UFC 270 results, highlights: Francis Ngannou turns to wrestling to retain heavyweight title against Ciryl Gane
The heavy-hitting Ngannou leaned on his little-used grappling attack to grind through a decision victory on Saturday night
When the UFC 270 main event between heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou and interim champ Ciryl Gane was made official, it's unlikely anyone expected an Ngannou win to come on the strength of his wrestling and jiu-jitsu. That's exactly how the fight played out on Saturday night, however, with Ngannou surviving some rough early rounds before leaning on an unlikely combination of takedowns and ground control to pull away and take a unanimous decision victory inside the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.
Gane came out wanting to grapple with Ngannou, pushing forward and ending up in a clinch, though Ngannou was able to easily fight off the takedown attempt. From there, the expected striking battle broke out, with Gane using his slick footwork to try to move around the Octagon and pick angles and Ngannou looking for his trademark bombs.
The problem for Ngannou was actually finding Gane to land those shots. The grappling early appeared to drain Ngannou's gas tank and he then was forced to chase Gane around the Octagon, with Gane casually moving, turning sideways and touching Ngannou with a variety of strikes as he built up a lead through cleaner work in the opening rounds.
In the third round, Ngannou finally had a moment, catching a Gane high kick and turning it into a massive body slam to end up on top in side control. Gane was able to escape back to his feet, only taking a few punches when he gave up his back to get back to standing only for Ngannou to again briefly take the fight to the ground. Shockingly, Ngannou scored with another takedown late in the round.
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Having seen an unexpected side of Ngannou's game, Gane looked to maintain distance with a steady diet of kicks in the fourth round, but Ngannou managed another takedown when he was able to close the distance and grab a body lock. Gane fought back to his feet only to be taken down yet again, keeping the fight on the ground for the remainder of the round.
With the fight seemingly tied up at two rounds apiece after Ngannou's grappling had turned the tide, the fifth round seemed to be where the fight would ultimately be decided. After some early striking from Gane, he stepped inside and scored his own takedown, putting Ngannou on his back. Gane then made a pivotal mistake, abandoning the position in search of a leg lock.
Ngannou survived the leg lock to end up in top position, battling to improve his position while not doing much damage with strikes before the final horn.
The decision to go for the leg lock did prove to be Gane's undoing, as the official scorecards read 48-47, 48-47, 49-46, all for Ngannou.
"I knew that he was going to be a tough opponent, no doubt," Ngannou said after the fight. "I was surprised that he held on to the end of the fight but he was very good. The only thing that I had to do, that my coach reminded me all the time, was stay composed. Trust yourself, don't chase him."
Ngannou also confirmed rumors of a pre-fight knee injury while discussing the build to the fight.
"I hurt my knee, tore my MCL completely and hurt my ACL," Ngannou said. "I wanted to pull out of this fight but couldn't see myself retreating from this fight because it was a chance to make a statement and remind everyone that I'm the champ."
In the other title fight, Deiveson Figueiredo reclaimed flyweight gold with a decision win over Brandon Moreno. In a bout that may have surpassed their thriller from December 2020, neither fighter seemed to get the upperhand for a sustained period of time. Each had an answer for the other's best strike and went back and forth over the course of 25 minutes. In the end, the Brazilian had his hand raise and called for a fourth battle with Moreno to take place in Mexico.
CBS Sports was with you the entire way on Saturday bringing you all the results and highlights from the UFC 270 below.
UFC 270 card and results
- Francis Ngannou (c) def. Ciryl Gane via unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 49-46)
- Deiveson Figueiredo def. Brandon Moreno (c) via unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 48-47)
- Michel Pereira def. Andre Fialho via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Said Nurmagomedov def. Cody Stamann via first-round submission (guillotine choke)
- Michael Morales def. Trevin Giles via first-round TKO (punches)
- Victory Henry def. Raoni Barcelos via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Jack Della def. Pete Rodriguez via first-round TKO (punches)
- Tony Gravely def. Saimon Oliveira via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Matt Frevola def. Genaro Valdez via first-round TKO (punches)
- Vanessa Demopoulos def. Silvana Gomez Juarez via first-round submission (armbar)
- Jasmine Jasudavicius def. Kay Hansen via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Post-fight: Ngannou confirmed a desire to transition to boxing at some point in his career. Said he doesn't have an immense amount of time left.
Post-fight: Ngannou said he tore his MCL completely three weeks ago. He also damaged his ACL.
Result: Francis Ngannou def. Ciryl Gane via unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 49-46). Ngannou leaned on his wrestling; however, Gane likely gave away the last round after shooting for the leg lock.
