This past Saturday, Francis Ngannou successfully defend his heavyweight title with a unanimous decision win over Ciryl Gane at UFC 270. It was a hard-fought victory, made even more impressive by the fact that Ngannou tore his MCL and injured his ACL in the weeks leading up to the bout, as the champion announced after the fight. And given the adversity Ngannou was dealing with leading up to the fight and during it, the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world, Kamaru Usman, couldn’t be prouder of him.
“Feels amazing to be able to witness yet another victory for Francis,” Usman said backstage at UFC 270. “This one was hard-fought. This one was a hard one because he had to deal with a lot of different situations, a lot of different things that could have prevented, could have hindered this fight even taking place. So for him to persevere through that, get into a tough fight like this, that dude is no joke. Gane is the real deal and Francis proved why he is the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. So I’m beyond proud. That belt stays in Africa!”
Usman and Ngannou have been friends for many years, bonded by their shared African heritage. This friendship has led to the two working together occasionally and it seems that has paid off. In the early rounds this past weekend, Ngannou was unable to land his usual heavy strikes and Gane seemed to be running away with the fight; however, in the third round, Ngannou turned the tide of the bout by using his wrestling and grappling to mount a comeback against Gane. It was an unexpected twist from the heavyweight champion but one that Usman says shows Ngannou’s evolution as a fighter.
“Francis, that’s the thing about him, he’s one of those special athletes that he takes everything as it comes,” Usman told BT Sport. “He was gonna be able to deal with whatever was coming at him. He didn’t initially engage in the clinch or the wrestling in the first round, that came from Gane, which I though was an excellent game plan. But we’re just seeing the evolution of heavyweights. Did you see that sweep in the fifth? Damn! Even I don’t do that one! So you’re seeing the evolution of the game and Francis is a scary man.”
Though Usman and Ngannou don’t train at the same gym, the UFC welterweight champion was in Ngannou’s corner on Saturday, as he was for Ngannou’s title winning victory over Stipe Miocic at UFC 260 last year, and it seems that given Ngannou’s track record with Usman in the corner, “The Nigerian Nightmare” will likely be a fixture of his coaching team on fight nights in the future. However, where that future will be is very much up for debate. At UFC 270, Ngannou completed his UFC contract and is now set for what could be an intense contract negotiation with the organization. However, even if we don’t ever see Ngannou in the UFC again, the heavyweight champion already proved his mettle on Saturday.
“When you become the champion of course you are the champion, the number one guy, but everybody in the world is gunning for you,” Usman said. “So to be able to defend that belt and hold them off, truly depicts the mark of a champion.”
Reaction. Francis Ngannou reacts to Dana White not putting belt around his waist, skipping UFC 270 press conference.
Boxing. Tyson Fury welcomes Francis Ngannou to ‘make some real money’ after UFC 270 win, Ngannou responds with fight poster.
Rematch. Ciryl Gane hopes that Francis Ngannou stays with UFC: ‘I want my rematch’.
UFC 270 Post-Fight Press Conference Stream.
UFC 270 Post Show.
UFC 271 Promo.
Doctor discussing Francis Ngannou’s torn MCL and ACL.
Israel Adesanya watching UFC 270. His reactions during the main event are spectacular.
On to the Next One. Matches to make after UFC 270.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Khamzat got jokes.
Tito Ortiz is a UFC Hall of Famer. They literally put him in the history books.
.@francis_ngannou Congrats on the fight and standing your ground for the future of all #MMA fighters. I did it and they tried to erase me from the UFC’s history books. I hope they don’t the same to you.— Tito Ortiz (@titoortiz) January 24, 2022
Not impressed, I think @HenryCejudo need to quit coaching just like he quit fighting— Petr “No Mercy” Yan (@PetrYanUFC) January 23, 2022
Jared Brooks rapping.
Glover Teixeira (33-7) vs. Jiri Prochazka (28-3-1); UFC 274, May 7.
Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.
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