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411’s UFC 260 Report: Ngannou Becomes Champion

March 28, 2021 | Posted by Robert Winfree
UFC 260

UFC 260 MAIN CARD (Pay-per-view, 10 p.m. ET)

Champ Stipe Miocic (234 lbs.) vs. #1 Francis Ngannou (263 lbs.) – for heavyweight title
#10 Vicente Luque (170.5 lbs.) vs. #7 Tyron Woodley (171 lbs.)
Thomas Almeida (136 lbs.) vs. Sean O’Malley (136 lbs.)
Miranda Maverick (126 lbs.) vs. #15 Gillian Robertson (125.5 lbs.)
Jamie Mullarkey (155.5 lbs.) vs. Khama Worthy (155.5 lbs.)

Fabio Cherant (206.5 lbs.)* vs. Alonzo Menifield (205 lbs.)
Jared Gooden (171 lbs.) vs. Abubakar Nurmagomedov (170.5 lbs.)
Modestas Bukauskas (205.5 lbs.) vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk (206 lbs.)
Omar Morales (146 lbs.) vs. Shane Young (145.5 lbs.)

Abu Azaitar (185.5 lbs.) vs. Marc-Andre Barriault (185 lbs.)

Hello everyone and welcome to 411mania’s LIVE coverage of UFC 260. I’m Robert Winfree and I’ll be your host for the evening. The UFC is back on PPV tonight and is bringing a heavyweight main event. UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic is in his second stint as champion, beat Daniel Cormier twice in his last couple of fights and is now looking to extend that title reign in a rematch with Francis Ngannou. Ngannou was bested by Miocic a few years ago in his first title shot, but his current win and finish streak has prompted a second fight with Miocic. Unfortunately this card lost a darn good co-main event last week when UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski had to be withdrawn from his title defense against Brian Ortega due to a positive COVID test. A few other fights have fallen out, ultimately giving us a 10 fight card. So let’s all hope we get some good action.

UFC 260 comes to the world from the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. On commentary we have John Anik, Joe Rogan, and Daniel Cormier so expect a severe lack of professionalism and a broadcast that feels like a podcast. As for the rules we’re mostly under the new set with the exception of the downed fighter rule (you only need one hand down on the mat to be considered downed) and the replay official. Nevada has an official outside of the cage who can call for instant replay if desired, as can the in cage official, and the fight can be restarted after replay is used if that’s applicable. Also keep in mind that the Apex is designed with the smaller 25 foot diameter cage instead of the usual 30 footer.

Marc-Andre Barriault has yet to win in the UFC, going 0-3 with 1 No Contest during his time in the promotion. Now Barriault is almost certainly fighting for his job as he tries to get that first UFC win under his belt. Abu Azaitar is unbeaten in his last 10 fights, including a successful UFC debut but he’s been out of action since July of 2018. Azaitar is hoping to extend his streak tonight and remind everyone that he’s a prospect of note in the division. In the battle between a winless UFC run and a nearly 3 year layoff the odds closed at an even -110 pick ’em.

Middleweight Bout: Abu Azaitar (14-2-1, 185.5 lbs.) vs. Marc-Andre Barriault (11-4 1 NC, 185 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Barriault is four inches taller but Azaitar has two inches of reach advantage. Azaitar jabbing early, aiming at the body and head. Barriault pressing forward, lands a bit of a leg kick. Short left from Barriault then a right, Azaitar responds with body shots and forces a clinch on the fence. Barriault uses an under hook to spin Azaitar into the cage, they trade knees but Azaitar took one to the groin so we’ve got a timeout. About 30 seconds later we’re back to fighting. Azaitar throwing some heat again on the restart, but Barriault gets a clinch and they hit the fence. Both men with knees while they fight for position. Barriault lands an elbow, Azaitar with a knee to the head and some punches. Azaitar lands body shots as they break the clinch. One two from Barriault. Both men miss punches and they clinch again. More knees are traded, Barriault with the body shots in close now. Short elbow from Barriault. Azaitar lands a knee and they break. Leg kick from Azaitar. They fight into the clinch again, Azaitar is edging this with his work rate but might be fading a bit in the cardio department. They break then Azaitar lands a front kick. Leg kick from Azaitar counters a Barriault jab. Barriault lands a right to counter a leg kick. Azaitar lands a leg kick. They trade to the body in close to close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Azaitar

