Francis Ngannou has retained his UFC heavyweight title.
The reigning, defending champion heading into UFC 270, Ngannou methodically fought his way to a unanimous decision over challenger Ciryl Gane, 48-47, 48-47, 49-46. Ngannou used takedowns and wrestling to neutralize Gane’s sophisticated kickboxing attacks.
The win was Ngnannou’s first title defense.
With Gane winning the early rounds on account of his slick Muay Thai style and clinchwork, Ngnnaou battled back in the later frames. Using powerful slams and a grinding wrestling approach, Ngnannou moved from half guard to full mount throughout the 25-minute contest, slowing the challenger down in the later rounds to hold on to the title.
It was an unexpected gameplan from a fighter known for vicious and quick knockouts, but an effective one nonetheless.
— BroBible (@BroBible) January 23, 2022
With an expiring UFC contract, Ngannou is entering uncharted territory. Suddenly, the conventional narrative of facing up-and-coming challengers has been blown wide open in favor of a new contract, along with a crossover fight against WBC heavyweight champ Tyson Fury. Even a potential fight with longtime light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, who has been contemplating a move up to heavyweight for years, seems to be on ice, as Ngannou exercises his leverage. It’s really a fascinating story.
Ngannou’s future with the UFC remains the biggest takeaway from UFC 270. Not since B.J. Penn in 2004 has a reigning UFC champion walked away from their belt to pursue combat opportunities outside the Octagon. If Ngnannou opts to leave in favor of a boxing career or myriad combat sports options, it would be a landmark moment in the UFC.
Not only the UFC heavyweight division and Jon Jones, but also the entire mixed martial arts world, awaits the result of Ngannou’s contract situation. The future of the division, and MMA labor disputes, hangs in the balance.
And now, more takeaways from UFC 270 …
Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Brandon Moreno Will Be the UFC’s First Quadrilogy
Forget the trilogy, it’s going to take four fights to determine the winner of the historic rivalry between new champion Deiveson Figueiredo and former champ Brandon Moreno.
With Figueiredo winning a unanimous decision in the UFC 270 co-main event, the scene is now perfectly set for a fourth fight, as the pair have battled two a 1-1-1 record in head-to-head competition over the last 14 months.
Once again, Figueiredo and Moreno delivered absolute fireworks, earning Fight of the Night honors.
Their back-and-forth fight lit the Honda Center crowd on fire. Every time Figueiredo landed devastating shots, Moreno answered with attacks of his own. Moreno was largely on the offensive throughout, throwing strikes in volume, tagging the new champ in the pocket. But Figuieredo landed devastating leg kicks early, and dropped Moreno in the third round.
What amounted to a predominantly standup fight, the trilogy between Figueiredo and Moreno once again proves that these two are perfect dance partners who deliver incredible action inside the cage. They’re everything fans want to see in an MMA fight, and they’re destined for a fourth bout later this year to settle their historic rivalry.
Michel Pereira Is Must See TV
The UFC 270 card may not have been the promotion’s deepest, but main card competitor Michel Pereira seized his opportunity to fight just before the night’s two title fights, delivering a spectacular performance against Andre Fialho.
Winning a unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28), Pereira battled back from adversity after losing the first round.
Investing in body work by attacking Fialho’s midsection with kicks early, Pereira found his form in the second and third rounds, rattling off wild combinations, flying knees, and even a somersault Rolling Thunder kick.
It was both an entertaining and technical performance from Pereira, who may be on his way to a top-15 ranking following UFC 270. And wherever he lands in the new rankings, Pereira has cemented his place as PPV draw, or Fight Night headliner, from here on out.
Ranking The Card
Heading into UFC 270, there was plenty of talk about the depth of the card and a lack of stars and ranked fighters.
While the lack of depth could definitely be felt, the two title fights at the top of the card were no doubt a draw, and both delivered their fair share of action.
The lack of ranked fighters also allowed newer athletes like Michael Morales and Jack Della Maddalena to shine. Bantamweight Said Nurmagomedov and flyweight Vanessa Demopoulos also delivered stellar performances, earning Performance of the Night honors.
It may not have been the UFC’s greatest blockbuster, but UFC 270 was a solid way to kick off the UFC’s 2022 PPV campaign. And seriously, if this is what they’re promoting in January, imagine what kind of cards we’ll see towards the end of the year.
UFC 270 Results
- Francis Ngannou def. Ciryl Gane via unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 49-46)
- Deveison Figueiredo def. Brandon Moreno via unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 48-47)
- Michel Pereira def. Andre Fialho via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Said Nurmagomedov def. Cody Stamann via submission (guillotine choke) R1, 0:47
- Michael Morales def. Trevin Giles via TKO (punches) R1, 4:06
- Victor Henry def. Raoni Barcelos via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Jack Della Maddalena def. Pete Rodriguez via TKO (punches) R1. 2:59
- Tony Gravely def. Saimon Oliveira via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Matt Frevola def. Genaro Valdez via TKO (punches) R1, 3:15
- Vanessa Demopoulos def. Silvana Gomez Juarez via submission (armbar) R1, 2:25
- Jasmine Jasudavicius def. Kay Hansen via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Dan Shapiro is a writer, editor, musician, and producer currently based in Los Angeles. In addition to covering some of the biggest fights in combat sports history, he’s also hunted down the world’s best sushi, skied the northern hemisphere in July, and chronicled Chinese underground music for publications like CNN, the New York Daily News, VICE, and Time Out. Dan also conjured up a ghost at the Chateau Marmont while out on assignment for RoadTrippers. Follow him on Twitter here.
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