Heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou will put his still on the line for the first time when he takes on interim titleholder Ciryl Gane in the UF 270 main event.
Ngannou (16-3) captured the heavyweight championship by knocking out Stipe Miocic at UFC 260 last March. He enters the bout on the final fight of his current UFC contract. Gane (10-0) plans to keep his unblemished record intact, and add a world title to his resume.
The two were briefly training partners, but Ngannou doesn’t think that will have any impact in the fight. In fact, he says that he and Gane trained together less than 10 times.
“Ciryl and I, we trained together, that was in January 2019 when I was on my way from Cameroon to here to fight Cain Velasquez. We didn’t even train ten times because I was there for one month getting ready for the fight, and he was getting ready for his fight as well,” Ngannou told TMZ Sports.
“We didn’t train that much. I don’t think it was enough to be able to say, ‘oh, we know this. We know that.’ We have a little bit of a showcase of each other, but not that much.”
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During their time training together, Ngannou was impressed by how light on his feet Gane was for a heavyweight. Despite Gane’s agility, Ngannou predicted that he’s going to knock out Gane on Jan. 22.
“This is fighting business. It’s not a karate sh*t. It’s all about fighting and how to knock somebody out, or take somebody out, either way,” Ngannou said.
“I would definitely root for the knockout, but since I fought Stipe the first time, that was the only time that I really walked in and was looking for a knockout. And it didn’t go well. I went back to my gym as I used to do and the knockout came back. It seems like I’m just made for knockouts even without searching the knockout.”
“I will not be searching the knockout, but I don’t see how we will end this fight without me knocking him out, maybe under two rounds,” Ngannou said. “He’s not as tough as Stipe. I know the guy pretty good.”
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