Cormier’s a funny fish. ‘DC’ divides opinion amongst most MMA fans and I’m one of them. Sometimes he annoys the absolute crap out of me and then other times I feel sorry for him because he got so shafted chasing Jon Jones for half his career.
Whatever side of the fence you’re on, there’s no denying he’s a tough fighter to go up against. Experienced, decent boxing skills, good chin and exceptional wrestling make him extremely awkward to beat.
Oezdemir on the other hand is relatively green, with just three UFC fights under his belt. He’s been impressive in all of them though, establishing himself as a knockout artist with concrete power in both hands.
Cormier will definitely look to keep things relatively tight early on, avoiding any early exchanges before he shoots for the takedown. And he’ll eventually get it – his wrestling is too good. Oezdemir hasn’t faced anyone of Cormier’s pedigree before and will need to keep things on the feet to stand a chance at winning. I just don’t see it happening over five rounds.
If this wasn’t a heavyweight bout we’d be backing Stipe all day – if that makes any sort of sense. The American is vastly more experienced and boasts a more rounded MMA game. Technically, he’s superior on all levels. However, this is the heavyweight division and size and power often count more than technical ability.
Ngannou is a man mountain. Standing 6’4”, the Cameroonian is the perfect mix between Ivan Drago and Mike Tyson. And while he doesn’t tower over Miocic (he’s big too), his sheer physicality will surely play a major role in the fight. If you’re unsure of his power, just watch him flooring his poor pads man below. I could probably do that in fairness – if I was kicking a child. Not a grown man! With pads on.
Anyway, Ngannou still has lots to prove in terms of stamina, technical ability and heart but all that is generally tested beyond the end of the first round bell. Stipe may make it to the second round but I can’t see him avoiding being caught at least once. And if that’s the case, then it’s ‘light out see you later Stipe’, just as Overeem and Andre Arlovski experienced.
We crown a new champ. Ngannou to win by KO at 8/11.
The double pays 6/1:
Ngannou by KO @ 8/11
Daniel Cormier on Points @ 7/2
*all prices correct at time of posting