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UFC Heavyweight Championship: Ngannou vs Gane Breakdown and Preview

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It’s finally here. The UFC’s first pay-per-view of the year, UFC 270, takes place from Anaheim’s Honda Center— but it takes place amid controversy among the MMA fanbase:

UFC 270 First Show Under ESPN+’s New Price Structure For PPVs

A few weeks back, ESPN+ announced that UFC 270 would be the first pay-per-view event from the MMA promotion to be priced at $74.99.

Only time will tell as to whether or not this price hike will have an adverse effect on this and subsequent PPV events’ buy rates, but that’s neither here nor there.

UFC Heavyweight Championship Unification Battle in UFC 270 Main Event

Barring any postponements between now and Saturday evening, COVID-19 or otherwise, UFC 270 is slated to feature a 13-fight card, highlighted by a championship doubleheader to close the show, culminating in the UFC 270 main event.

Incumbent champion Francis Ngannou (16-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC), who’s dealing with a controversy of his own at the present time, will do battle against interim champion Ciryl Gane (10-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) in a battle to determine the permanent UFC Heavyweight Champion, a five-round fight at five minutes per round to close the show.

An interesting storyline going into this fight is the fact that Ngannou and Gane were sparring partners at one time– but on Saturday, all pleasantries will be put aside for a maximum of 25 minutes.

UFC 270 Main Event Fighter Comparison

Heading into the UFC 270 main event this Saturday night, both men stand 6-foot-4. Ngannou has the edge in both reach (83 inches to 81 inches) and leg reach (44 1/2 inches to 42 inches even) over Gane in the run-up to Saturday’s UFC 270 main event.

Francis Ngannou Set to Leave UFC After UFC 270 Main Event

By this point, MMA fans would have to be living on Mars to not be aware of what’s going on inside the Francis Ngannou camp in the final days before the UFC 270 main event.

Although the champion has posted a 5-0 record in his last five appearances, including a second-round knockout from a left hook versus Stipe Miocic last March during the UFC 260 main event, Ngannou has made it clear to UFC President Dana White and the promotion that absent of a significant pay increase, he wants out of the UFC.

Ngannou is on the last fight of his eight-match pact with the promotion, a deal that dates back to December of 2017. He wants at least a seven-figure paycheck in any potential new contract.

“No, I will not fight for $500,000 [or] $600,000 anymore,” Ngannou said. “It’s over. I took this fight for personal reasons because I want to make sure that regardless of [whether] it’s fair, I can make my case that I have completed the fights.”

Dana White Ready to Move On From Ngannou If Need Be

Should Ngannou depart from the UFC following the UFC 270 main event this Saturday night, Dana White is all but prepared to move forward from the fray that the current heavyweight champion is providing.

“Look, if you want to be with us, we’d love to have you,” White said. “If you don’t want to be with us, no problem, it’s all good.”

However, according to UFC contract rules, any incumbent champion who is out of his or her contract upon defending the strap is automatically renewed on a three-fight or one calendar year basis unless and until he or she is unseated as the champion or stripped of the title, known as the champion’s clause.

Interim Champion Ciryl Gane Views Francis Ngannou as “Final Boss” in UFC 270 Main Event

In the other corner, Ciryl Gane has yet to lose in his professional MMA career, having knocked out Derrick Lewis in the UFC 265 main event in the latter’s hometown of Houston back in August.

Ciryl Gane now enters the biggest fight of his career (in only his 11th career appearance,) and he’s not letting his past sparring experience with Francis Ngannou distract him from his ultimate goal, taking a page from the video game lexicon in describing his next adversary.

“The champion is really a great fighter, with a lot of strength,” Gane said of Ngannou on The MMA Hour. “I like to say that this is the ‘final boss’ [like in my] video game.”

Whether or not he “beats the game” in the UFC 270 main event is yet to be seen.

Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction

Stylistically, the UFC 270 main event looks to be a toss-up as both men like to punch their way to victory, though Ciryl Gane’s kickboxing background should give him the edge here.

Thus, we could be looking at a stand-up fight in the UFC 270 main event.

Watch Out For Ngannou’s Hooks

In looking at the tape of Francis Ngannou’s last fight against Stipe Miocic, one aspect of his fight acumen that could give Ciryl Gane fits is that of his left hooks.

During the second round of a scheduled five, Ngannou, after landing serious ground and pound shots from the back mount against Miocic and teeing him up with a head kick in round one– a round which saw Miocic get a cut above his left eye. Ngannou wasted little time in putting the firefighter’s blaze out on the night, scoring with uppercuts, and although Miocic countered with a right hand, it was too little, too late, as Ngannou landed a brilliantly-placed left hook to knock him out cold.

If Francis Ngannou’s left hooks are on the button in the UFC 270 main event on Saturday night, it could be a short evening for him.

Look For Gane’s Ground and Pound

In the other corner, Ciryl Gane’s ground and pound shots are just as deadly as Ngannou’s hooks, as Derrick Lewis found out last August.

During the third round of the UFC 265 main event, Gane smelled blood, teeing off with an uppercut and a left-handed strike, followed by another uppercut, a right hook, and a knee strike before referee Dan Miragliotta temporarily suspended the fight to give Lewis his mouthpiece back– but it was all over from there.

A Ciryl Gane head kick wobbled Derrick Lewis even further, and although Lewis attempted to counterpunch, he was clearly hurt by this stage in the fight, with Gane knocking him down with a punch to the head, landing a flurry of ground and pound shots from the back mount to end the fight and give him the interim championship.

If Ciryl Gane is able to key in on his ground and pound shots, he will walk out of Honda Center as the permanent heavyweight champion after the UFC 270 main event on Saturday night.

Final Thoughts

Not much more needs to be said about the UFC 270 main event on Saturday night except this:

We’re seeing the coronation of the promotion’s next major star at 265 lbs. in Cyril Gane– and with a win, his meteoric rise to the top of the game will be complete in a blazing-quick fashion.

Prediction: Ciryl Gane by Third-Round TKO.


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Featured Image Credits to Getty Images

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