The UFC heavyweight championship will be on the line at UFC 260 on March 27, 2021 when Stipe Miocic takes on Francis Ngannou for the second time. Miocic was able to take down Ngannou for his third title defense at UFC 220 a little over three years ago, but Ngannou has blasted his last four opponents to earn another shot at the belt. This promotion will take place at the UFC Apex Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
There was originally supposed to be a second title fight on the cards. Featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski was supposed to defend his strap against Brian Ortega, but that fight was postponed after Volkanovski tested positive for COVID.
Stipe Miocic vs. Francis Ngannou
Miocic has ruled the heavyweight division for most of the last five years. He won the title with a first-round knockout of Fabricio Werdum at UFC 198 in Brazil, and he secured first-round knockouts of Alistair Overeem and Junior dos Santos in his first two title defenses. Miocic beat Ngannou by unanimous decision before losing the title to Daniel Cormier six months later. He avenged that defeat at UFC 241 and then won the rubber match last August with a unanimous decision win.
It’s been a familiar pattern for Ngannou. He either ends fights early or he loses on the judges’ cards. All three of his losses came by decision, while his last eight wins have all been over in the first round. Each of those wins came in under two minutes, and seven came by knockout while one was by submission. His 20-second knockout of Jairzinho Rozenstruik last year at UFC 249 showcased his early power, but Miocic is an experienced veteran that can control the Octagon.
Tyron Woodley vs. Vicente Luque
Woodley was the welterweight champion for 33 months from July 2016 to March 2019. He won the strap over Robbie Lawler at UFC 201, and Woodley defended the belt against Stephen Thompson, Demian Maia, and Darren Till before succumbing to the indomitable Kamaru Usman two years ago at UFC 235. He has lost his two most recent fights too, so he needs a win in a bad way against Vicente Luque.
Luque has yet to defeat a top name in the UFC. He lost a unanimous decision to Stephen Thompson at UFC 244, and he wasn’t too impressive in his previous win over Mike Perry. Luque is almost a decade younger than Woodley, so he does have the youth and energy, but the former champion has the experience.
Sean O’Malley vs. Thomas Almeida
The colorful O’Malley has turned heads with more than his appearance as a fighter. He entered the Octagon three times in 2020, and he won Performance of the Night bonuses with his wins over Jose Alberto Quinonez and Eddie Wineland. O’Malley suffered his first loss at UFC 252 against Marlon Vera, and he hasn’t stepped back into the ring since that point.
Almeida was 21-0 in November 2015. However, he has lost four of his last five fights, and he has only been inside the Octagon once in the last three years. The 29-year-old was dealing with an eye injury that left him sidelined for a prolonged period, so he is hoping to make up for lost time.