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PREVIEW: UFC 270 Prelims and Main Card

UFC 270 takes place in the early hours of Sunday morning from the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.

UFC

UFC 270 takes place in the early hours of Sunday morning from the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

Sunday 23 January

The big boys are about to step into the spotlight for bragging rights of the ‘baddest man on the planet’! UFC 270, the first pay-per-view of 2022 is about to start with a bang – and I mean that literally! At the Honda Arena in Anaheim California, USA, on Sunday the 23rd at 5:00 am (CAT), we will witness combat sports history yet again.

Before the main, there is always a co-main, and what a compliment this one is. One of 2020’s best fights and the flyweight division’s best ever bout already happened twice, and now, the trilogy is upon us. Deiveson Figueiredo says he is here to reclaim what is his, but the pride of Mexico, Brandon Moreno has pushed himself harder than ever before to retain UFC gold in the flyweight division.

Former teammates and sparring partners, will now square off in the infamous octagon to headline UFC 270. While there was once comradery, it is no more. The reigning, defending, undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, Francis Ngannou will defend his belt against the interim heavyweight champion, Ciryl Gane, who said it himself, to be the champ, you have to beat the champ.

The leather of the UFC’s four-ounce gloves are primed for good use, and we all get to witness it live from behind our screens or if you’re lucky enough, in the rowdy crowd in the USA. Get your money out, get ready to scream and shout because… It’s time!

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Main Event – Francis Ngannou 23/20 vs Ciryl Gane 62/100 (Heavyweight)

A scary individual, a wrecking machine if you must, faces quite the opposite, a well-conditioned and calculated athlete. Heavyweight champion of the world Francis Ngannou (16-3) will make his first title defence against a former teammate sparring partner and Interim Heavyweight champion Ciryl Gane (10-0), at the Honda Arena in Anaheim, California. A rich history filled matchup with two heavyweight fighters will light up the first championship event of the year, UFC 270.

Francis “The Predator” Ngannou has quite the unique story leading up to his deserved status as the ‘baddest’ man on the planet. From humble beginnings in Batie, Cameroon, the 35-year-old left behind a poverty-stricken life and fought his way through deserts, countless deportations, sitting in prison for illegally crossing the border in Spain and living homeless in France, where he found Fernand Lopez.

Cameroonian himself, head coach and co-owner of MMA Factory in Paris France, Lopez saw the potential in Ngannou for mixed martial arts when he walked into his gym. He allowed Francis to work, sleep and train at the gym free of charge. At first, the pair worked well together, and as the wins started to rack up and pressure mounted, the relationship started to show cracks, before crumbling all together.

The Heavyweight champ’s last four wins, including his crowning moment were all under the new supervision of Eric Nicksick. He is on a five-fight win streak all by way of knockout and will now make his first title defence against his former coach Lopez’ new student, Ciryl Gane.

Recently strapped interim Heavyweight champion Gane now looks to unify his accomplishments and become the undisputed in his weight class. After going 13-0 in the discipline of Muay Thai and capping it off with a world title, Bon Gamin easily transitioned into MMA. Gane’s fight IQ is up there amongst the best, and it is testament to his quick rise to the top of the UFC.

The big boys are not known for quick and elusive footwork, but Gane has made his name off of being an unorthodox heavyweight. After three successive victories, he made his UFC debut, quickly racking up seven straight victories, making him the owner of the longest active heavyweight win streak in the elite promotion, just two short of equalling Junior dos Santos’ (who he also defeated) record of nine.

Verdict: Francis Ngannou (23/20)

The heavyweights always bring an aura of devastation. The knockout is always waiting in the wings and this anticipation is never truer than when Francis Ngannou steps into the ring. The Predator is the preverbal ‘bigger dog’ or dominant force that has evolved over the years from being a marauder to a more refined and patient fighter making things scarier for his opponents. Ciryl Gane displayed his ability to overcome facing the alpha dog when he was locked in the octagon with Derrick Lewis last time out, and poked and prodded slowly dismantling The Black Beast into a fetal position. Ciryl knows he has to avoid a power punch at all costs, and Francis knows he has to find the right moment to make that nuclear like power land clean or partially for that matter.

Gane has made it evident he can avoid heavy shots and dance along the outside while picking apart his opponents, but the explosiveness of Ngannou to close that distance Gane dictates will prove too much. The approach the undisputed champ displayed to rip the belt off of Stipe Miocic is different to anything we have seen Gane face. Ngannou will leave the octagon with another knockout and belt raised in the air – And Still.