ROUND TWO: Barriault is a bit more comfortable with this kind of grueling dog fight, Azaitar is breathing a little heavy as we begin the second. They trade leg kicks, then front kicks to the body. Barriault is slowly punching Azaitar back towards the fence. A couple of punches land for Barriault. Knee ot the body from Barriault, Azaitar lands a right. A few body shots land for Azaitar, we get time as one of those from Azaitar was low. Barriault doesn’t want long and we’re back to fighting. Some stance switches from Barriault now, they trade leg kicks again. Barriault with an uppercut, then more in the clinch but Azaitar lands a right and they clinch up. More rights from Barriault as they break. Uppercut from Barriault, this pace is pretty brutal. Azaitar gets a clinch and looks for a takedown but Barriault defends and puts him on the fence. They trade in the clinch again, Barriault working short elbows as they break and Barriault is right back on the pressure. Azaitar lands a leg kick but is punched into the fence again. Barriault lands an uppercut in the clinch, he’s happy to just keep the pace high. Azaitar lands a front kick to the body but his power is diminishing as he gets more tired. Barriault punches close, they trade in there again then Barriault lands a couple of rights at distance. Another right from Barriault, he’s marching Azaitar down against the fence. They clinch again, Barriault is working just a brutal pace and is breaking Azaitar down. They trade some arm punches as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Barriault, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: The left side of Azaitar’s face is swelling and bruised up, though both men are wearing the signs of battle. Both men jabbing again as the round begins. Barriault pressuring forward again, despite the leg kicks from Azaitar. Right then left from Barriault. Barriault lands a couple of hard rights, Azaitar is staggered. More punches form Barriault, Azaitar lost his mouthpiece and reaches for it then Barriault punches him over and gets on top in half guard. They get Azaitar’s mouthpiece back in, and Barriault is working ground and pound from half guard. Azaitar has no control over the posture, Barriault is just abusing him and moves to full mount. There’s 3 minutes left. More elbows from Barriault, he postures up and lands punches. Azaitar is trying to defend but he’s dead tired and in the worst position possible. Azaitar moves to his knees, Barriault punches him and moves into side control then back to full mount. Almost an S-mount for Barriault, he’s in a high mount and landing blows. Azaitar gives up the back again, Barriault works to flatten him down then just forces him to a hip and punches him again. Barriault winds up in the ride position, then full mount again, he’s floating from mount to back mount and landing blows. They really could stop this fight. One final flurry from Barriault gets the stoppage with about 10 seconds left.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Marc-Andre Barriault via TKO, strikes, at 4:56 of Round 3

The Final Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Barriault for his work this evening. Sloppy but brutal in a good way, at least for my sensibilities. Mic time for Barriault, he says he worked a lot for this fight and had to be aggressive against a brawler like Azaitar. He feels the first round was just getting his bearings and after that he fought like himself. To close he gives thanks to all the Canadian fans in French.

This was budding up against 10-7 territory for me, the ref finally stops it here as Barriault continues his barrage of offense.

That’s it for the early prelims, on to ESPN for the other preliminary fights.

Shane Young has gone 2-2 in the UFC, he’s coming off of that loss though and is trying to elevate his above the .500 mark. Omar Morales has gone 2-1 in the UFC but is coming off of his first career loss, he’s trying to avoid his first ever losing streak. Morales is your favorite at -200 to +175 on Young.

Featherweight Bout: Omar Morales (10-1, 146 lbs.) vs. Shane Young (13-5, 145.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Morales is three inches taller but has just half an inch of reach advantage. Morales circling early, Young feinting his way forward. Both men trying to get a feel for things, Young starts jabbing the body to provoke Morales. Young checks a leg kick. Morales lands a kick to the groin but Young just fights through it. Bit of a head kick from Morales. Morales lands a knee as Young forces a clinch and gets things to the fence. Morales gets behind and lands a knee then a mat return, but Young bounces back up. Young spins Morales into the fence. Morales lands an uppercut and then spins Young to the cage. Both men fighting for position, Young lands an elbow as they break. Short punches are traded as Young gets another clinch. Morales lands a knee to the body. The round ends as they trade elbows on the break.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Morales but a close one

