The Scrap predicts UFC 260

Featured image by @mp97design, Instagram.

This weekend on March 26, the UFC delivers their second PPV of the month in an event boasting a heavyweight championship fight. The card showcases some of the promotion’s best talent, leaving many split down the middle as to who will walk away victorious.

Unfortunately, a breach of COVID-19 protocols eliminated what would’ve been the co-main event: a featherweight title fight between champion Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega. The fight will likely be rescheduled later for this year, however, fans have plenty more thrilling bouts to look forward to.

Predicting results – especially in mixed martial arts – is never easy, but here at The Scrap, we love giving our readers an insight into how our brains work; we all view the sport differently, after all. Below you will find our official predictions for three main card bouts, which includes our heavyweight title fight.

Sean O’Malley (12-1) vs Thomas Almeida (22-4)

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Prediction: Sean O’Malley via KO/TKO

Caroline Romero (@cromero1971) – “Sugar” Sean O’Malley (12-1) is coming off his first UFC loss against Marlon Vera (18-7-1) at UFC 252 last August. Thomas Almeida (22-4) is fighting after three back-to-back losses against Jimmie Rivera (23-5), Rob Font (18-4), and Jonathan Martinez (13-3). Another loss could be hurtful to the future of his UFC career. Almeida’s chin is questionable and he has a string of KO losses on his record. Both of O’Malley’s UFC wins have come by knockout. I’ll go for O’Malley for the win by KO.

Prediction: Sean O’Malley via KO/TKO

Drake Riggs (@DrakeRiggs_) – Almeida was once in a similar position to O’Malley being touted as “the next big thing” in a way. However, both have lost steam recently – the former more than the latter. Almeida just seemed a step behind vs. Jonathan Martinez in his return after two years away. Perhaps that was a reason as to why but even prior to that, we saw that he just wasn’t the same guy as he was before the Cody Garbrandt loss. O’Malley’s weakness so far has proven to be leg kicks. I think Almeida will need to attack heavy low as recent opponents have done on the lengthy bantamweight, but I expect O’Malley to be more aware of opponents implementing that approach from here on out and he’ll find a knockout at some point.

Prediction: Sean O’Malley via KO/TKO

Connor Rogowsky (@Rogowskyc) – O’Malley/Almeida is a confusing matchup for me. O’Malley is still one of the hottest prospects in all of MMA, but he just cannot stay healthy. He is coming off his first loss as a pro, however he does not count this as a loss because he suffered another leg injury. While Almeida’s last win came in 2016 at UFC Fight Night 100, he has lost three fights in a row against elite opponents, making him 1-4 in his last five fights. Almeida may be fighting for his future in the UFC.

Prediction: Sean O’Malley via submission

Steven Rae (@StevenRaeMMA) – War Almeida.

Prediction: Thomas Almeida via unanimous decision.

#7 Tyron Woodley (19-6-1) vs #10 Vicente Luque (19-7-1)

Lee Brown (@Levanstian757) – Woodley has been a shell of himself since his last win vs. Darren Till back in September 2018. Woodley, once known for having quality wrestling to go with power in both hands, has looked tentative to let his hands go since losing the title to Kamaru Usman. Usman deployed a gameplan where Woodley would throw punches, and he would respond by changing levels and taking him down. Luque, a winner of four of his last five, is a rising star in the division. When you look at his record he has won six of his last eight fights by KO/TKO, but he can also take the fight to ground and submit his opponents (2 submission wins). I look for Vicente Luque to continue his ascension up the ranks while Woodley descends, and be on his way to being cut by the UFC.

Prediction: Vicente Luque via unanimous decision.

Caroline Romero – Vicente Luque (19-7-1) had a great 2020. He rolled through Niko Price (14-4) at UFC 249 in May and defeated Randy Brown (12-4) at UFC Vegas 5 in August. Tyron Woodley (19-6-1) has lost his last three fights. Two main event losses were by decision against Kamaru Usman (18-1) at UFC 235 and Gilbert Burns (19-4) at UFC Vegas 1. Colby Covington (16-2) won by TKO over “The Chosen One” at UFC Vegas 11 last September. Woodley’s last win was in 2018 over Darren Till at UFC 228. I think “The Silent Assassin” will continue on his hot streak and defeat Woodley by unanimous decision.

