Huge UFC card at the start of 2022
Wednesday was a day of verbal agreements for UFC 270. The first UFC card of 2022 is rumored to be a big one. January 22, 2022 is the targeted date for a huge heavyweight unification bout as current UFC Heavyweight Champion Francis Ngannou is slated to make his first title defense against interim champion Ciryl Gane.
Multiple sources have confirmed this matchup to be happening. The fight has been inevitable ever since Gane claimed the interim title back in August with a TKO win over Derrick Lewis. Gane became interim champion just four months after Ngannou claimed the heavyweight title with a second-round knockout over Stipe Miocic.
Gane’s title win was marred with controversy as many felt there was no need for an interim belt when UFC had an active heavyweight champion already. Ngannou had been in talks with the UFC for his first title defense against Lewis but after traveling home to Cameroon, he was looking to compete in September rather than the date the promotion had booked in August. There were also rumors of Ngannou holding out for more money to face Jon Jones. However, with Jones' recent legal troubles that fight seems highly unlikely.
UFC moved forward with the interim title fight with Gane claiming the belt with his win against Lewis. The victory moved Gane to 10-0 overall and a six fight win streak in the UFC. The Gane vs Ngannou fight will have an interesting storyline attached to it with the two being former training partners.
The venue of this card has not yet been finalized; the hope is that it is somewhere in the United States. The card in itself is starting to shape up. The latest lineup for UFC 270 includes: Francis Ngannou vs. Ciryl Gane – to unify the heavyweight title, Derek Brunson vs. Jared Cannonier, Greg Hardy vs. Aleksei Oleinik, AJ Dobson vs. Jacob Malkoun, Poliana Botelho vs. Ji Yeon Kim and Wellington Turman vs. Rodolfo Vieira.