Round 5: Gane with a stiff combination that stuck. Gane dove for the single-leg takedown and scored it. Ngannou with a loose triangle attempt. Gane fell back for the heel hook. After some grappling on the ground, Ngannou took top position. Bad call by Gane. Ngannou settled into half-guard. Referee Herb Dean calling on Ngannou for action. Nothing really happened on the ground, but so little happened on the feet that I'm siding with Ngannou. 10-9 Ngannou (48-47 overall for Gane). But it could easily be 48-47 Ngannou.
Round 4: Thudding leg kick by Ngannou. A big teep kick to the chest by Gane. A big body kick by Ngannou. "The Predator" with another takedown! Ngannou got Gane turtled and peppered with punches. Gane attempted the kimura but could not snatch it. Ngannou with a massive knee to the chest against the fence. Great round by Ngannou. 10-9 Ngannou (39-37 Gane)
Round 3: Ngannou caught a kick and power slammed Gane in the first minute of the round. "The Predator" settled into side control. Ngannou took the back and Gane turtled! Gane turned into a loose guillotine attempt and worked into a better position. Gane pressed Ngannou against the fence. Ngannou with the trip but Gane got him back to the cage. Spinning back elbow on the break by Gane! The interim champ whiffed on a spinning kick, but partially landed with the head kick. Ngannou fished for a takedown, Gane snatched a decent kimura attempt but it didn't score. 10-9 Gane for landing the harder shots (30-27 overall for Gane)
Round 2: Ngannou flat-footed and conserving his energy. Gane peppering with strikes. A boxing combination landed for Gane. "Bon Gamin" with a ridiculous spinning heel kick but Ngannou ate it. Punch landed for Ngannou. Gane landed a heavy shot and Ngannou reciprocated with an uppercut. 10-9 Gane
Round 1: Gane pushed Ngannou back to the fence, but Ngannou landed a nice clinch knee. Gane with a creative back elbow from down under. Ngannou threw flurries, but most either missed or Gane rolled with them. Great movement from Gane is limiting Ngannou's offense. A spinning back kick to the body for Gane. A front kick landed for Gane, who is slightly ahead in overall strikes. 10-9 Gane
Ngannou and Gane touch gloves before the start. Nervous energy in the air.
Mike Tyson and weed-smoking Nate Diaz are in the crowd.
There is nothing left now between fight fans and UFC 270's main event, Francis Ngannou vs. Ciryl Gane. The UFC heavyweight and interim heavyweight titles will be unified in a clash of gargantuans.
Post-fight, Deiveson Figueiredo told Joe Rogan he wants a fourth fight with Brandon Moreno.
Result: Deiveson Figueiredo def. Brandon Moreno via unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 48-47). It was an ultra-competitive fight that could have gone either way.
Round 5: A huge body lock takedown for Moreno early in round five. Figueiredo managed to get back to his feet within 15 seconds. Figueiredo tried to trip Moreno but settled for a nice inside elbow from the clinch. A wide left hand lands right on Figueiredo's chin. Moreno went for the leg kick and was knocked down as a consequence. Moreno answered back. Head kick by Moreno! Put guys throwing big shots. Every time Figueiredo wobbles Moreno, the champion responds by wobbling his opponent. Both men unloading in the last 15 seconds! 10-9 Figueiredo off the knockdown and (48-47 Moreno overall)
Round 4: Diverse leg kicks and body kicks landed for Moreno in succession. Figueiredo with a leg kick of his own. A two-punch combination landed flush for Figueiredo. The champ's leg is all welted up. Huge body kick by Moreno. A nice leg kick dropped the challenger coming in. Triple jab by Figueiredo. A nice one-two by Moreno. Figueiredo snatched the body lock but could not secure the takedown. Both men open up. Moreno tripped Figueiredo at the end of the round, a little payback for the show in round three. 10-9 Moreno (39-37 overall for Moreno)
Round 3: Moreno rushed in and was greeted by a takedown. Figueiredo looked to establish position by Moreno scrambled back to his feet. Each man lands a calf kick on the other. A left hand stung Moreno who did a backwards roll. Moreno caught Figueiredo coming in and a subsequent punch backed Figueiredo up. A crunching calf kick by Figueiredo dropped Moreno briefly. Moreno tagged Figueiredo and briefly had the challenger on weak knees. An outside kick by Figueiredo continued to compromise Moreno's balance. Loud chants for Moreno breakthrough. Heavy left hands from both men. Calf kick by Moreno. Figueiredo whiffed on a nasty inside elbow. High kick by Moreno. Figueiredo landed a huge overhand right that floored Moreno. D'arce choke atttempt but the round ends. Figueiredo shoves Moreno. Total lack of sportsmanship. 10-9 Figueiredo (29-28 overall for Moreno)
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