/UFC 270 live results and analysis — Francis Ngannou vs. Ciryl Gane – ESPN

UFC 270 live results and analysis — Francis Ngannou vs. Ciryl Gane – ESPN


ANAHEIM, Calif. — Francis Ngannou and Ciryl Gane are former sparring partners. That might be the only thing the two agree on at this point.

At a news conference Thursday, Ngannou and Gane argued if they were actually ever “teammates.” They couldn’t agree whether Ngannou knocked Gane out with a head kick or just hurt him temporarily. And whatever relationship they once had has certainly been frayed by Ngannou’s messy falling-out with his former coach — and Gane’s current coach at MMA Factory in Paris — Fernand Lopez.

None of that will really matter Saturday night. Ngannou, the UFC heavyweight champion, and Gane, the interim champ, will fight to unify the UFC heavyweight title in the main event of UFC 270 at the Honda Center. The back-and-forth barbs will be decided in the Octagon. ESPN has Ngannou tied for No. 4 on its pound-for-pound top MMA fighters list. At heavyweight, ESPN ranks Ngannou No. 1 and Gane No. 2.

There are other storylines at play here, too. Ngannou would become a restricted free agent if he loses to Gane. He has indicated that he plans on venturing into the boxing world at some point. Even if Ngannou wins and holds on to the title, which would extend his contract, he has said that he does not plan on competing again under this current deal.

Ngannou (16-3) knocked out Stipe Miocic to win the UFC heavyweight title at UFC 260 last March. The Cameroon-born fighter has won five straight, all by KO/TKO. The 6-foot-4 Ngannou, 35, is considered one of the most fearsome power punchers in MMA history. Gane (10-0) won the interim heavyweight title by stopping Derrick Lewis via third-round TKO at UFC 265 in August. The French fighter is a perfect 7-0 in the UFC.

Gane, 31, is a former Muay Thai star and TKO heavyweight champion in MMA. He has said that he believes this fight will be about his technique against Ngannou’s power and strength.

In the co-main event, Brandon Moreno defends his UFC flyweight title against former champ Deiveson Figueiredo in a trilogy bout. Moreno (19-5-2), the UFC’s first Mexican-born champion, beat Figueiredo (20-2-1) by third-round submission at UFC 263 in June to win the title. The two fought to a draw in their first meeting at UFC 256 in December 2020. Moreno is ranked No. 8 on ESPN’s pound-for-pound list. He is ranked No. 1 at flyweight, with Figueiredo slotted at No. 2.

Also on the card, the always-exciting Michel Pereira takes on Andre Fialho at welterweight, Cody Stamann draws Said Nurmagomedov in a featherweight bout and Australian prospect Jack Della Maddalena meets Pete Rodriguez at welterweight.

Follow along as Brett Okamoto, Marc Raimondi and Jeff Wagenheim recap the action, or watch the fights live on ESPN+ PPV.


Fight in progress: Welterweight: Michel Pereira (26-11 2 NC, 4-2 NC UFC, -280) vs. Andre Fialho (14-3 1 NC, 0-0 UFC, +230)


Men’s bantamweight: Said Nurmagomedov (15-2, 4-1 UFC) def, Cody Stamann (19-5-1, 4-4-1 UFC) by first-round submission

Full recap to come.


Results:

Welterweight: Michael Morales (13-0, 1-0 UFC) def. Trevin Giles (14-4, 5-4 UFC) by first-round TKO (Watch this fight on ESPN+)

Morales looks like he could turn into a problem for this division for years to come. The Ecuadorian prospect is only 22 years old, but showed remarkable poise and confidence in his UFC debut. And when an opportunity presented itself to finish the fight, Morales didn’t miss.

Referee Marc Beltran called off the contest at the 4:06 mark. Morales hurt Giles with a counter uppercut as he came forward. Dazed, Giles swung back defensively to try and back Morales off. Morales evaded the punches and dropped Giles again with a follow-up shot. Giles turtled at that point and the fight was over.

Morales, who now trains out of Tijuana, has finished 11 of his 13 professional wins. Giles was not an easy draw for a UFC debut, as came in with eight fights of UFC experience.


Men’s bantamweight: Victor Henry (22-5, 1-0 UFC) def. Raoni Barcelos (16-3, 5-2 UFC) by unanimous decision (Watch this fight on ESPN+)

Barcelos was dangerous, winging big shots right from the get-go. But Henry kept coming forward, and his relentlessness wore down his opponent to the point where Barcelos’ power was all but sapped. As a result, Henry, who was a 4-to-1 underdog, earned 30-27 scores from all three judges to win his UFC debut, his 10th victory in his last 11 fights.

No debuting bantamweight since 2007 has won at longer odds than the 34-year-old from Los Angeles. Henry was on Barcelos from midway through the first round until the end of the third, using kicks to the midsection to slow the Brazilian, and appeared to have him hurt and threatening a finish a couple of times late in the bout.

The fighters combined for 315 significant strikes, the most in a three-round bantamweight fight and second most of any 135-pound bout in the UFC. Henry’s 181 landed were the third most both by a bantamweight and by any debuting UFC fighter.

Barcelos, 34, lost his second in a row following a nine-fight winning streak.


Welterweight: Jack Della Maddalena (11-2, 1-0 UFC) def. Pete Rodriguez (4-1, 0-1 UFC) by first-round TKO (Watch this fight on ESPN+)

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Jack Della Maddalena defeats Pete Rodriguez in his UFC debut with a nice left hook at UFC 270.

Those in the know about Australian MMA think Della Maddalena has a chance to be a big star. It was pretty clear to see why Saturday evening.

