Francis Ngannou Secures Unanimous Decision Victory To Retain UFC Heavyweight Title

Heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou has successfully defended his title versus the French Muay Thai specialist, Ciryl Gane. But his 17th profession win came together in a way that not many fans or analysts were expecting.

The defending champion from Cameroon was able to nullify the advanced striking game of Ciryl Gane by playing solid defense, putting Gane on his back foot, and executing tactful takedowns that resulted in dominant positions. Stemming from spending a large portion of the fight in said dominant positions, Francis Ngannou was able to achieve the victory in a unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 49-46).

For the first two rounds, Gane stayed on the outside and utilized his high-level distance control. From there, he was able to land very impressive off-rhythm strikes, including a wheel kick that seemed to defy the laws of physics and partially connected to the side of Ngannou’s head.

In round three, we saw a side of Francis Ngannou that was unfamiliar. The heavyweight champion carried out successful takedowns on two separate occasions, resulting in Gane spending a significant amount of time on his back, for the first time in his career.

During round four, Ngannou went about his business with a similar game plan, securing yet another takedown. This was out of character for Francis, and no one was expecting it, especially Ciryl Gane. After finishing the round in the bottom position, Gane was visibly exhausted and the look of concern on his face was evident.

In the fifth and final round, which not many thought these heavyweight competitors would make it to, both continued to be conservative with their striking in an effort to avoid making any late fight mistakes. We also saw solid wrestling efforts from both fighters. Gane was able to execute a takedown and gain a dominant position, but made a crucial error when trying to advance to mount, an error that Francis capitalized on without much thought. Ngannou used Ciryl’s fault to accomplish the sweep and reverse the grounded position.

Recording his first ever decision victory, Francis Ngannou moves his record to 17-3 (12 KO’s). Additionally, this fight marks the first loss on Ciryl Gane’s professional MMA record.

Although this was a tough setback for Gane, we expect him to learn from this defeat and come back even stronger in his next bout.

Fellow champion Kamaru Usman was overheard in the octagon after the main event, telling Francis that what we are witnessing is the evolution of his fight game. Truer words could not be spoken with regard to the heavyweight champion’s ability to adapt to situations, and triumph versus stylistically difficult opponents.

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