ROUND TWO: Both men circling again to start the second round. Morales lands a leg kick but Young catches it and gets a takedown into half guard. Young thinks about sitting back for a leg lock, that lets Morales kick him off and regain his feet. Stiff jab from Morales. Young checks another calf kick. Morales can’t find that calf kick and it’s throwing him off a bit. Young forces another clinch, they trade knees then break. Another jab to the body from Young. Morales lands a calf kick. A few long distance body shots from Young. Young pressing forward again, avoids a head kick. A few lefts land for Morales then a follow up right and now Morales is coming forward. Wheel kick from Morales. Combination from Morales, they clinch up and that’s where the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Morales, 20-18 Morales overall

ROUND THREE: Young jabbing and backing up Morales again. Calf kick from Young. Morales with a few leg kicks of his own. They clinch up and start fighting for position. Young is after a takedown, Morales defends and lands an elbow. Body lock takedown for Morales and he lands in side control. Young builds up quickly and is back up in the clinch, then they spin free. Morales with jabs and leg kicks. Young lands a right, they clinch again and Morales lands another knee to the body. A bit of an elbow from Young as they break. Young is right back on the pressure, Morales lands a leg kick. That jab from Morales is giving Young problems now. Young lands a body shot but he’s struggled to find meaningful offense. Morales lands a right. More jabs from Morales, Young lands a right in return. Young ducks under a head kick, gets a clinch, then they break and Morales lands a bit of a back fist to close out the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Morales, 30-27 Morales overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Omar Morales via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)

No interview for Morales, not a bad fight but ultimately a very pedestrian and forgettable one.

Modestas Bukauskas just had a seven fight winning streak snapped when he ran into Jimmy Crute in his second UFC fight, he’s trying to bounce back from that loss and resume his winning ways. Michal Oleksiejczuk has gone 2-2 with 1 No Contest during his time in the UFC, but he’s on a two fight losing streak and if he wants to salvage his UFC time he cannot afford a third consecutive loss tonight. The odds are with Oleksiejczuk at -165 to +145 for Bukauskas.

Light Heavyweight Bout: Modestas Bukauskas (11-3, 205.5 lbs.) vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk (14-4, 206 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Bukauskas is three inches taller and has four inches of reach advantage. They touch gloves, Oleksiejczuk fighting southpaw. Bukauskas misses a few kicks. Oleksiejczuk lands a left hand. A left to the body from Oleksiejczuk, Bukauskas hits a left hook to counter. Bukauskas lands a front kick to the body, Oleksiejczuk lands a looping left. Oleksiejczuk avoids a takedown, lands a left and separates. They clinch up but Oleksiejczuk slips free quickly. One two from Bukauskas, he’s got Oleksiejczuk hurt and backs him up with punches then a kick to the body. Oleksiejczuk circles free and lands a left to the body. Another left to the body from Oleksiejczuk. Oleksiejczuk slips a right and lands a left hook, Bukauskas just eats it. Bit of a right from Oleksiejczuk. Bukauskas misses some punches, Oleksiejczuk is moving his head rather well. Oleksiejczuk lands a left in close. Oleksiejczuk lands a left to the body, Bukauskas counters with a straight right. Bukauskas lands a bit of a spinning back kick, then has a head kick blocked to close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Oleksiejczuk but could go either way

ROUND TWO: Bukauskas throwing kicks as the round begins. Oleksiejczuk coming forward again, lands a bit of a left. Left to the body from Oleksiejczuk. Oleksiejczuk lands another body shot then slips some counters. They trade power hand punches, Oleksiejczuk landed better I think. Another clubbing left from Oleksiejczuk somewhat off balances Bukauskas. Oleksiejczuk lands a left to the body, then slips punches and lands a left to the head. Another left from Oleksiejczuk. Bukauskas with a bit of a right, then a front kick to the body. Knee to the body from Oleksiejczuk. The relentless pressure from Oleksiejczuk is getting to Beukauskas, though both men are holding up in terms of cardio. Oleksiejczuk lands another body shot. They clash in close, Bukauskas tried an up elbow but didn’t get all of it, and then clinch up. They break without incident, and Oleksiejczuk is coming forward again. Oleksiejczuk blocks a head kick then hits the body. Bukauskas tees off with punches in close, has a head kick blocked then Oleksiejczuk lands a left to the body to close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Oleksiejczuk though Bukauskas might have stolen it in the final seconds, 20-18 Oleksiejczuk overall

