Cameroonian Mixed Martial Artist Francis Ngannou retained his heavyweight title at UFC 270 with the defeat of fellow heavyweight Cyril Gane via unanimous decision.
Ngannou is known widely as one of the biggest punchers in the history of the UFC, and he was billed to face former teammate Cyril Gane at the Honda Center in California with the heavyweight title on the line. Gane was the interim heavyweight champion and this fight was to unify the division. Ngannou had his friend and training partner Kamaru Usman in his corner for the fight.
The 35-year-old Ngannou had a number of running disputes coming into the fight, including with the UFC boss Dana White over a contract dispute. The experienced fighter had to defend his title against a former teammate in Gane.
Gane was undefeated in his UFC career with a record of 10-0 since making his UFC debut, and it was always going to be a tough proposition for Ngannou.
Gane started the fight brightly from the first round and easily repelled Ngannou’s attacks, forcing him to miss his intended hits. The Frenchman was clearly in control as Ngannou sought to find a way to break his defense. Gane won the first round on the scorecard after a dominant performance.
The second round was more of the same as Ngannou was forced to conserve his energy as Gane took the initiative with a flurry of attacks. His offensive approach pushed Ngannou back and gave him a win in the second round as well.
From the third round, the tide of the bout changed dramatically. Hitherto known as a one-trick pony who could only punch, Ngannou showed another side to his game as he resorted to grappling and wrestling against Gane, resulting in a huge takedown and handing the Cameroonian the advantage in the fight.
Basking in the confidence his improved third round display brought, the Cameroonian continued to dominate and easily won the fourth round with his wrestling which seemed to catch Gane off guard. The fifth round went Ngannou’s way, and the result was left to the judges. Ron McCarthy scored the fight 48-47 in Ngannou’s favour, Sal D’Amato scored the fight 49-46 in favour of the Cameroonian and Derek Cleary scored 48-47, with Ngannou claiming the unanimous decision win.
The Cameroonian fighter is now the undisputed heavyweight champion of the UFC after following up his win over Stipe Miocic at UFC 260 with another credible win at UFC 270.