Top MMA trainers break down, predict Francis Ngannou vs. Ciryl Gane – The Athletic

    One of the most intriguing UFC title matchups in recent memory takes place Saturday night in Anaheim, Calif. as heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou squares off with rising star Ciryl Gane. This fight is all about Ngannou’s brutal one-punch knockout power vs. Gane’s overall skill set and athleticism.

    On top of the in-cage excitement, there’s just as much outside of it. Ngannou and Gane have a personal history as they both trained together at MMA Factory in Paris under coach Fernand Lopez before Ngannou left the team a couple years ago to move to Las Vegas.

    How will this highly anticipated bout play out? The Athletic spoke with three of MMA’s top trainers — Ray Longo, Sayif Saud and Tyson Fortier — for their take on the matchup and to give a prediction.

    What are your initial thoughts on the matchup?

    Ray Longo, Serra-Longo MMA: I’m definitely excited for it. They have a common opponent in the Black Beast (Derrick Lewis) that Gane literally had no problem with while Ngannou and the Black Beast was probably the worst fight in heavyweight history.

    I think this is an intriguing matchup. Ngannou has the power to end the fight at any given point in time. Gane is pretty good at controlling the pace of the fight and keeping his distance. They’re the same height, so it’s not going to be a big size difference. I could see Ngannou chasing the big knockout. Gane is going to respect him but probably not overly respect him. Gane can win that fight on points pretty easy, believe it or not, but he has to avoid getting decapitated.

    They both have shown us ways they could win the fight. Ngannou if he hits you and Gane can wear on you and then get you out of there when he has to. For a big guy he’s pretty tricky, so he’s got to control the range and the pace of the fight and Ngannou has got to do the complete opposite. He’s got to make it as ugly as possible.

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