Francis Ngannou, a surging contender’s hype train came to slow down in the main event of UFC 220, as he was out-wrestled and out-paced, by UFC heavyweight champ Stipe Miocic.
A one-punch knockout win over Alistair Overeem in his previous outing made Francis Ngannou a betting favorite over current champion Stipe Miocic heading into their mega title fight last Saturday night and had many conceiving another quick, brutal finish for the man that UFC brass Dana White was predicting could be the promotion’s next big thing.
Ngannou had moments of success in the opening two rounds but was unable to cope with Stipe Miocic’s wrestling-heavy gameplan, which earned the heavyweight champ a clear-cut unanimous decision victory.
While UFC color commentator Joe Rogan on recent episode of The JRE MMA Show Podcast, saying that he’s heard Ngannou didn’t even train grappling ahead of UFC 220, and kind of preparation is unacceptable in the modern era of MMA.
“Before, everyone was saying, ‘Oh my God, he’s in tremendous shape, everything is amazing,’” Rogan said (transcribed by MMAJunkie.com). “Then afterwards it’s like, ‘Oh, he doesn’t train on the ground.’ What? He doesn’t train on the ground? They go, ‘All he wants to do is strike.’ You can’t let him do that. You can’t let him.”
“He’s going to fight a Division-1 wrestler,” he continued. “How is he going to do this? How is going to stand up? He’s going to magically get up? You have to train it.”
Francis Ngannou was lost when the fight hit the ground and admitted that he underestimated champ Stipe at the post-fight press conference. Despite his relative inexperience, Cameroonian still troubled Miocic early on and was a threat for the entire five rounds. After his loss to Miocic, Ngannou repeatedly mentions this the greatest learning experience of his career thus far.
“I’ve been in this sport only four years, and I know I’ll keep learning and improving,” Ngannou said at the UFC 220 post-fight press conference. “What happened tonight was the last step for me to learn about this sport, because it’s the only thing I’ve never faced – a five-round fight, and how to deal with it. I made a mistake, and that will not happen again.”
“I came here today to win the fight,” he continued. “I just discovered a new part [of the game] that I was ignorant about.”
“The problem is I underestimated my opponent, and I went too hard in the first round, and he was tougher than I thought. So [Miocic] resisted, and he put together a better game plan than me.”
“I’m going to keep improving and come back stronger than I was,” Ngannou concluded. “I learned more [in this fight] than I did in the past four years.”
Do you guys agree with Joe Rogan?