Betting Guide for UFC 260: Miocic vs. Ngannou 2

Fireworks should be expected for the rematch between Stipe Miocic and Francis Ngannou at UFC 260.

Ngannou is a -130 favorite over Miocic (+108) on FanDuel Sportsbook despite the underdog and current champ, Miocic, winning the first bout by unanimous decision (50-44, 50-44, 50-44) at UFC 220 back in January of 2018.

The rest of the card is a little light after a featherweight title fight was canceled due to COVID-19 protocols and, in total, four other fights initially scheduled for this card were moved or canceled.

It does, at least, feature a welterweight bout between Tyron Woodley (the 7th-ranked contender in the division) and Vicente Luque (10th).

So. The name value may be a bit depressed, but where is the betting value? Let's break it down.

Stipe Miocic (+108) vs. Francis Ngannou (-130)

I usually like to look at things from a wide lens and not get enamored with the marquee fights that are coin flips. That leads to avoiding some title fights and instead looking at the prelims and undercard for my bets, but I'm going at this one because -- why not?

Stipe Miocic, the heavyweight champion, is an underdog. Miocic is 8-1-0 since 2015, his lone loss coming to Daniel Cormier in July 2018, which he avenged the following year to win back the heavyweight championship.

Ngannou is a career 15-3-0, but of course, Miocic handed him one of those losses back in January 2018. Ngannou then lost a second straight unanimous decision to Derrick Lewis before ripping off four straight electric first-round knockouts. Over his past four fights, the longest he's been in the Octagon is 71 seconds. That is wild.

The paths to this fight are pretty clear if you look at the data -- and the past results: Ngannou could end it early, but if he doesn't, then Stipe has an advantage -- virtually everywhere.

Fighter Data
(via UFCStats.com)
Strikes Landed per Minute 4.90 2.23
Striking Accuracy 52% 37%
Strikes Absorbed per Minute 3.75 2.03
Striking Defense 55% 47%
Takedown Average per 15 Minutes 1.92 0.0
Takedown Accuracy 34% 0%
Takedown Defense 70% 71%
Submission Average per 15 Minutes 0.0 0.5

It's pretty evident how each fighter wins this thing.

It's clear that the bookmakers are prepping for a finish: this fight to end by KO/TKO is -380 (around 79.2% likely).

In their first fight, Miocic landed 73% of his significant strikes (70 of 95) and Ngannou landed just 18% (21 of 113). We saw a distinct drop-off in Ngannou's strike rate in the first fight, too.

Ngannou Significant Strikes
by Round
vs. Miocic at UFC 220
Round 1156224.2%
Round 242714.8%
Round 31812.5%
Round 4030.0%
Round 51137.7%

Not only did Ngannou struggle to land strikes at all, the downward trend was pretty obvious for him.

Playing part in that is that Miocic secured 6 takedowns on 14 attempts (a 42% success rate). He was in control for 15:05 in total and for at least 1:58 in all five rounds.

Now, if you want to bet Ngannou to win, you may as well just pass on the -130 outright and go for the -105 odds to win by KO/TKO.

But I'm banking on Miocic to avoid the quick finish and win himself, which is fair enough at +108. Ngannou hasn't been finished in any of his three losses, so I don't want to overextend for any sort of finishing prop when we're already getting plus money on Miocic to defend.

Sean O'Malley (-330) vs. Thomas Almeida (+265)

Sean O'Malley is a heavy favorite in this bantamweight fight, and that's telling.

Among UFC fights between 2010 and 2020, fighters with odds between -320 and -340 have won 77.1% of the time.

O'Malley, has earned 8 knockout decisions in 13 fights, a 61.5% rate. He is coming off of his first professional loss by a first-round knockout (versus Marlon Vera at UFC 252).

Thomas Almeida is on some kind of skid, going 1-4-0 in his past five UFC fights with three straight losses. Two of those past five were losses by knockout, which is why I'm mentioning this fight.

FanDuel Sportsbook is offering an odds boost for O'Malley's knockout prop, jumping it from +140 to +230. Again, O'Malley has secured 75% of his 12 wins by knockout.

Though Almeida lands a ton of significant strikes of his own (5.39 per minute, 7th-best of 22 fighters on the card), O'Malley ranks 4th (6.35), and Almeida eats 4.69 significant strikes per minute, a below-average rate for the card.

Miranda Maverick (-158) vs. Gillian Robertson (+134)

This women's flyweight bout is one of the tighter fights on the card based on the win odds after Miranda Maverick's odds shifted from -172 to -158, but it's by no means a who-knows? matchup from a data standpoint.

Maverick is on a tear in her professional career with four straight wins (three by stoppage) and scored a TKO by doctor stoppage in her UFC debut at UFC 254 over Liana Jojua. Though that does make her UFC sample tiny -- just five minutes -- we saw great data from her by way of a 9.80-significant-strikes-landed-per-minute rate -- with tons of power -- and was 9 of 9 on leg strikes.

Robertson certainly holds the advantage in total Octagon time with more than 80 minutes but is an even 2-2-0 in her past four (though 4-2-0 since the start of 2019).

What really stands out here is the submission rate for each fighter. Maverick has scored a submission win in 5 of her 10 professional fights, and Robertson has done it in 6 of her 14, so nearly half for each (and the majority of their wins have come by submission for each fighter).

The oddsmakers expect this one to go the distance, listing the decision by points at -150, by submission at +270, and by KO/TKO at +320.

So long as Maverick keeps this fight standing, she seems primed for a 2-0 UFC start.

Khama Worthy (-134) vs. Jamie Mullarkey (+110)

The odds in this fight feel tighter than they should be. Khama Worthy is 2-1-0 to start his UFC career (with two wins by finish), and Jamie Mullarkey is 0-2-0 (both by unanimous decision).

That gives us 30 minutes of Octagon time for Mullarkey and just over 18 for Worthy, and the data couldn't be much different for the two fighters.

Worthy has landed 4.12 significant strikes per minute on a 47% success rate, and Mullarkey has landed just 1.87 per minute (21st of 22 fighters on the card) on a 33% success rate (22nd of 22). Also problematic for Mullarkey is that he has eaten 4.60 significant strikes per minute (15th-best on the card) and defended them at a 42% rate (21st).

Mullarkey, though, has averaged 4.0 takedowns per 15 minutes to rank second on the card; Worthy has stuffed 4 of 7 takedown attempts, all from his fight against Luis Pena (who has landed just 33% of his attempts in his career, so it's not that impressive). That could lead to the Australian, Mullarkey, controlling the fight on the mat. That's really his path to victory.

Worthy, who has fared better back at lightweight than at featherweight, is my pick here outright at -134. He's +190 to win by KO/TKO, he has won 9 of his 16 victories by knockout, and Mullarkey is no stranger to taking a punch.