It's official, boys and girls!
Stipe Miocic will try to make history as the only heavyweight champion to defend the belt four times, but will have to overcome the heavy blow Francis Ngannou at UFC 220 in Boston on January 20 to do so. The fight, which UFC President Dana White declared a top priority for the company, was confirmed to Ariel Helwani of MMA Fighting through sources close to the fighters.
Ngannou comes from a mbadive victory at UFC 218 where Alistair Overeem knocked out one of the biggest uppercuts we've seen in MMA. The fight was Ngannou's first in several months, but solidified his position as the # 1 contender in the heavyweight division. Ngannou is 6-0 in the UFC since he arrived at the end of 2015 and 11-1 in his career. He has won all four of his last fights in less than two minutes.
Meanwhile, Stipe Miocic has not fought since May because of a salary dispute, but all that has been resolved. He launches into UFC 220 on a five-fight winning streak with five knockouts, the last four in the first round. Most recently, he defeated Junior dos Santos in 2:22 at UFC 211 in Texas.
Despite his stellar record and victories over many of the best heavyweight division fighters, Miocic remains a +130 loser in this fight against Ngannou's favorite state -160. That probably has to do with Ngannou's ability to knock out a punch, but we have to ask if the bookmakers are considering Miocic's superior ground skills.
All in all, it's going to be a very interesting battle and a great way for the UFC to start its pay-per-view in 2018. Who's winning, Maniacs?