In his UFC debut, Della Maddalena used his slick boxing to earn a TKO win at 2:59 of the first round over Rodriguez. The finishing blow, after Della Maddalena already bloodied Rodriguez’s nose, was a step-back straight left hand that dropped Rodriguez. Referee Frank Trigg was quick to step in and stop the fight without Della Maddalena needing to land another shot.

“I was waiting for the jitters and they never came,” Della Maddalena. “Same as usual.”

Della Maddalena used his southpaw boxing skills to perfection, working a nice jab and landing hard right hooks and straight lefts. The jab bloodied up Rodriguez’s nose. Della Maddalena landed a hard left and a right hook prior to the left-hand finish.

Della Maddalena, 25, has not lost since his first two pro bouts in 2016, a streak of 11 straight victories. The Australia native earned his way into the UFC via Dana White’s Contender Series. He beat Ange Loosa via unanimous decision back in September.

Rodriguez, a 25-year-old Arizona resident, had four knockouts in four career fights coming in.


Men’s bantamweight: Tony Gravely (22-7, 3-2 UFC) vs. Saimon Oliveira (18-4, 0-1 UFC) by unanimous decision (Watch this fight on ESPN+)

Gravely, of Virginia, turned Saturday’s bantamweight bout into a wrestling match as he racked up 11 total takedowns and 11:28 worth of control time. Judges awarded the 30-year-old’s efforts with unanimous scores of 30-27.

Oliveira was clearly the more dangerous man on the feet, but he simply couldn’t keep the fight there. He repeatedly attacked Gravely with the guillotine choke — a maneuver he has finished multiple fights with in his career — but could never quite secure it.

Gravely spent the majority of the fight either on top or clinched with Oliveira along the fence. It was not the most scintillating performance, but was still the result Gravely was looking for. He suffered a second-round knockout loss to Nate Maness in his last bout in September. Oliveira threatened Gravely with a few big shots here and there, including a flying knee and spinning backfist, but it was Gravely’s fight for the most part.

Oliveira is now 0-1 in the Octagon, as this was his UFC debut. He earned a contract on the Contender Series last year.


Lightweight: Matt Frevola (9-3-1, 3-3-1 UFC) def. Genaro Valdez (10-1, 0-1 UFC) by first-round TKO (Watch this fight on ESPN+)

Frevola swung. Valdez swung. For 195 seconds, that is what they did in the slobberknocker to end all slobberknockers.

Frevola got the better of a wild exchange midway through the round to get a knockdown, but Valdez bounced right back up, wobbly but still swinging for the fences.

But Frevola, who is 31 and fights out of Huntington, New York, didn’t stop his attack and kept knocking his opponent to the canvas. He was credited with four knockdowns but it seemed like more. Even so, the four knockdowns would be a UFC record for a fight ending in the first round.

Unable to turn out the lights on Valdez, Frevola finally got a dominant position on top of his opponent, rendered him defenseless on his stomach and dropped punch after punch until referee Mike Beltran jumped in to end it at 3:15. The win halted Frevola’s two-fight skid and gave him his first finish since 2017.

Valdez, a 30-year-old Mexican, suffered the first defeat of his career in his UFC debut.


Strawweight: Vanessa Demopoulos (7-4, 1-1 UFC) def. Silvana Gomez Juarez (10-4, 0-2 UFC) by first-round submission (Watch this fight on ESPN+)

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Vanessa Demopoulos is able to beat Silvana Gomez Juarez for one of the better comebacks you’ll ever see in the UFC.

Demopoulos made a very, very early bid for MMA comeback of the year.

After Gomez Juarez dropped her hard with a right hand, Demopoulos kept her composure and locked in an armbar submission finish at 2:25 of the first round.

Demopoulos jumped into interviewer Joe Rogan’s arms in jubilation following her postfight interview.

“I woke up on the ground for a second,” Demopoulos said of getting cracked with the right hand.

But Demopoulos came to very quickly, realized she had an underhook from the bottom and used that to leverage herself into an armbar from the bottom. Demopoulos then swept into top position, still with the armbar intact, and finished the fight beautifully.

“I love jiu-jitsu,” Demopoulos said. “I could do jiu-jitsu all day long every single time.”

Demopoulos, 33, picked up her first UFC victory after dropping her debut against JJ Aldrich last August. The Ohio native, who fights out of Fight Ready in Arizona, earned just her second win in her last five fights.

Gomez Juarez, a 37-year-old Argentinean fighting out of Mexico, is now 0-2 in the UFC.


Women’s flyweight: Jasmine Jasudavicius (7-1, 1-0 UFC) def. Kay Hansen (7-5, 1-2 UFC) by unanimous decision (Watch this fight on ESPN+)

This fight was a step up to something bigger for both women. Jasudavicius was making her UFC debut. Hansen was competing at 125 pounds for the first time after making her first two Octagon appearances at strawweight.

But Hansen also had something else to overcome: inactivity. She was fighting for the first time since November 2020.

Jasudavicius, 32, from Ontario, Canada, was the sharper fighter, fending off four Hansen takedown attempts in the first round. She earned one of her own, then maintained control the rest of the way. One judge scored all three rounds for Jasudavicius, while the other two had it 29-28. This was Jasudavicius’ third win in a row.

Hansen, a 22-year-old from Fullerton, California, lost her second fight in a row after a three-fight winning streak.


Still to come:

Heavyweight championship: Francis Ngannou (c) (16-3, 11-2 UFC, +130) vs. Ciryl Gane (ic) (10-0, 7-0 UFC, -155)
Men’s flyweight championship: Brandon Moreno (c) (19-5-2, 7-2-2 UFC, -175) vs. Deiveson Figueiredo (20-2-1, 9-2-1 UFC, +150)

(c) = defending champion; (ic) = interim champion

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