The two biggest titles are on the line in the year’s first pay-per-view, UFC 220, and Cageside Press has their picks set.
|Staff Writers||Almeida vs. Font||Barroso vs. Villante||Kattar vs. Burgos||Cormier vs. Oezdemir||Miocic vs. Ngannou|
|Heath Harshman (3-0)|
|Jesse Gillette (3-0)|
|Dan Doherty (2-1)|
|Jason Payne (2-1)|
|Mike Straus (2-1)|
|Paarth Pande (2-1)|
|Jay Anderson (2-1)|
|Mike McClory (1-2)|
|Harry Davies (1-2)|
|Gabriel Gonzalez (1-2)|
|Eddie Law (1-2)|
UFC 220 features the highly anticipated title shot of Francis Ngannou, and the chance for Stipe Miocic to make history. Miocic has been a force in the heavyweight division, racking up an 11-2 record since joining the UFC in 2011. Miocic has defended the title twice with a pair of first-round knockouts, and a third defense against Ngannou would make Miocic the only heavyweight champ to reach that number. Francis Ngannou is a force to be reckoned with. The Cameroonian has stopped all of 11 of his victims, six of which were in the UFC. His scary knockout power was on display when he floored striking legend Alistair Overeem late last year. Cageside Press refuses to buy into the hype, with seven of 11 writers picking the reigning champion.
The co-main event features the great Daniel Cormier, looking to bounce back from his since overturned loss to Jon Jones. Standing across from him will be knockout artist Volkan Oezdemir. Oezdemir shot up the light heavyweight rankings after defeating Ovince St. Preux on short notice, then knocking out both Jimi Manuwa and Misha Cirkunov in a grand total of 70 seconds. Daniel Cormier has defended his title twice and is 19-1 in his career. And Still is the verdict of Cageside Press, with eight of 11 writers picking Daniel Cormier.
Calvin Kattar and Shane Burgos will square off at UFC 220 in a battle of up-and-comers. Kattar was 16-2 before entering the UFC and defeating ranked featherweight Andre Fili on short notice. Burgos has impressed many with his striking with a 3-0 record in the Octagon and an 11-0 overall record. Cageside Press favors the man with more Octagon experience, Shane Burgos, unanimously.
Gian Villante will attempt to get his career back on track against Francimar Barroso. Since going 5-4 with a couple Fights of the Night at the beginning of his Octagon career, Villante has lost in his last two appearances. Barroso is coming off a loss as well and is 4-3 with the UFC. Our top seven writers sided with Villante, while the bottom four picked the Brazilian.
Opening up the UFC 220 main card is an interesting bantamweight bout between Thomas Almeida and Rob Font. Almeida is a fan-favorite, earning post-fight bonuses in all five of his Octagon victories. The Brazilian’s two losses are against top-tier contenders Jimmie Rivera and Cody Garbrandt. Rob Font has fought six times since joining the promotion in 2014. The Massachusetts native is 14-3 in his career, most recently getting caught in Pedro Munhoz’s notorious guillotine. All but one writer chose the former top prospect Thomas Almeida.