UFC 260 ushers in new era as Ngannou reaches the mountain top
Updated: May 22, 2021
Francis Ngannou conquers and captivates
If you know this man’s story, you can’t help but be overcome with joy for the new Heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou (16-3-0).
In just under six minutes, “The Predator” walked through arguably the greatest heavyweight fighter in history.
This fight was heralded as the “Biggest Rematch in UFC History,” and while the contest was completely one-sided, Ngannou’s crowning moment certainly felt historic.
As for the fight, Ngannou came out of the gate calculated. After a textbook stuff of Stipe Miocic’s (20-4-0) first takedown attempt, an eeriness took over the crowd.
That was the sound of fear because the hardest hitter on the planet has now evolved into a well-rounded mixed martial artist. That stuffed takedown led to an exchange that nearly ended the fight then and there.
The first round concluded and it was apparent that Miocic was a sitting duck. He was thoroughly outmatched by Ngannou’s knockout power and couldn’t successfully take him down as he did in their first matchup six times.
On Miocic’s first attempt at closing the distance in the second round, Ngannou caught the champ with a stiff jab sending him to the mat. Miocic displayed the heart of a champion, but the challenger smelled blood in the water and he would not be denied.
Just six years into his training as a professional fighter, Ngannou has reached the pinnacle of the sport and true dream matchups are now on the horizon.
Waiting at the front of the line, none other than Jon “Bones” Jones (26-1-0, 1 NC), the light heavyweight G.O.A.T. who is making his highly-anticipated transition to heavyweight.
What Ngannou now presents for the UFC is their most box office attraction at the marquee division, something the UFC hasn’t had arguably since the days of Brock Lesnar.
The next time Ngannou steps into the octagon, no matter the opponent, the world will be watching.
Luque Impresses in Co-Main Event, Woodley’s Losing Streak Reaches 4
Vincente Luque (20-7-1) has a few reasons to celebrate following his submission victory of Tyron Woodley (19-7-1).
To go along with a baby boy on the way, his coming out party was confirmed and successful after defeating the former Welterweight champ.
In a back and forth bout that lasted just under four minutes, Luque displayed his mixed bag of talents. As a striker, he’s dangerous and not afraid to go for the knockout, yet he’s also a skilled technician still with an array of submissions at his disposal.
What made this bout the fight of the night, is that Woodley (at 38 years old) left it all in the octagon. Immediately after the opening bell he rushed for a takedown before a prolific exchange that nearly ended Luque’s night early.
However, the emerging contender remained composed, dishing out punishment in return.
This was as active a four-minute fight as you’ll find in recent memory. Though Woodley’s contract with the UFC is up after this fight, he displayed enough to suggest he wants to continue competing at a high level at least once more.
“Sugar” Sean O’Malley returns in highlight form
Following a disappointing loss in his previous fight, the formerly undefeated Sean O’Malley (13-1-0) returned to his winning ways.
Hands down, O’Malley still possesses the swagger of an undefeated fighter who believes they are amongst the best in the world. That confidence was almost to his detriment however.
In the first round, O’Malley dropped his opponent in round one and walked off without the referee’s official stoppage. He must have underestimated the heart of his opponent Thomas Almeida (22-5-0).
When he could’ve handily wrapped up a first-round TKO, O’Malley’s showmanship extended the fight to nearly a full 15 minutes.
But he did eventually finish Almeida, leaving him with a fourth consecutive loss.
It’s boom-or-bust time with O’Malley, whose undeniable talent is ready to be tested against the division’s best.
Highlights from the rest of the card include Jamie Mullarkey’s flash knockout at 46 seconds of the opening round and a 23-year-old Miranda Maverick also continuing her ascension, now on a seven-fight winning streak.
Abubakar Nurmagomedov, cousin and protégé of the great Khabib, was also dominant on the prelims in his first fight since 2019. With the legend in his corner, Abubakar’s ascent could be imminent.