A much more patient Ngannou started the first round with a deep leg kick, following the champ across the Octagon and searching for his openings, compared to the first time they met. Ngannou landed a massive right hand behind Miocic’s neck, but Miocic avoided it cleanly.
Ngannou stuffed Miocic’s attempt at a takedown. The challenger defended it, leaping onto Miocic’s back and launching grenades. Ngannou landed a huge head kick after they got back on their feet, but he was able to take it cleanly. Miocic landed a flurry of low calf punches, but Ngannou retained his cool attitude.
To start the second round, Miocic tried to push the pace, but Ngannou lit him up and put him to sleep to take the victory.
Miocic turned his attention to a slew of potential rivals, ranging from Ngannou to former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, after finishing his trilogy with Daniel Cormier in August. But in the end, it was Ngannou’s outstanding performance that won him another shot at UFC gold.
It was reasonable to doubt Ngannou’s future after losing his first title shot to Miocic in a career-altering defeat in 2018. In their first fight, Miocic outworked Ngannou, using precise strikes and a heavy ground game to frustrate the rising star. He had evidently lost his faith after losing a decision to Derrick Lewis. After that, Ngannou went on a roll, knocking out each of his last four opponents in under two minutes before facing Miocic.
In his last three fights, Ngannou had knocked out top contenders Cain Velasquez, Junior dos Santos, and the previously undefeated Jairzinho Rozenstruik.
Ngannou’s next fight will almost certainly be against Jon Jones, who is making the transition from light heavyweight to heavyweight, something Jones hinted at in a tweet after the fight.
But don’t rule out a rematch with Miocic. With a new champion at the helm, the division is on alert, regardless of who the next competitor is.