When Ngannou reached the mountaintop by brutally knocking Miocic out at UFC 260 last March, he wasn’t just building his legacy by becoming a champion, but he was also avenging the first UFC defeat of his career.
Heading into the opening pay-per-view of 2018, Ngannou was 6-0 in the UFC and was expected to secure his place on the throne. In his run in the promotion up to that point, he’d finished all of his opponents inside the opening two rounds, five by KO or TKO.
But at UFC 220, Ngannou faced a step-up in competition that he had perhaps not fully appreciated. Across five rounds against the consensus heavyweight GOAT Miocic, “The Predator” was taken down, controlled, and fatigued. After 25 minutes, Ngannou fell on the wrong side of a lopsided unanimous decision verdict.
Gane Explains Why Ngannou Fell Short At UFC 220
At UFC 260 last March, Ngannou had the chance for redemption. The big question heading into the pay-per-view was could the Cameroonian powerhouse keep the fight standing and defend against Miocic’s wrestling and takedown attempts? That query was answered emphatically.
With the gold now around his waist, Ngannou will look to defend it for the first time in a unification showdown against interim titleholder Gane. Ahead of the UFC 270 main event this Saturday, “Bon Gamin” discussed the improvements Ngannou made between his two championship fights.
Speaking to former UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping for BT Sport, Gane suggested Ngannou failed in his first crack at dethroning Miocic because he didn’t follow the game plan, something the champ’s team at Xtreme Couture were able to rectify heading into the rematch.
“He was really better (in the Miocic rematch). I think his coach did something good because the problem with Francis is about the game plan,” said Gane. “He don’t like to follow the game plan. So that’s why he was wrong in the first fight with Stipe. Now, he improved on that and that was really better.”
With Ngannou’s wrestling visibly improved and developed last time out, and with his belief that he’ll have a firm advantage over Gane in that department, it certainly wouldn’t be surprising to see the much-talked-about battle between power and striking technique venture to the ground at some point at UFC 270.
Who do you think will have their hand raised at UFC 270, Ciryl Gane or Francis Ngannou?