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UFC 220: Miocic vs Ngannou Betting Odds and Predictions

The first UFC PPV of the year goes down in Boston when UFC 220 takes to the TD Garden on January 20. The top of the card features the two title fights, as Stipe Miocic tries to derail the hype train of Francis Ngannou and Daniel Cormier looks to prove there are levels vs Volkan Oezdemir.

After those two events, most casual fans likely won’t know another fighter on this card. Luckily, I do and I’m here to help you understand the fights and maybe pad your bankroll.

Stipe Miocic vs Francis Ngannou

Miocic has built his game around his world-class boxing skills. He constantly probes with his long jab, as he waits for his opportunity to counter. That being said, Miocic might be better when he is fighting in a phone booth with more power in his short punches than most humans have, period. In addition, the reigning champion is a former D1 wrestler who has adapted his style excellently to MMA. Generally, these skills are used defensively but Miocic will also use them offensively to wear down opponents. If Miocic has one big negative, it is his defense. He has a bad tendency to take a hit to give a hit.

Ngannou is basically the epitome of physical evolution. “The Predator” is a mountain of a man with an 83-inch reach and maybe the hardest natural punching power I’ve ever seen. A lot of people point to his power and natural athleticism but Ngannou’s awareness and feel for when to counter-strike is that of someone well beyond his years. The grappling game is still raw technically but his natural power helps him bully his opponents in the clinch. The real question is whether Ngannou has the ability to get off of his back if he gets taken down against an elite wrestler.

If you were to ask me who the better fighter is, I would say Miocic. And I hate not backing a champion as an underdog. However, his tendency to take unnecessary punches is a recipe for disaster vs Ngannou. One minor mistake by Miocic means this fight is over and that feels like a “when” rather than an “if.”

Prediction: Francis Ngannou (-175)

Daniel Cormier vs Volkan Oezdemir

Cormier is first and foremost a chain wrestling expert. The former Olympian is at his best when he can get his opponent’s back against the cage and start working his massive assortment of takedowns. If he gets on top, DC is a master at making his opponent work while giving them nowhere to go. His striking is not the sexiest you will see but the meat-and-potatoes approach has become an excellent secondary skill set for Cormier.

Oezdemir is primarily a kickboxer who throws with plenty of volume and owns legit power in his hands. We have yet to truly get a great look at the Swiss-born fighter with his last two fights lasting a combined 1:10 and his first coming on short notice. There has not been any strain on his grappling but regional fights seem to suggest he will struggle against strong wrestlers.

Oezdemir has a striker’s chance but Cormier has made a living out of avoiding powerful strikes from heavy hitters. DC will be wisely cautious of his opponent’s power but it is only a matter of time before Cormier gets his hands on Oezdemir.

Prediction: Daniel Cormier (-325)

Shane Burgos vs Calvin Kattar

Burgos looks to extend his perfect record to 11-0 in this one, as the 26-year-old has flashed some elite-level skills during his tenure with the UFC. Burgos has a smart, patient game plan that typically revolves around pressuring an opponent with footwork and waiting to counter. He is strong in the clinch and hard to take down, which means he tends to dictate the terms of engagement.

Kattar actually sports a lot of similarities to Burgos. Though not as athletic, Kattar likes to pressure opponents and understands when he should throw strikes and when he should sit back. “The Boston Finisher” also understands how to win rounds, as his steady style holds until the round nears the end and he explodes into some offense.

I think this is a trap fight for Burgos. He has never fought anyone with the fight IQ of Kattar – plus Kattar knows how to win judges over. I expect both men to be overly patient in search of counters but Kattar’s experience is the X factor.

Prediction: Calvin Kattar (+145)

Gian Villante vs Francimar Barroso

Villante is a crisp kickboxer who has solid wrestling skills due to his time training with Chris Weidman. He is athletic and has flashed finishing ability, albeit against less than good competition. His output and pressure are among some of the best in the division but his cardio is somewhat suspect and this style accentuates some defensive deficiencies.

Barroso is a grinder through and through. The Brazilian looks to get his opponent against the fence and pressure until he can wear them down. Though his best work comes in the clinch, Barroso also likes to shoot the takedown along the fence and grind his opponent out from top position as well.

If Barroso can get in on Villante and get him against the fence, the Brazilian has a chance. However, I think it is more likely that Villante sticks Barroso at range with his strikes and chips away a win.

Prediction: Gian Villante (-185)

Thomas Almeida vs Rob Font

Almeida’s power in all of his limbs makes standing with him a dangerous proposition. He is a marvel to watch, as he relies more on his technical acumen and momentum compared to overwhelming power. If there is one major knock, it’s that the Brazilian takes time to get going in the Octagon. Almeida has good, not great takedown defense but keeping him on the mat isn’t easy, as he excels in scrambles.

Font primarily relies on his striking game. After starting his UFC career as primarily a boxer, Font has done a good job at developing other strikes – especially some rangy kicks – to be less predictable.  His grappling is nothing to phone home about – especially defensively – but he can land a few opportunistic takedowns.

This is a fight Almeida should win. The only concern is he starts slow and gets clipped by Font early. However, Almeida is a better fighter in all aspects aside from power and will pick up the win.

Prediction: Thomas Almeida (-130)

UFC 220: Stipe Miocic vs Francis Ngannou Betting Odds
  • Stipe Miocic +145
  • Francis Ngannou -175
Odds as of January 17 at Bovada
  • Daniel Cormier -325
  • Volkan Oezdemir +250
  • Calvin Kattar +145
  • Shane Burgos -175
  • Gian Villante -185
  • Francimar Barroso +150
  • Thomas Almeida -130
  • Rob Font EVEN
  • Kyle Bochniak EVEN
  • Brandon Davis -130
  • Sabah Homasi +185
  • Abdul Razak Alhassan -235
  • Dustin Ortiz +125
  • Alexandre Pantoja -155
  • Dan Ige +120
  • Julio Arce -150
  • Matt Bessette +175
  • Enrique Barzola -225
  • Islam Makhachev -230
  • Gleison Tibau +180