ROUND THREE: They touch gloves for the final round. Oleksiejczuk coming forward again, lands a bit of a right. Bukauskas with a bit of a short right. They trade uppercuts in close. Oleksiejczuk lands a right hook. Bukauskas lands a right uppercut, Oleksiejczuk lands a counter right. Oleksiejczuk lands a left to the body. They clinch again, Oleksiejczuk gets a body lock on the fence. Oleksiejczuk working his left hand in the clinch, Bukauskas spins free after a bit. Bukauskas lands a few punches while circling. Another body shot from Oleksiejczuk. Bukauskas lands a bit of a right. Bukauskas lands a left hook. Oleksiejczuk lands a clubbing right hook. Right from Bukauskas but Oleksiejczuk lands another left and is still pressuring him. Oleksiejczuk with a left to the liver, that hurt Bukauskas and he’s trying to cover it up. They clinch up then break with a few Bukauskas punches. Oleksiejczuk hits the body again, and they trade punches to close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Oleksiejczuk, 30-27 Oleksiejczuk overall but this one could go either way overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Michal Oleksiejczuk via split decision (28-29, 29-28 x2)

Have to feel for Bukauskas, the man fought his heart out and 29-28 for either man is perfectly defensible. Thinking back I’m pretty sure I’m wrong about the first, that should have gone to Bukauskas. No interview for Oleksiejczuk.

Jared Gooden lost his UFC debut last year when he dropped a decision to Alan Jouban, now he’s trying to get that all important first UFC win. Abubakar Nurmagomedov also lost in his UFC debut, his however came in November of 2019. After more than a year on the shelf Nurmagomedov is hoping to reintroduce himself to UFC fans and get that first UFC win. Nurmagomedov is your favorite at -240 to +200 on Gooden.

Welterweight Bout: Jared Gooden (17-5, 171 lbs.) vs. Abubakar Nurmagomedov (15-3-1, 170.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Gooden is an inch taller but has a significant five inches of reach advantage. Both men feinting a bit as the fight gets going. A few probing jabs go back and forth. Gooden with a few lefts, he’s putting that reach to good use. Bit of a body kick from Nurmagomedov, and Gooden complains of an eye poke so we’ve got time. Gooden is good to continue and we’re back to fighting quickly. A few jabs from Gooden land, he’s smooth on the feet so far. Nurmagomedov lands a right then a left and a body kick. Nurmagomedov forces a clinch and gets things to the fence. Gooden quickly is able to slip free and get to distance. Nurmagomedov lands a leg kick. Knee to the body from Nurmagomedov in close. Both men land jabs. Another bit of a left from Nurmagomedov. Lunging left from Nurmagomedov stumbles Gooden for a second. Gooden has punches blocked as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Nurmagomedov

ROUND TWO: Gooden comes out jabbing again, Nurmagomedov jabbing with him thus far. Nurmagomedov lands some jabs, he’s doing quite well on the feet. Left from Nurmagomedov stands Gooden upright for a second. Nurmagomedov lands a right in close. More lefts from Nurmagomedov, he’s landing clean. Gooden lands a left to the body. Head kick from Nurmagomedov is only partially blocked, he’s got Gooden on the fence. Nurmagomedov showing the southpaw stance now, setting up that left body kick. Gooden fires a few punches but struggles to find the target. A series of rights from Nurmagomedov then a left in close as Gooden avoids a clinch. The stance switching from Nurmagomedov is working for him. Gooden lands a body shot. Gooden eats a jab and lands a leg kick. Nurmagomedov lands a long left then a partially blocked head kick. A few jabs go back and forth to close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Nurmagomedov, 20-18 Nurmagomedov overall

