” (194cm) | 80” Reach

The Heavyweight Champion of the world, Stipe Miocic! Many consider him to be the greatest heavyweight of all time and his résumé proves it. He has beaten the likes of Alistair Overeem, Junior Dos Santos, Fabricio Werdum, Daniel Cormier (2x), and his opponent Saturday night Francis Ngannou. He has a chance to make it 2 in a row and solidify his “G.O.A.T” status. Let’s take a look at how the champ can make it 2-0 against his opponent Saturday night.

Path to Victory

Miocic needs to focus on wrestling and wearing him down just like the first fight. Ngannou hasn’t displayed any improvements since his loss to Miocic. The only difference is his physique. As long as the champion can do what he did the first time around he should win.

Stipe Miocic defeated Francis Ngannou at UFC 220 to reclaim his UFC Heavyweight Championship.

Originally tweeted by Jon Realejo (@BloodyCanvasJon) on Jan 20, 2020.

Miocic needs to capitalize on shooting takedowns as Ngannou presses forwards with his strikes. As soon as he gets the takedown Miocic needs to do anything to fatigue him. The best way to do this is attacking the body, covering Ngannou’s mouth with his hand, and holding him down with his wrestling/transitions.

Another key to his victory is to utilize the cage. The cage can be utilized to fatigue Ngannou as well. In the first fight Stipe put his weight on him while Ngannou moved and tried to get up off the cage. Miocic needs to stay sharp and just try to wear Ngannou out.

Francis “The Predator” Ngannou

15-3 MMA, 10-2 UFC | 11 (T)KOs 4 Submissions | 6’4” (194cm) | 83” Reach

Holding the number 1 contender spot, Francis Ngannou looks to capture UFC gold. It’s not his first time trying to achieve a UFC title. In his first fight with Stipe Miocic, Ngannou learned many lessons. He was humbled and now looks to take what he believes is his. Since his loss to the champion, Ngannou piled on a 4-fight win streak beating Curtis Blaydes, Cain Velasquez, Junior Dos Santos and Jairzinho Rozenstruik. On Saturday night Francis Ngannou will make the walk to the octagon but first let’s dive into his path to victory.

Path to Victory

It’s well known that Francis Ngannou has KO power and the ability to finish a fight. All of his 15 wins have come by way of stoppage and 11 of those are by knockout.

Francis Ngannou knocks out Jairzinho Rozenstruik ay UFC 249.

Originally tweeted by WhatsUpMMA (@whatsup_mma) on May 10, 2020.

Although Ngannou has power, he can’t look to blitz the champion. If he does, he will be taken down. Instead he needs to stay patient and pick his shots. If he can stay patient Ngannou will be able to win this fight. Patience is the biggest key to this fight along with his wrestling defense.

In the first fight, “The Predator” showed his lack of wrestling experience. Even though he hasn’t showcased any in his previous fights, many of his coaches have said he has improved. If this is the case Ngannou must look to deny the takedown attempts of Miocic. He will need to keep the fight standing and control the center of the octagon. If Ngannou can apply all these components on fight night, he will be victorious!

UFC 260: Miocic vs Ngannou will air Saturday, March 27th, on ESPN and ESPN+ at 10 pm ET. Watch the fights and see who emerges victorious on the evening. More importantly, tune in to see if they can execute on their “Path to Victory”.

Michael Ramos

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