The UFC pay-per-view schedule kicks off on Saturday when UFC 270 goes down from Honda Center in Anaheim, California. In the main event, heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou battles interim champion Ciryl Gane in a unification bout.
The champion Ngannou enters this first title defense on shaky ground with UFC brass. The native of Cameroon is hoping to secure a more lucrative contract while president Dana White seems intent on keeping his salary as is. The destructive knockout artist has done just about everything imaginable inside the Octagon to this point with 11 stoppages in his 13 career appearances. Gane, meanwhile, is a perfect 10-0 in his pro career with nearly equal types of wins across the board. He'll enter as the slight betting favorite with bettors expecting his slick, defensive style to slow the fast charging attack of Ngannou.
While the titanic heavyweight clash is a headline-grabber, the co-main event is every bit as good as flyweight champion Brandon Moreno defends his title against former champ Deiveson Figueiredo in a trilogy fight.
Moreno climbed the ranks at 125 pounds after being cut by the promotion in 2018. He returned in 2019 after scoring a TKO win for the LFA title and has ripped off a 4-0-2 record in UFC since, including fighting Figueiredo to a draw in December 2019 on just three weeks' notice. He then submitted Figueiredo in their rematch last June to earn the championship. A win by Figueiredo could set up an unprecedented fourth meeting between to the two combatants.
The undercard features some exciting fighters looking to send a message on a massive stage. Look no further than the feature bout on the main card when Michel Pereira takes on Andre Fialho at welterweight. Pereira is as flashy as they come, with an array of wild strikes that always get the fans going. But he gets a tough test in Fialho, who is making his promotional debut after years on the regional scene. In 14 career wins, Fialho has scored stoppages in 11 of them.
Clearly, it's easy to get lost in the minutiae of a big event. So we're here to help give you a concise outlook of what to expect and what to know for every main card fight. Let's take a closer look at what to expect on Saturday.
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Note: Rodolfo Viera vs. Wellington Turman was originally scheduled for the main card and has since been canceled.
Michael Morales vs. Trevin Giles, welterweight
- Odds: Morales -115, Giles +105 | Last three results: Morales - W,W,W | Giles - L,W,W
- Morales: Making UFC debut after an impressive run on regional scene and win on Contender Series
- Giles: Jiu-jitsu practitioner with equal parts knockout and submission ability
This bout gets the bump from the prelims after Rodolfo Viera vs. Wellington Turman was canceled. Morales enters the bout at 12-0 in his career while making his UFC debut. He's scored nine knockouts in first 12 bouts, but failed to finish Nikolay Veretennikov on Dana White's Contender Series last September. Giles, meanwhile, is a vet of eight UFC appearances and holds a 5-3 record inside the Octagon. He's coming off a knockout loss to Dricus du Plessis in July, but Giles had won three straight before that defeat.
Said Nurmagomedov vs. Cody Stamann, Bantamweight
- Odds: Nurmagomedov -190, Stamann +160 | Last three results: Nurmagomedov - W,L,W | Stamann - L,L,W
- Nurmagomedov: Looking to establish a winning streak two fights after suffering his first UFC loss
- Stamann: On a 2-3-1 skid after starting his UFC career with three consecutive victories
Stamann (19-4-1) has had an odd run in the UFC. He started his Octagon career with three straight victories, though two of those came via split decision. Against eventual bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling, Stamann was submitted with a rare Suloev stretch submission. That set off a run where Stamann has gone 2-3-1, including back-to-back losses in his most recent fights, leaving him in need of a win at UFC 270. Nurmagomedov (14-2) has gone 3-1 in the Octagon, suffering his first UFC loss two fights ago. He rebounded from that loss with an impressive knockout of Mark Striegl in October to get back in the win column. Those kinds of finishes are rare for Nurmagomedov, who has seen the scorecards more often than not in his career. Seven of Nurmagomedov's 10 most recent fights have gone to decision. Similarly, eight of Stamann's previous 10 have gone to decision.
Michel Pereira vs. Andre Fialho, Welterweight
- Odds: Pereira -280, Fialho +230 | Last three results: Pereira - W,W,W | Fialho - W,W,W
- Pereira: One of the sport's flashiest and most creative strikers
- Fialho: A Bellator and PFL veteran making his UFC debut
Pereira (26-11) is a fighter unlike any other in the UFC, willing to throw any and every strike, including backflips. His wild style has come back to bite him in the past, such as when he ran out of gas against unheralded late replacement Tristan Connelly and dropped a unanimous decision. The loss to Connelly was followed up with a disqualification loss to Diego Sanchez. Since those two losses, Pereira has gotten back on track with a three-fight winning streak, though his cardio has continued to be a question. Fialho (14-3) has fought on large stages in the past, with seven combined fights in Bellator and PFL. Like Pereira, Fialho is a striker, with 11 knockouts in his 14 career victories. A four-fight winning streak on the regional scene landed Fialho the biggest opportunity of his career, a fight on the main card of a UFC pay-per-view.
Brandon Moreno (c) vs. Deiveson Figueiredo, Flyweight title
- Odds: Moreno -175, Figueiredo +150 | Last three results: Moreno - W,D,W | Figueiredo - L,D,W
- Moreno: The first Mexican-born champion in UFC history looking to make his first title defense
- Figueiredo: The former dominant champion looking to regain his crown
In June 2021, Moreno (19-5-2) put on the performance of his life, dominating Figueiredo (20-2-1) to become UFC flyweight champion. The fight was a rematch of their December 2020 clash, which was a thrilling battle that ended in a draw, in large part due to Figueiredo having a point deducted for low blows. The rematch saw Moreno dominate on the feet before scoring a third-round, rear-naked choke to become the first Mexican-born champion in UFC history. Before running into Moreno, it appeared Figueiredo was set to be a long-term dominant champion, having twice dominated Joseph Benavidez, the second fight earning him the title, and making quick work of Alex Perez. He'll now be looking to prove Moreno's dominance in their rematch was a one-night fluke.
Francis Ngannou (c) vs. Ciryl Gane (ic), Heavyweight title
- Odds: Gane -155, Ngannou +130 | Last three results: Ngannou - W,W,W | Gane - W,W,W
- Ngannou: Possibly the biggest knockout striker in heavyweight history and the defending champion
- Gane: The undefeated interim champion with a striking style that's yet to be cracked
While much of the lead-up to UFC 270 has centered on Ngannou's contractual status with the UFC, the actual fight between Ngannou (16-3) and Gane (10-0) is as compelling a fight as could be made in the division. Ngannou is as elite as they come as a finisher, with all 16 of his wins coming by knockout and 12 of those coming in the first round. While he suffered back-to-back losses in 2018, losing a title fight to Stipe Miocic and a bizarrely tepid fight against fellow knockout artist Derrick Lewis, he has since rattled off five straight wins, including a brutal knockout of Miocic to capture the title.
Gane, meanwhile, has never tasted defeat in his professional mixed martial arts career, beginning by winning the TKO heavyweight title in his first pro bout. In the UFC, Gane's timing and footwork has posed a problem that has simply been too much for any man with whom he has shared the Octagon. In August, Gane dominated Lewis to score a third-round TKO and win the interim championship. He now moves into the biggest fight of his career in a battle of raw power and slick technique.
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