ROUND THREE: Nurmagomedov lands a calf kick to begin the round. Gooden is throwing punches, but eats a body kick. More jabs from Nurmagomedov, he tries a double leg but moves around to the back as they hit the fence. Nurmagomedov with a mat return, Gooden bounces up but is still clinched. Gooden fights out of the clinch and lands an uppercut but eats a counter right. Double leg from Nurmagomedov, he moves to side control then puts himself back in half guard for control purposes. Gooden gets full guard and lands elbows to the head. Some punches from Nurmagomedov. Nurmagomedov doesn’t seem too interested in passing the guard, and there he goes into half guard. Some body shots from Nurmagomedov, he’s trying to set up an arm triangle but Gooden is aware of the threat. A lot of small punches are being exchanged, Nurmagomedov still trying for this arm triangle set up. Nurmagomedov bails on that, and lands a few punches as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Nurmagomedov, 30-27 Nurmagomedov overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Abubakar Nurmagomedov via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)

Really good reintroduction from Nurmagomedov after the set back in his debut, he was better everywhere. No interview for Nurmagomedov.

Alonzo Menifield has gone 2-2 in the UFC but is on a two fight losing streak, now he’s trying to put a disastrous 2020 behind him and get back on the winning side of things. Fabio Cherant took this fight on less than a weeks notice and missed weight because of that, but he’s got a three fight winning streak going and with the short notice helping smooth over the weight gaff a win would be a great way to introduce himself to the UFC audience. Menifield is a heavy favorite at -300 to +250 on Cherant.

Light Heavyweight Bout: Fabio Cherant (7-1, 206.5 lbs.) vs. Alonzo Menifield (9-2, 205 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Cherant is an inch taller while Menifield has two inches of reach advantage. Southpaw for Cherant. Menifield punches into a clinch early and hits a double leg into side control. Cherant is holding a guillotine, Menifield goes for the Von Flue choke and leverages the choke position. Menifield has the choke locked up, it takes a bit but Cherant does tap.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Alonzo Menifield via Submission, Von Flue choke, at 1:11 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Menifield for his work this evening. Menifield gets an interview after the finish, he says this has been an emotional ride and notes he needed the win. He thanks his wife and dedicates the win to her and his brother who just got out of jail. He talks us through the finish to close.

This misses the trap of the arm, Menifield’s left snuck around and locked his hands together and Cherant’s right arm in place. From there it’s a fairly textbook application of the Von Flue, the way Menifield drops his hips to further get weight down on his shoulder and lat into the neck of Cherant and force the tap.

Well that’s it for preliminary action, we’re headed to PPV for the main card.

Jamie Mullarkey has gone 0-2 in the UFC, somewhat mitigated by how fan friendly those fights were. Staring down the barrel of a three fight losing streak Mullarkey needs to get that first UFC win here or face the very real possibility of getting cut. Khama Worthy has gone 2-1 in the UFC but is coming off of that loss, now he’s trying to bounce back and return to the winning side of things. The odds are close but favor Worthy at -130 to an even +100 on Mullarkey.

Lightweight Bout: Jamie Mullarkey (12-4, 155.5 lbs.) vs. Khama Worthy (16-7, 155.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Mullarkey is an inch taller but the reach is identical, Mullarkey is also eight years younger. They touch gloves to get us going. Both men feinting early. Mullarkey finds a few punches, Worthy lands a few jabs. Leg kick from Worthy now. Left hook from Mullarkey drops Worthy then he pounds him out on the mat.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Jamie Mullarkey via KO, at :46 of punches Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Mullarkey for his work this evening. Mic time for Mullarkey, he says winning his first UFC fight is unbelievable and he’s just glad to showcase his skills. He puts over Worthy as the kind of fighter who brings out the best in you, then talks us through the finish. To close he shouts out Alexander Volkanovski, who he trains with and says he knows his moment got taken away but when he gets back in the cage he’ll make a statement.

Gillian Robertson has gone 6-3 in the UFC but is coming off of a loss, now she’s looking to defend her top fifteen ranking and avoid her first ever losing streak. Miranda Maverick is on a four fight winning streak including getting a doctor stoppage in her UFC debut, tonight she’s got a ranked opponent in her sights and could make a powerful statement about her place in the division with a win over the tenured Robertson. Maverick is the favorite at -165 to +135 on Robertson.

