Cameroonian Francis Ngannou retains his title – Liberation

Winner by unanimous decision of the judges, Cameroonian Francis Ngannou remains UFC world heavyweight champion. Ciryl Gane misses the opportunity to become the first French titled in the queen category.

In Anaheim (California) this Sunday, “Bon Gamin” thought it was entering the big leagues. But Ciryl Gane, a Frenchman with a meteoric trajectory, missed the opportunity to put France on the world MMA map once and for all, washed out by the “Predator” Francis Ngannou, whose power seems to be over fights seems incomparable. Winner by unanimous decision of the judges – 48-47, 48-47, 49-46 – the Cameroonian, 35, keeps his world champion belt and remains, in the eyes of UFC aficionados – number one organization in MMA – the strongest man in the world.

Ciryl Gane, he fell in front of his «boss de fin», as he nicknamed Francis Ngannou, the ultimate mountain on the road to coronation. At the very last level, this fifth and final recovery where everything was still possible between the two men. The climax of a fight between the two offspring of the MMA Factory, a world-class Parisian nursery, whose plot has taken almost everyone back to the Honda Center. We expected an offensive Ngannou to bend the deal in the first two rounds, and a Gane to contain the golgoth and force the decision on the next three.

It was quite the opposite. A more precise fighter with “striking” (percussion techniques), Gane has long kept Ngannou at bay. Barely timorous at the start, the Yonnais got out of the woods in less than a minute: very mobile, clever in his approaches, the Yonnais tucked in his jabs, alternated the keys with the help of the knee, the elbow, placed a return kick.

Above all, he exhausts Ngannou with his regular changes of guard, all while varying the distances: as soon as Ngannou seems within striking distance, Gane comes directly to the “clinching” (combat phase where the two opponents are in close combat ) to cancel the assaults of the Cameroonian. After two rounds, the scenario is beyond that hoped for the Frenchman, who, unlike Ngannou, is used to taking his time in the octagon (15 minutes on average in the cage, one of the highest of the circuit).

Fatal Ground Holds

Without a solution in ten minutes and trailing in points, Ngannou must then win the last three rounds. Change of approach: the Cameroonian has progressed in certain compartments, including taking to the ground. But that, nobody really knows, the public had barely guessed ten months earlier during Ngannou’s last success for the heavyweight belt against the American Stipe Miocic.

A huge takedown (the fact of tipping the opponent to the ground) in the third recovery will then change everything. Thrown to the ground while trying his hand at the high-kick, Gane wears himself out to extricate himself from the 116.5 kilos held on the scale the day before. Ngannou understands that to get Gane’s skin, he will have to be taken care of on the ground. Two knocked down later, the Cameroonian won the round thanks to his wrestling phases, unheard of for the puncher, accustomed to knockouts in less than three minutes.

The seizures multiply, and the fight turns, irremediably. In addition to his obvious power, the Cameroonian triumphed thanks to assets that many underestimated him: the grip on the ground, and the cardio – “We can’t lose this fight on a cardio problem!”, blows his trainer Fernand Lopez to Gane, at the end of the 4th round. And this teaching, implacable: Ngannou is no longer a simple puncher. He has become a complete fighter. A real MMA fighter. And perhaps never seemed stronger than this Sunday.

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