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Francis Ngannou vs. Derrick Lewis UFC 226 Pick, Preview, Odds, Prediction - 7/7/18

Lewis vs. Ngannou

UFC: Saturday, July 7, 2018 (T-Mobile Arena)

The Line: -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds

TV: PPV

Francis Ngannou and Derrick Lewis fight Saturday during UFC 226 at the T-Mobile Arena.

Francis Ngannou enters this fight with a 11-2 record and has won 64 percent of his fights by knockout. Ngannou has won five of his last six fights and is coming off a January loss to Stipe Miocic. Ngannou is averaging 2.12 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 36.2 percent. Ngannou is averaging zero takedowns with an accuracy percentage of zero percent. Ngannou is coming off his first loss since his 2013 bout against Zoumana Cisse, as he ate 200 total strikes and was taken down six times. Ngannou was completely dominated in his loss and was the type of performance that should motivate the 31-year-old to redeem himself on the big stage. Ngannou is a well built fighter who is pure muscle, has a reach of 83 inches and has quick hands along with good footwork. Ngannou is known for his striking power and heavy hands, and each of his last four victories have been first round finishes, with three of them being knockouts. All 11 of Ngannou’s victories have come by stoppage and two of his last three wins have earned him performance of the night. However, none of Ngannou’s have come outside of the second round, and based on his last performance, conditioning could be an issue for the big guy. This will be Ngannou’s first career fight in Las Vegas.

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Francis Ngannou vs. Derrick Lewis UFC 226 Pick, Preview, Odds, Prediction - 7/7/18

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Derrick Lewis enters this fight with a 19-5 record and has won 89 percent of his fights by knockout. Lewis has won six of his last six fights and is coming off a February win over Marcin Tybura. Lewis is averaging 3.11 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 51.9 percent. Lewis is averaging 0.65 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 29.4 percent. Lewis looked like he was going to lose back-to-back fights, as he ate 83 strikes and survived a submission attempt. Lewis was able to get to his feet in the third round and eventually produce a knockout victory that changed the whole outlook on a guy who said he would retire after the Mark Hunt bout. There's no surprises with Lewis, as he's primarily a striker with a boxing background and has produced knockouts in 15 of his last 16 wins. With a 79 inch reach and an aggressive mentality, Lewis is accurate with his shots and is going to land haymakers regardless of the result. Lewis doesn’t have the best takedown defense in the world and his conditioning can also be questioned, but as a pure standup striker, few can hang with the Black Beast. This will be Lewis’ fourth career fight in Las Vegas. 

In a heavyweight battle where neither guy is even entertaining a takedown, you can make a strong case for either side. It’s going to come down to who lands that one shot cleanly to drop his opponent. Ngannou has the clear reach advantage and has youth along with no recent injury history on his side. Remember, Lewis was dealing with back issues and said he was retiring after the fight with Hunt. However, this price gives extreme value to the American. Lewis the more accurate striker and probably has more raw punching power in his hands. While conditioning isn’t the best on either side, you can also say Lewis is in better shape in later rounds than Ngannou. The Predator looked awful the longer his fight against Miocic went, so unless he makes quick work here, not sure how you can be confident with the Frenchman.

Based on the value of the plus money, I’m backing Lewis.

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