Women’s Flyweight Bout: Miranda Maverick (8-2, 126 lbs.) vs. #15 Gillian Robertson (9-5, 125.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Robertson is an inch and a half taller while Maverick has two and a half inches of reach advantage. Southpaw for Maverick. Both women probing with punches early. Robertson lands a body kick, Maverick responds with a leg kick. One two from Maverick. Both women with power hand punches. Body kick from Robertson. Bit of a right from Maverick. Maverick is moving well enough, but her attacks are mostly on straight lines and Robertson is able to escape after the initial contact. The pressure of Maverick is getting to Robertson a bit at this point. Maverick catches a kick, gets a takedown then passes to half guard almost immediately. Robertson is trying to set up a wall walk, she’s up but eats punches as they break. Maverick lands a body kick. Left punch then a double leg from Maverick, she lands in half guard. Some body to head punches from Maverick as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Maverick

ROUND TWO: Bit of a left from Maverick, Robertson lands a right. Left from Maverick then a bit of a high kick. Maverick lands a one two. Robertson gets the back standing and drags things down to the mat. Maverick to her back, Robertson in side control now. Half guard now for Maverick. Robertson is trying to attack the arm on the far side. Maverick moves to her knees, Robertson spins to the back but has no hooks and has to settle for half guard on top after a scramble. Maverick back up against the fence, lands an elbow but Robertson slips to her back again and pulls things to the mat but has no hooks again. Robertson moves to north-south, she’s setting up an armbar but moves to the ride as Maverick gets to her knees. Robertson tries the choke, she’s not under the neck though. Maverick back up and separates with 30 seconds left. Body kick from Maverick and some punches in close. Maverick lands a combination, they clinch up and end the round there.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Robertson, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: Maverick with a high kick then a jab. Hard let from Maverick, she’s got Robertson’s back on the fence. Long combination from Maverick. Robertson reaches for a single leg, they hit the fence and Maverick defends then separates. Maverick sprawls away from a double leg and jumps to the back with both hooks in. Full mount for Maverick, Robertson is trying to get half guard but she’s eating elbows and punches. Robertson is trying to come up on a single leg, Maverick into the front headlock and lands knees to the body while Robertson is on her knees. Robertson pull guard, and eats some elbows for her trouble. More elbows from Maverick, Robertson is trying for an armbar though. Maverick is defending and pulls her arm free then lands some lefts. They scramble, Robertson gets the back standing, drags things down and starts fishing for the back mount. Maverick blocks the hooks and gets on top in half guard. Maverick stands free and makes Robertson regain her feet. Punches from Maverick then a double leg against the fence. Body shots from Maverick, then she lands leg kicks while standing over Robertson. Robertson is able to scoot to guard, eats more punches as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Maverick, 29-28 Maverick overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Miranda Maverick via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27 x2)

I don’t agree with Maverick getting the second but she clearly won the fight overall. Mic time for Maverick, she feels there are always improvements to be made and mentions she had a tough weight cut but was able to hang with a top member of the division. She mentions that she has great training partners who beat her up in the gym so dropping a round was nothing, and then wants another ranked opponent next.

Sean O’Malley had somewhat captured the imagination of the fan base before suffering his first professional loss in his last fight when he was TKO’d in the first round. O’Malley is trying to regain the hype he used to have by getting back on the winning side of things. Thomas Almeida was once a budding top contender in the division, but he’s just 1-4 in his last five fights and on a three fight losing streak. Almeida is very likely fighting for his job as a four fight skid has ended more than a few UFC careers. O’Malley is the biggest favorite on the card at -335 to a +250 comeback on Almeida.

