Francis Ngannou tops Ciryl Gane in a grapple fest at UFC 270
Going into UFC 270 main event we all knew that UFC Heavyweight Champion Francis Ngannou was a heavy hitter. However, what we didn’t know is how much variety the champ had in his arsenal. The two behemoths Francis Ngannou and Ciryl Gane fought to a five round bout filled with technical striking, double-leg take-downs, and jiu-jitsu, Ngannou (17-3 MMA, 12-2 UFC) defeated his former teammate Gane (10-0 MMA, 7-0 UFC) via unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 49-46).
The build-up to Saturday’s main event was something out of a Cobra Kai script, putting two former training partners against each other. The two formerly shared the same mentor/coach and manager in Fernand Lopez. Saturday night Lopez was in the corner of Gane.
The first notable thing about the fight was the champion’s evolution as a fighter as he scored multiple takedowns and was able to shoot off Gane’s kneebar and heel hook attempts from the bottom as the two heavyweights engaged in a 50-50 leg lock battle. Ngannou scored the first takedown of his career along with going the distance for the first time in his career. It was a different fight than what we are used to seeing. The heavy handed champion fighting a different type of style than normal, which had something to do with Ngannou’s multiple knee issues he revealed after the fight. Ngannou said that during his camp, he tore an MCL and ACL, which explained why he wore two knee pads for the fight.
The name of the game is finding a way to win and to the champ’s credit he did. Ngannou’s future in the UFC is rather murky.. The end of the Ganefight signified the final fight on Ngannou’s contract. With his successful title defense, the promotion can utilize a champion’s clause that will extend Ngannou under the UFC banner. Regardless, Ngannou’s contract terminates in January 2023, so he could enter free agency if he waited 12 more months. UFC president Dana White, has been open about not caring what Ngannou does. Ngannou has flirted with the idea of moving to boxing and perhaps fighting boxing champion Tyson Fury. After the fight former light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones called Ngannou out via social media. It really is unclear what’s next. However, tonight was a big night for him showing his championship spirit.