Prediction: Vicente Luque via unanimous decision.

Drake Riggs – I’m not quite under the same thought as everyone else regarding Woodley and him being washed, I just don’t think he’s ever really evolved. And Luque might not have that same overall skillset that those who have defeated Woodley have, but I still think he’ll pressure Woodley against the cage and have his way for as long as the fight lasts.

Prediction: Vicente Luque via unanimous decision

Steven Rae – There’s a lot of talk about Tyron Woodley being ‘shot’, but I don’t believe that to entirely be the case. As simple as it sounds, he has just been figured out and hasn’t evolved his game. In fact, he was figured out all the way back in 2014 when Rory MacDonald exposed his lack of depth or any real gameplan. But I’ll stop the history lesson for today – I believe Vicente Luque will pressure the former champion, keeping him against the cage and using low kicks to slow his mobility. Luque should fight behind his jab and rip to the body if the opportunity presents itself; I do expect him to walk on to at least one heavy counter from Woodley, as he isn’t the most defensively sound himself.

Prediction: Vicente Luque via unanimous decision.

#C Stipe Miocic (20-3) vs #1 Francis Ngannou (15-3)

Austin Luff – The fact that Stipe is the underdog going into this fight is atrocious. Stipe vs. Francis is very similar to Fury vs. Wilder in that Wilder is a killer, but over the course of the fight, Fury was ultimately the better boxer. I think that is the case here. Francis can catch Stipe and put him out, but I think we see Stipe control the Octagon and retain his championship.

Prediction: Stipe Miocic via KO/TKO

Lee Brown – Stipe used a well-rounded gameplan to defeat Ngannou in their first matchup. After that fight, it was noticeable that Ngannou needed to work on his overall game to go with his striking ability. In his four most recent fights, Ngannou has won by first-round KO/TKO. Stipe, on the other hand, went 2-1 against Daniel Cormier. I think Ngannou has a puncher’s chance to win this fight and Stipe will once again put on a technical showcase as he earns another unanimous decision.

Prediction: Stipe Miocic via unanimous decision

Caroline Romero – Stipe Miocic (20-3) was victorious in his first battle with Ngannou at UFC 220 in 2018. He went on to beat Daniel Cormier twice at UFC 241 and UFC 252. Ngannou (15-3) has faced some tough competition in the UFC and is on a four-win streak. He has recent wins over Curtis Blaydes (14-3), Cain Velasquez (14-3), Junior dos Santos (21-9) and Jairzinho Rozenstruik (11-2). I will side on the more experienced Miocic. A staple in the UFC’s heavyweight division since 2011, he has the knockout power and stamina to go the distance against Ngannou; I think he will get the KO win

Prediction: Stipe Miocic via KO/TKO

Drake Riggs – Ngannou, despite his great knockout wins, hasn’t shown any necessary improvements. It will come down to whether or not Miocic’s chin has deteriorated a significant amount since the first encounter or not. Otherwise, and still.

Prediction: Stipe Miocic to retain his title

Connor Rogowsky – Miocic/Ngannou is really hard to predict, and I think that most heavyweights are. Miocic won their first fight, but I really think that Ngannou is on a mission this time. I think this fight will end in a finish, early in the second round. The question is, who gets their hand raised? I will probably go back-and-forth between them, but right now, I will say Ngannou.

Prediction: Francis Ngannou via second-round KO/TKO

Steven Rae – When Stipe and Ngannou first squared off at UFC 220 in January 2018, I was one of the very few people who chose Stipe to win (specifically, via UD). It bewildered me that many were seemingly overlooking the champion’s solid skillset; his wrestling being the most critical element. However, since their first meeting over three years ago, things have changed drastically. Ngannou has gone on a run similar to that of his first UFC tear, while Miocic has fought out a delayed trilogy with Daniel Cormier, which included him getting eye surgery. And as much as I hate to admit it, Stipe is now 38-years-old. Due to these reasons, I do not trust Miocic nor his reflexes or chin to withstand the power of Ngannou. I know, it seems almost ludicrous to pick against Miocic considering what he did to Ngannou last time out, but I’m doing it anyway.

Prediction: Francis Ngannou via saddening second-round KO/TKO

What are your predictions for UFC 260? Let us know in the comments!