UFC 270: Francis Ngannou overcomes adversity to beat Cyril Gane to retain heavyweight title
Francis Ngannou was the betting underdog heading into his title unfication bout with Ciryl Gane at UFC 270.
He entered the fight in a contract dispute with the UFC and has been publicly feuding with company president Dana White. After two rounds, Ngannou was either down both or it was even.
However, instead of swinging for the fences and relying on his Mike Tyson-like power, Ngannou went uncoventional and used his grappling to score a series of takedowns and his jiu-jitsu in the final three rounds to win via unanimous decision (49-46, 48-47, 48-47) to unify the heavyweight titles from the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. DAZN News scored the fight 49-46 for Ngannou.
What made the victory all the more impressive was that Ngannou did it while injured as he later revealed in the Octagon.
"It's been a very tough training camp," Ngannou told Joe Rogan during his post-fight interview. "Very tough 10 months. A lot of s—t. Three weeks ago, I hurt my knee. Tore my MCL completely, hurt my ACL and other stuff."
Gane (10-1) controlled the opening round with his precision striking and avoided Ngannou's heavy hands for the most part. During the second round, Ngannou landed a little more but Gane was connecting on kicks to the knees of Ngannou.
Realizing he could be down on the scorecards, Ngannou (17-3) listened to his corner from Xtreme Couture and did the unthinkable. He used his never been seen grappling. Gane attempted a kick and Ngannou caught and picked the Frenchman up, bodyslamming him to the ground. Ngannou transitioned to Gane's back. A moment later, Gane tried for a trip but Ngannou judo tossed him to the mat. Near the end of the round, Ngannou grabbed a double leg takedown and held onto to the bell.
It was much of the same in the fourth round when Ngannou rushed in, landed a body shot and took Gane down. He tried the same thing in the fifth round. This time, Gane secured a takedown of his own. Somehow, someway, Ngannou slipped out and got the fight in full guard. Surprisingly, Gane went for a leg lock, but Ngannou stayed patient and slipped out and got on top to control the remainder of the round and retain the heavyweight title.
Now, what is next for Ngannou? He's been hinting at a boxing match, preferably with WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury.
UFC 270 was the final fight on Ngannou’s contract. With the win, the UFC can invoke a champion’s clause that will extend Ngannou's contract for three fights or for one year. If Ngannou decides to not compete, his contract would end in January 2023, so he could enter free agency if he waited out the deal.
When the scorecards were read, it wasn't White who put the belt around Ngannou. Typically, White puts the belt around whoever wins a title fight.Here is what happened at UFC 270.