The most destructive knockout artist in MMA gets set to put his title on the line as UFC heavyweight champion of the world Francis Ngannou returns at UFC 270.
His first defense as UFC champion comes in a bout with plenty of backstory and a little bit of needle.
Rather than book Ngannou in a title defense, the UFC and their new champion appeared to be on different pages, with the promotion booking an interim title fight between Ngannou’s former teammate Ciryl Gane and Derrick Lewis, while Ngannou himself was left on the sidelines.
Gane won the fight, became the interim champion and put himself at the front of the queue to face “The Predator.” That fight takes place Saturday night at UFC 270, with Ngannou set to face off against former teammate Gane and former coach Fernand Lopez, with his relationship with his ex-coach seemingly still somewhat frosty after he left the MMA Factory team to live and train in Las Vegas with Xtreme Couture.
It’s a fight with plenty on the line and, with Ngannou also fighting the final bout of his current UFC contract, it could prove to be a crossroads moment for his combat sports career. He wants bigger paydays and the option to box, but the UFC are unlikely to be as keen to let their man step into the squared circle.
Ahead of the matchup check out the UFC’s pre-fight film, UFC 270 Countdown, which tells the pre-fight story of the bout, with opinions from both fighters and their teams.