Francis Ngannou outpoints Cyril Gane to retain heavyweight title – Orange County Register

    ANAHEIM — Cyril Gane knew to beware the thunderous power of Francis Ngannou.

    Takedowns, however, were likely the last things Gane was expecting.

    Ngannou’s persistence to take the fight to the mat scored him enough points in the last three rounds to secure a unanimous-decision victory and retain his heavyweight belt in the UFC 270 main event Saturday at a sold-out Honda Center.

    The judges scored it 48-47, 48-47, 49-46 for the colossal Cameroonian, who was making his first title defense against his former training partner and handed him his first loss.

    It is the sixth consecutive victory for the 35-year-old Ngannou (17-3), though the previous five each ended in devastating knockouts.

    For all the talk about the size and magnitude of the two, the fight featured no knockdowns and a lot of wrestling the last three rounds. Ngannou won 10-9 scores in those last three rounds from judges Ron McCarthy, Sal D’Amato and Derek Cleary, with D’Amato scoring the first round for the champion.

    In fact, neither fighter landed a significant enough of a blow to put his opponent in trouble.

    Gane (10-1), the interim champion, smartly used his exemplary footwork and quickness, along with knees and leg kicks, in the first two rounds to evade Ngannou’s power and slip under his punches. When the Parisian did wade into Ngannou’s range, he’d land and get out.

    The third round started with the 31-year-old Gane bouncing, switching stances with his hands at his side so as not to allow Ngannou to find his range or rhythm.

    The champ quickly negated that in the third round with a massive lift and slam. Gane rose only to get taken down again.

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