AND NEW! Francis N’Gannou was crowned UFC Heavyweight Champion with a second-round knockout of the GOAT Stipe Miocic in impressive fashion to cap off a wild night of fights at UFC 260 on Saturday, March 27, in Las Vegas. In the co-main event, Vicente Luque looked incredible in a first-round submission win over Tyron Woodley. Sean O’Malley got back on track with a third-round knockout of Thomas Almeida, and Miranda Maverick’s star continued to get brighter with a convincing decision over Gillian Robertson.
Six of the 10 fights ended early on an entertaining card. Matt went 8-2 on his picks to extend his advantage over Craig (7-3) in 2021 to four picks. Follow along through the next two weeks as we have fighter interviews from John Hyon Ko, Early Stoppage with John Franklin and picks and predictions for the April 10 card, featuring Darren Till and Marvin Vettori.
Marc-Andre Barriault (-124) def. Abu Azaitar (R3, 4:56)
Props: by knockout (+353); over 2.5 (-187)
Matt’s pick: Azaitar; Craig’s pick: Azaitar
It took nearly all of the 15 minutes for Marc-Andre Barriault to stop Abu Azaitar. “Power Bar” showcased his cardio as a high-paced fight progressed. By Round 3, Barriault was in complete control as he took mount and landed ferocious ground and pound. Referee Jerin Valel refused to step in though until Azaitar he was half dead on the mat. It’s Barriault’s first official win in the UFC after his last victory over Oskar Piechota was changed to a no-contest.
Omar Morales (-195) def. Shane Young by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Props: by decision (+140); over 2.5 (-186)
Matt’s pick: Morales; Craig’s pick: Morales
Omar Morales coasted to a very straightforward decision with a well-rounded albeit conservative gameplan. He wrestled some, struck some and won a uncontroversial unanimous decision. He moves to 3-1 in the UFC and 11-1 overall. Shane Young is now a loser of two straight and drops to 2-3 in the UFC.
Michal Oleksiejczuk (-175) def. Modestas Bukauskas by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
This was one of those fights that got Twitter buzzing about how UFC fights are scored. Michal Oleksiejczuk was the fighter moving forward but Modestas Bukauskas probably landed the better punches. Only one of the 18 media members on mmadecision.com scored the fight for Oleksiejczuk. The judges didn’t see it the same way, siding with the favorite by split decision. “Lord” improved to 3-2 in the UFC and Bukauskas dropped to 1-2 with two consecutive defeats.
Abubakar Nurmagomedov (-234) def. Jared Gooden by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Abubakar Nurmagomedov showed off his improving striking skills by outstriking a striker in Jared Gooden and mixing in his trademarked wrestling to win a clear decision. It’s the Dagestan fighter’s first UFC victory. Gooden has now lost his first two fights in the promotion by unanimous decision.
Alonzo Menifield (-298) def. Fabio Cherant by submission (R1, 1:11)
Props: by submission (+1443); under 1.5 (-134)
Matt’s pick: Menifield; Craig’s pick: Menifield
Nobody could have anticipated this! After coming in hot and cracking Fabio Cherant early, Alonzo Menifield transitioned from Cherant’s guillotine into a Von Flue choke and earned a quick tap from the UFC debutant. It’s Menifield’ second submission win in his professional MMA career as he put a stop to a two-fight skid.
Jamie Mullarkey (+105) def. Khama Worthy by knockout (R1, 0:46)
Props: by knockout (+357); under 1.5 (+156)
Matt’s pick: Worthy; Craig’s pick: Worthy
Holy smokes! Jamie Mullarkey caught Khama Worthy with a check left hook that sent Worthy to the canvas, where he followed up with a flurry of strikes before Chris Tognoni hopped in. It’s Mullarkey’s first victory in the UFC as he ends a two-fight skid. For Worthy, it’s his seventh career loss by knockout as his chin continues to be his Kryptonite.
Miranda Maverick (-166) def. Gillian Robertson by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Props: by decision (+138); over 2.5 (-185)
Matt’s pick: Maverick; Craig’s pick: Maverick
As expected, Miranda Maverick dominated in the striking exchanges and Gillian Robertson had her moments in the grappling exchanges. In the end, it was a clear decision for the UFC prospect who moves to 2-0 in the promotion and will have a number next to her name soon. It’s two straight losses in the UFC for Gillian Robertson, who drops to 6-4 in the promotion.
Sean O’Malley (-336) def. Thomas Almeida by knockout (R3, 3:52)
Props: by knockout (-121); over 2.5 (+164)
Matt’s pick: O’Malley; Craig’s pick: O’Malley
Sean O’Malley knocked out Thomas Almeida in the first round. Then knocked him out in the third round. And when Mark Smith still didn’t stop the fight, O’Malley blasted Almeida with one more first to the dome to finally put an end to the damage. It was complete domination for O’Malley from start to finish as he improved to 5-1 in the UFC. Almeida is now a loser of four straight and possibly looking at a departure from the promotion.
Vicente Luque (-231) def. Tyron Woodley by submission (R1, 3:56)
Props: by submission (+596); under 1.5 (+215)
Matt’s pick: Luque; Craig’s pick: Luque
What a performance by Vicente Luque! After withstanding an early takedown attempt from Tyron Woodley, Luque went to work on the feet. He punished Woodley with his hands before getting the fight to the ground, where he locked in a d’arce choke. It was Woodley’s first submission defeat in his career and fourth straight defeat.
Francis N’Gannou (-139) def. Stipe Miocic by knockout (R2, 0:52)
Props: by knockout (-123); under 1.5 (+124)
Matt’s pick: N’Gannou; Craig’s pick: N’Gannou
AND NEW! Francis N’Gannou was a changed man as he put a stop to the heavyweight GOAT’s reign atop the division. He had leg kicks, head kicks, he scored a takedown. And in the second round, he put Stipe Miocic’s lights out. From the sand mines of Cameroon to homelessness in France to UFC heavyweight champion, Ngannou’s story is incredible and now has the Hollywood ending to cap it off.