Co-mainBrandon Moreno 52/100 vs Deiveson Figueiredo 27/20 (Flyweight)

Brandon Moreno (19-5-2) and Deiveson Figueiredo (20-2-1) fight for the third time in the co-main event of UFC 270 with the flyweight title on the line. Moreno is seen as the favourite and is priced at 52/100 to win the bout, while Figueiredo is 27/20 to win the fight.

The two first met in the Octagon just over two years ago at UFC 256 where they delivered in one of the best fights of the year, with UFC president Dana White calling it “the greatest fight in the history of the flyweight division” as the pair battled to a thrilling majority draw that set a flyweight record with 269 significant strikes.

The latest instalment was held in June last year at UFC 263. On that occasion, Moreno, a heavy underdog heading into that bout, dominated the fight before finishing Figueiredo with a rear-naked choke in the third round, becoming the first person to ever submit ‘Deus de Guerra’ in his professional career. The heart-warming crowning saw ‘The Assassin Baby’ become the first Mexican-born fighter to earn champion status in the UFC. Now, the two meet to settle the debate of who the better fighter is once and for all.

Moreno earned a spot in The Ultimate Fighter but made his UFC debut before the series concluded its season. The 28-year-old from Tijuana won his first two fights in the promotion before losing decisions in his next two, resulting in him being dropped from the roster in late 2018. Since his comeback to the UFC, Moreno has grown tremendously and has victories against the likes of Kai Kara-France, Jussier Formiga and Brandon Royval. He will be stepping into the Octagon this weekend with a six-fight unbeaten streak with his last win coming against Figueiredo himself.

‘Deus de Guerra’ (Portuguese for ‘God of War’) looked lacklustre in his previous loss to Moreno, but he would have likely won the first bout had he not been deducted a point for an illegal groin strike. Prior to facing ‘The Assassin Baby’ at UFC 263, Figueiredo had won five fights in a row, including a first-round finish of Joseph Benavidez in 2020 that earned him the 125-pound title. The 34-year-old Brazilian went on to successfully defend the belt later that year with an emphatic first-round submission victory over Alex Perez.

Verdict: Brandon Moreno (52/100)

Figueiredo has massive size and power for this weight class, along with top-notch submission skills, but Moreno has shown he has all the tools he needs to beat the Brazilian. He took the ex-champion into deep waters and tore him apart for five rounds at UFC 256. ‘The Assassin Baby’ is looking to move past the Figueiredo chapter of his career this weekend with a decisive victory, and while we expect the fight margin between these two to be razor-thin, Moreno should emerge with his hand raised in victory.

Fight of the Night

Ilia Topuria versus Charles Jourdain has got violent big brutal shots written all over it. Both of these fighters are not afraid of getting in the pocket, have a good striking game, and they are both great grapplers. It really should be one hell of a fight. However, there is only one fight worthy of the prediction and it comes from the co-main event. It’s a showdown between flyweight champion Brandon Moreno and the division’s former king, Deiveson Figueiredo. As you can imagine, this fight has generated a ton of excitement due to the fireworks seen in the first and second fights. The first fight in December 2020 ended in a majority draw, and Moreno won the rematch in June 2021, submitting Figueiredo with a rear-naked choke in 2:26 of the third round.

Full card predictions:

Main Card: 05:00 CAT, Sunday 23 January 2022

  • Francis Ngannou (C) 23/20 vs Ciryl Gane (IC) 62/100: Ngannou
  • Brandon Moreno (C) 52/100 vs Deiveson Figueiredo 27/20: Moreno
  • Michel Pereira 32/100 vs Andre Fialho 21/10: Pereira
  • Cody Stamann 15/10 vs Said Nurmagomedov 47/100: Nurmagomedov
  • Rodolfo Vieira 41/100 vs Wellington Turman 17/10: Vieria

Prelims: 03:00 CAT

  • Ilia Topuria 2/13 vs Charles Jourdain 38/10: Topuria
  • Raoni Barcelos 19/100 vs Victor Henry 32/10: Henry
  • Michael Morales 74/100 vs Trevin Giles 98/100: Morales
  • Jack Della Maddalena 27/100 vs Pete Rodriguez 24/10: Maddalena

Early Prelims: 01:00 CAT

  • Tony Gravely 38/100 vs Saimon Oliveira 37/20: Oliveira
  • Silvana Gomez Juarez 21/20 vs Vanessa Demopoulos 66/100: Demopoulos
  • Matt Frevola vs Genaro Valdez: Valdez
  • Kay Hansen 41/100 vs Jasmine Jasudavicius 17/10: Hansen
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