UFC 270: Ngannou vs. Gane Preview

The Heavyweight Title will be unified this weekend when Francis Ngannou defends his belt for the first time against interim champion, and former training partner, Ciryl Gane. Brandon Moreno will also defend his flyweight title for the first time in a trilogy fight against the man he took it from, Deiveson Figueiredo.

What an amazing main event we have to kick off the first PPV in 2022, when two former teammates lock horns it always adds some extra spice, not that this fight needed any extra spice as it is. Francis Ngannou and Ciryl Gane were former training partners at the MMA Factory in Paris under the tutelage of coach Fernand Lopez. Long story short, Ngannou and Lopez had a disagreement and Ngannou left the gym to join up with Eric Nicksick at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas.

Lopez did some fantastic work with Ngannou. He is doing the same right now with Ciryl Gane, who finds himself an interim champion and the chance to unify the 265-pound title after just 10 professional Mixed Martial Arts fights. We have not seen a fighter in the heavyweight division that moves quite like Gane. His movement, and his footwork is something that you would expect to see from a middleweight and he has been untouchable so far since joining the UFC.

Being untouchable is something quite necessary when you step in to take on a guy that hits as hard as Francis Ngannou. All it takes is one shot, sometimes Francis does not even need to connect clean in other to shut his opponents lights off. The cat and mouse battle that we will see in this contest is something that excites me a lot. Can Gane stay out of the way of Ngannou’s ferocious power? Can he do it over five rounds? Those are the biggest questions in place for this battle in my opinion.

Ngannou has had tons of distractions going into this title fight. Talks of boxing and contract negotiation talks can only provide a distraction for the Cameroon man. I would hope that he is focused on the difficult task in hand, because if he is not it will mean trouble for the champ. Ciryl Gane is a very tricky customer. If Ngannou finds himself swinging and missing throughout this battle, and Gane manages to get this into the championship rounds, I feel that we may see the Frenchman take the unified strap. Ngannou will need to impose his devastating power, he has been working hard and I’m excited to see what improvements he has made since taking the title from Stipe Miocic. He looked much more controlled and patient in that fight. This will be a fascinating contest and I, like most MMA fans, will be on the edge of my seat throughout.

We move from the big guys, to the little guys in the co-main event as Brandon Moreno goes up against rival Deiveson Figueiredo. It will be the third time that both men have shared the cage and if this fight is anything like the first two we are in for a treat. The pair fought to a draw in 2020, a controversial decision after a point deduction for then champ Figueiredo. The rematch happened in June of 2021 and Moreno took home the belt after a third round submission. Figueiredo had big problems with his weight on that occasion and you could see him fade as the fight went on.

Coming into the trilogy Figueiredo looks to be in phenomenal shape so I’d like to think he will have no issues making the 125-pound weight limit this time around. Moreno became the first Mexican born UFC champion and he will be looking to build on his success of the last fight, the champ will be coming into this encounter brimming with confidence. I love watching the flyweights in action and this is the elite of the elite when it comes to 125-pound action. Buckle up and don’t blink, I expect this to be a very entertaining title fight.

Uber entertaining Michel Pereira will go toe-to-toe with UFC debutant André Fialho in the welterweight divison. Pereira, known for his wild fighting style, is no stranger to performing somersaults and backflips inside the octagon. In recent performance that carry on has been turned down a notch but here’s hoping we see some wildness again on Saturday night. In opponent, André Fialho, comes into this fight having finished all four of his last opponents by way of knockout. Fialho will bring the heat and will make this fight super exciting.

Cody Stamann will be looking to get back into the win column when he faces off with Said Nurmagomedov in the bantamweight division. Stamann was beaten in his last two outings by Jimmie Rivera and Merab Dvalishvili, two top talents, he has another tough competitor in front of him in Nurmagomedov on Saturday night. The Russian is 3-1 inside the octagon and will be looking to build upon his recent knockout victory over Mark Striegl.

BJJ phenom Rodolfo Vieira was on the wrong end of one of the upsets of the year in 2021 when Anthony “Fluffy” Hernandez submitted him in the second round of their middleweight showdown. Vieira will step in against fellow Brazilian Wellington Turman looking to build upon his last win over Dustin Stoltzfus in July of last year. Thurman picked up a close split decision win over Sam Alvey in his last outing. That will get the PPV section kicked off.

Victor Henry will make his UFC debut against Raoni Barcelos in the 135-pound division. Barcelos was defeated by Timur Valiev the last time he stepped foot inside the octagon. Henry competes under the UFC banner for the first time after a submission win his his last bout. Undefeated Georgian featherweight Ilia Topuria goes up against short notice replacement Charles Jourdain. I’m very high on Topuria and I feel he can make a huge splash in the 145-pound division this year. With 10 wins out of 11 by stoppage and only having won one fight by decision Topuria looks to build on his impressive resume against Canadian born Jourdain. After picking up a win over Andre Ewell on the last UFC card of 2021, Jourdain steps in here just a month after his last outing. Credit to him for stepping up against such a tough opponent in such a short space of time. Jack Della Maddalena will take on Pete Rodriguez in the 170-pound divison. Another welterweight scrap will kick off the early prelims section when Trevin Giles faces off against Michael Morales. At 12-0 Morales will make his UFC debut looking to keep his undefeated streak alive.

Tony Gravely will be looking to bounce back from his defeat by the hands on Nate Maness in his last fight. Gravely was so close to finishing that fight but ended up on the wrong side of knockout loss in round two. The ATT man makes the walk to take on Saimon Oliveira in the bantamweight divison. Oliveira will make his UFC and is riding a five fight win streak. Silvana Gomez Juarez and Vanessa Demopoulos are set to go to battle in the women’s strawweight division. Matt Frevola takes on Genaro Valdez in the lightweight division, opening up the early prelims section on UFC Fight Pass is a women’s flyweight contest between Kay Hanson and Jasmine Jasudavicius.

See the official card and start times below.

Main Card (BT Sports / ESPN+ PPV)


Heavyweight: Francis Ngannou (16-3) vs. Ciryl Gane (10-0)


Flyweight: Brandon Moreno (19-5-2) vs. Deiveson Figueiredo (20-2-1)


Welterweight: Michel Pereira (26-11) vs. André Fialho (14-3)


Bantamweight: Cody Stamann (19-4-1) vs. Said Nurmagomedov (14-2)


Middleweight: Rodolfo Vieira (8-1) vs. Wellington Turman (17-5)


Preliminary Card (ESPN2 / ESPN+)


Bantamweight: Raoni Barcelos (16-2) vs. Victor Henry (21-5)


Featherweight: Ilia Topuria (11-0) vs. Charles Jourdain (12-4-1)


Welterweight: Jack Della Maddalena (10-2) vs. Pete Rodriguez (4-0)


Welterweight: Trevin Giles (14-3) vs. Michael Morales (12-0)


Early Preliminary Card (ESPN+ / UFC Fight Pass)


Bantamweight: Tony Gravely (21-7) vs. Saimon Oliveira (18-3)


Women’s Strawweight: Silvana Gomez Juarez (10-3) vs. Vanessa Demopoulos (6-4)


Lightweight: Matt Frevola (8-3-1) vs. Genaro Valdez (10-0)


Women’s Flyweight: Kay Hansen (7-4) vs. Jasmine Jasudavicius (6-1)

Ian O'Neill is a Kilkenny man living in Canada. You can catch him on Twitter most of the time talking all things MMA. Follow me on Twitter and on Instagram @ioneillmma.