Bantamweight Bout: Thomas Almeida (22-4, 136 lbs.) vs. Sean O’Malley (12-1, 136 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: O’Malley is four inches taller and has two inches of reach over Almeida. They touch gloves, O’Malley comes out southpaw. O’Malley probing with kicks early, Almeida kind of hanging out. Calf kicks are traded. A lot of feints from O’Malley. O’Malley lands a front kick to the body, bit of a left hook from Almeida. Spinning back kick to the body from O’Malley. Bit of a left hook from Almeida in close. O’Malley kicks the body again, those are adding up already. Almeida coming forward, eats a body kick. O’Malley lands a calf kick. The range difference is very obvious, O’Malley fighting very long and Almeida is struggling. O’Malley lands a head kick, then a left that drops Almeida. Almeida back up but still hurt. O’Malley avoids a right and lands a left. Bit of a knee from O’Malley. Almeida lands a right to the body. Almeida ducks under a wheel kick, gets a bit of a takedown but can’t secure position and they wind up on the feet again. Another head kick from O’Malley, partially blocked and Almeida is still here. Almeida lands a right along the fence. They stare away the final seconds.

SCORECARD: 10-8 O’Malley

ROUND TWO: O’Malley looking to fight long again as the round begins. Almeida avoids a few punches, then lands a left to the body. O’Malley lands a hard calf kick. Almeida lands a leg kick of his own. Both men miss power hand punches. O’Malley working side kicks to the knee now as an irritant. O’Malley lands a left. Almeida lands a leg kick. Front kicks to the body from O’Malley, he’d be well served to continue those. They trade power hand punches, O’Malley with another front kick to the body. O’Malley avoids a leg kick, then lands a jab. Almeida lands a leg kick. Inside leg kick from Almeida, O’Malley’s leg might be a little hurt. O’Malley slips on a knee and Almeida punches him while standing over his guard. O’Malley working up kicks to the standing Almeida as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 O’Malley but much closer, 20-17 O’Malley overall

ROUND THREE: They touch gloves for the last round. O’Malley back to front kicking the body. Hard calf kick from O’Malley. O’Malley lands a right hook, then a calf kick. Almeida still doesn’t have a feel for the distance. Calf kick from Almeida. They trade in close, then O’Malley lands a right. Left hook from Almeida, O’Malley hits another front kick to the body. Bit of a right from Almeida. A few lefts from O’Malley, then a couple of jabs. Almeida lands a leg kick, O’Malley responds with a one two. Stiff jab from O’Malley. A left from O’Malley drops Almeida, then a right hand to the prone Almeida gets the stoppage.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Sean O’Malley via KO, punches, at 3:52 of Round 3

The Final Round Finish Club thanks Mr. O’Malley for his work this evening. O’Malley was pretty comprehensively better everywhere. Mic time for O’Malley, he thought Almeida was done in the first but Almeida was tough and he puts him over in that respect. He says you only get 15 minutes a few times a year to perform and he just wanted to deliver something sweet. He says a lot of people were talking about how all you needed to do to beat him was kick his legs, and he proved all of them wrong. To close he expresses love for Joe Rogan.

Tyron Woodley is a former UFC welterweight champion and one of the better champions in that weight class if we go by resume, but Woodley isn’t just on a three fight losing streak but has lost the last 15 rounds in which he has competed. Woodley could be staring down the barrel of a pink slip if he loses, and especially if he loses badly, tonight. Vicente Luque has a stellar UFC record of 12-3 and has stopped his last two opponents coming into this fight, a win over the former champion Woodley would be the biggest of his career even with Woodley’s career being clearly in decline. The odds are rather firmly with Luque at -240 to a +190 payout on Woodley.

Welterweight Bout: #10 Vicente Luque (19-7-1, 170.5 lbs.) vs. #7 Tyron Woodley (19-6-1, 171 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Luque is two inches taller and has an inch and a half of reach advantage, he’s also 9 years younger. Woodley bulls into a clinch right away and they hit the fence. They jockey for position, Luque landing some knees to the body and leg. Some shoulder strikes from Luque. They break without incident. Woodley fires a right that’s blocked, but does land a left. Luque avoids a double leg and they start landing knees in the clinch again. Body shots from Luque along the fence. Luque gets a body lock then pulls free. Woodley lands a right that wobbles Luque, but he remains upright. Right from Luque drops Woodley, then a left hook and Woodley is badly hurt. Luque unloads along the fence, Woodley firing back but drops looking for a takedown and Luque is after a d’arce choke. The choke is pretty tight, he keeps locking it down and Woodley taps.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Vicente Luque via Submission, d’arce choke, at 3:56 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Luque for his work this evening. That’s the first time Woodley has been submitted ever in MMA, and brings Luque into second place with all time welterweight finishes in the UFC at 12. Mic time for Luque, he puts over Woodley as a legend who hits hard but he just pushes harder if you hit him and he always goes for the finish. He thanks God, his wife, and his soon to be born son. He notes he’s got a good chin and was able to counter Woodley because Woodley was over committing to his punches and then talks us through the finish. When talking us through the finish he also calls out Nate Diaz, yeah that’s not happening even if it would be an action fight.

