The two title fights scheduled for the top of the UFC 270 fight card presented very differently as the protagonists faced off for the final time ahead of fight night in Anaheim.
All four fighters involved, heavyweights Francis Ngannou and Ciryl Gane, and flyweights Brandon Moreno and Deiveson Figueiredo, all made championship weight without fuss at Friday’s early-morning weigh-ins.
Then, later in the day, they took the stage one last time to flex in front of the cameras, then face off for the fans as the matchups were locked in ahead of Saturday night’s pay-per-view in California.
The headliner sees heavyweight champ Ngannou face former teammate Gane in a bout with a well-told backstory, as Ngannou prepares to not just face a former training partner, but also his longtime coach, Fernand Lopez.
The tension between fighter and former coach continues to simmer under the surface, but the respect was there for all to see when the two fighters faced off. After the usual locking of eyes, both men sealed the deal with a fist-bump to show the world that, despite the tension elsewhere, the two fighters acknowledge each other respectfully.
The heat was far more evident in the co-main event, as former champion Figueiredo made one last attempt to get under the skin of the remarkably happy-go-lucky champion Moreno.
The Brazilian unsuccessfully tried to rile Moreno during the pre-fight press conference, and made one last bid during the faceoffs as he flipped off the reigning champion ahead of their trilogy bout.
So far, the score stands at one win for Moreno and one draw. After a point deduction cost him the win in the first meeting, then a tough weight cut severely affected his performance in the second, Figueiredo is in Anaheim with a point to prove, and he’s all fired up and ready to go.