A heavyweight title unification bout is being targeted for UFC 270 on Jan. 22 as reigning champion Francis Ngannou is expected to meet interim champion Ciryl Gane in the first pay-per-view in 2022.
Multiple sources confirmed the matchup to MMA Fighting on Wednesday with verbal agreements in place from the fighters. At this time, no bout agreements have been issued or signed.
French outlet La Sueur was first to report the date for the planned fight.
The heavyweights have been on a collision course ever since Gane claimed the interim title back in August with a TKO win over Derrick Lewis. While it was a very impressive victory, Gane became interim champion just four months after Ngannou claimed the heavyweight title with a second-round knockout over Stipe Miocic.
Following that win, 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.
With Ngannou unavailable for the date the promotion wanted, the UFC opted to introduce an interim title with Gane claiming the belt with his win against Lewis. The victory moved Gane to 10-0 overall with six of those wins in the UFC.
Now the former training partners are expected to meet with only one of them walking away with a UFC heavyweight title with the fight now expected to take place in January.
At this time, there’s no location set for UFC 270, although it’s expected the event will take place in the United States.
MMA Fighting’s Mike Heck contributed to this report.