Francis Ngannou brings a four fight winning and finish streak into his second crack at the UFC heavyweight title, he previously challenged current champion Stipe Miocic back in 2018 and was comprehensively out fought and lost a wide decision. Now with some more seasoning Ngannou is back and hoping his second crack at the title is a successful one. Stipe Miocic is the most accomplished heavyweight champion in UFC history and one of the best in the sports short history. Miocic is one title defense deep into his second reign and bested Daniel Cormier in his last two fights, he’s trying to further his case as the very best heavyweight ever by turning back a wrecking machine like Ngannou for a second time. The odds are close but lean towards the challenging Ngannou at -135 while the +115 comeback on Miocic has to be a very tempting value bet.

Heavyweight Title Bout: (c) Stipe Miocic (20-3, 234 lbs.) vs. #1 Francis Ngannou (15-3, 263 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height but Ngannou has three inches of reach advantage, also Miocic is about 30 pounds lighter. They touch gloves to get us going. Both men feinting early, just getting a feel for things. Leg kick from Ngannou. Bit of a leg kick from Miocic, Ngannou lands a body shot. Miocic working the inside leg kick now, and avoids a right hand. Ngannou lands a right, Miocic just eats it. Miocic grabs a single leg, they hit the fence and Ngannou spins free and holds the waist then gets a takedown. Hard punches from Ngannou, Miocic survives and gets free. I don’t know what Miocic’s chin is made of but good Lord. High kick from Ngannou, mostly blocked. Bit of a right from Ngannou. Miocic avoids a right. Ngannou is showing southpaw, mostly to set up the left high kick. Miocic lands an inside leg kick. A leg kick from Ngannou ends the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Ngannou

ROUND TWO: They touch gloves for the second round, there’s some damage around the left eye of Miocic. Ngannou’s till moving well, switching his stance. Miocic lands a jab, Ngannou lands a leg kick. Ngannou with a bit of a left hook. Left hook from Ngannou drops Miocic, the lands a right uppercut, Miocic fires back with a right but Ngannou floors him with a left then a couple of hammer fists end things.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER and NEW UFC Heavyweight Champion – Francis Ngannou via KO, punches, at :52 of Round 2

That was easily the most technically complete performance of Ngannou’s career. Mic time for the new champion, he’s happy to have won and showed all his doubters for his entire life that he could accomplish great things. He says this is the culmination of decades of work, even through all the doubts he feels vindicated. He calls the first loss to Miocic the biggest experience of his life and how much he’s learned from it. When talking us through the finish he mentions staying calm and centered in the cage. He puts over Kamaru Usman’s assistance ahead of this fight, and talks about the three African champions the UFC has now (himself, Usman, and Israel Adesanya) and wants a UFC event in Africa. Rogan asks about the future, specifically Jon Jones who is all but confirmed as the next challenger he puts over Jones as the greatest of all time and beating him would be a great accomplishment. He says he’ll be ready whenever they can make it happen. To close he says he owes this to everyone who’s supported him, his family and everyone back in Cameroon watching him live at 4am local time, thanks his training team and fans, and thanks Joe Rogan.

I mean just look this sequence.

On that note, UFC 260 comes to a close. Thanks to everyone for reading, be that live or after the fact. We’ll unpack all the fallout from this event tomorrow on the 411 Ground and Pound MMA Podcast. Next week is a rare Saturday off, but I’ll be back on the 10th of April for UFC on ABC 2 when rising middleweight contenders Marvin Vettori and Darren Till square off for a probable next title shot. Until next time everyone, thank you again for reading, stay safe out there, and keep checking 411mania for all of your pop culture needs.

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UFC 260, Robert Winfree