Ngannou keeps belt, Figueiredo reclaims title at UFC 270
Francis Ngannou retained his UFC heavyweight title with a surprising display of superior grappling in a unanimous-decision victory over previously unbeaten Ciryl Gane at UFC 270 on Saturday night at Honda Center.
Deiveson Figueiredo also beat Brandon Moreno by unanimous decision, concluding a thrilling fight trilogy by reclaiming the flyweight championship belt he lost to Moreno seven months ago.
Ngannou (17-3) defended his heavyweight belt for the first time with impressive perseverance against Gane (10-1), his fellow French citizen.
Both fighters possess incredible power and uncommonly fluid athleticism for big men, but the champion took control of a cagey fight in the third round with the first of several takedowns. Ngannou turned a matchup between fearsome strikers into a wrestling match that showcased his much-improved game on the ground.
The judges scored it 48-47, 48-47 and 49-46 for Ngannou, who had never won a decision in his mixed martial arts career. The Associated Press also scored it 48-47 for Ngannou, the Cameroon-born French citizen who trains in Las Vegas.
Just 10 fights and 3 1/2 years after his professional MMA debut, Gane appeared to have an edge in the first two rounds of his first title fight with superior striking as both fighters showed appropriate caution for each other’s power. Ngannou wore light wraps around both of his knees into the cage, suggesting rumors about his leg health might have credence.
Gane mixed in some spinning kicks with increasing confidence, but Ngannou changed the tone of the fight early in the third when he got an arm under Gane’s leg and lifted the challenger skyward, slamming him down. Gane had never been taken down in his UFC career, but Ngannou did it repeatedly in the third and fourth rounds, showing off his markedly improved wrestling and Gane’s weaknesses in defense.
Ngannou landed a leg sweep in the fifth, but Gane recovered and attempted to secure a heel hook. The bid failed, and Ngannou got back on top and finished the fight strong.
Figueiredo (21-2-1) won the penultimate bout 48-47 on all three judges’ scorecards after a frenetic, physical addition to a rivalry that has featured 13 rounds of outstanding action over the last 13 months. The trilogy began with a majority draw in December 2020 and continued with Moreno’s third-round stoppage victory last June in Arizona.
Figueiredo and Moreno (19-6-2) traded big shots throughout the third bout, but the Brazilian winner rode a strong start to his first victory since November 2020.
Moreno won plenty of exchanges, and he had the ferocious backing of a Southern California crowd featuring plenty of fans who drove 110 miles from his native Tijuana to watch the UFC’s first Mexican-born champion.
The judges gave it to Figueiredo by a narrow margin — but he doesn’t think this rivalry is finished.
“I’m ready for a fourth fight against Brandon in Mexico,” Figueiredo said.
With a fiery red stripe painted into his bleached-blond hair, Figueiredo came out with a strong first round at Honda Center, hurting the champ both with kicks and quick hands. They had several thrilling standup exchanges in the third round, each getting hurt and recovering — and Figueiredo sent Moreno crashing to the canvas with a right hand to the temple with about eight seconds left in the round.
Moreno’s striking picked up in the fourth, and he landed a dramatic upper-body takedown 30 seconds into the fifth. Both fighters went out swinging in a brutal fifth round that concluded with 30 seconds of heedless swinging and slinging.
Moreno’s fans repeatedly chanted “Sí se puede!” and roared for anything the champion did in Orange County, an area with deep MMA roots. Moreno was backed both by the Los Angeles area’s huge Mexican-American population and plenty of traveling fans.
Moreno won his title last summer in the most decisive bout of the trilogy. He became a national hero in Mexico with his breakthrough victory in the rapidly growing sport, earning a meeting with the president.
Figueiredo, the Brazilian veteran who fought four times in 2020 while claiming his title, responded to his second career defeat by training with former two-division UFC champ Henry Cejudo and refocusing his game plan to handle Moreno’s style.
Ngannou won his title last March in the culmination of a rocky journey to the top. He was ticketed as a future champion from nearly the moment he brought his fearsome power to the UFC, but mental lapses and shocking losses delayed his ascent until a five-fight winning streak capped by his stoppage of champion Stipe Miocic.
Gane had been moving relentlessly toward this title shot since he made his MMA debut in 2018. A Muay Thai champion kickboxer with sublime athleticism, he won his first seven UFC fights on the way to an interim heavyweight title last summer with his victory over Derrick Lewis.
UFC 270: Ngannou defeats Gane by unanimous decision to retain UFC heavyweight title
There is no dispute in the heavyweight division any longer. Ngannou wins via unanimous decision with scores of 48-47, 48-47 and 49-46 to retain his heavyweight championship.
Gane, who came into the fight as the interim titlist, outlanded Ngannou 67 to 62 in total strikes, but Ngannou surprisingly leaned on his grappling skills, scoring four takedowns and spending 8:29 of the fight on the mat to defeat the more technical fighter Gane.
Ngannou improves to 17-3 and hands Gane (10-1) his first career loss.
Coming into the match, Ngannou had one fight left on his UFC contract.
Where will the heavyweight champion go from here?
UFC 270: Ngannou leans on his wrestling skills to take round 5 as fight goes the distance
Round 5: Gane scores a one-legged takedown of Ngannou after the first minute of the round. The dominant position is short-lived however, as Ngannou regains top control. Gane rebounds by securing a leg lock. After about 30 seconds, Ngannou shakes loose and gets into full mount position. Ngannou leans on his wrestling and grappling skills and finishes the fight on the mat. He should win the fight via decision.
We go to the scorecards.
UFC 270: Ngannou comfortably wins round four
Round 4: Gane lands successive front kicks and Ngannou immediately wrestles him down. Both fighters appear tired and a wrestling match ensues with Ngannou comfortably on top in the dominant position. After a couple of minutes, Ngannou goes on the offense in the closing 30 seconds and fires off clubbing shots to Gane’s face.
Ngannou wins the round comfortably.
UFC 270: Ngannou appears to win round three
Round 3: Ngannou begins the opening minute of the round by viciously power-slamming Gane. He gains side control and starts firing off shots, although none too debilitating. Gane survives a brief scare after giving up his back but bounces back up to his feet.
Seconds after, Ngannou slams him down again and Gane lands awkwardly. He gets up again and connects with a spinning elbow. Ngannou, seemingly tired, connects with a half-hearted body shot. Gane answers with a left kick to the face. Ngannou scores another takedown and Gane grabs his arm and tries to bend it backward. Albeit a bit back and forth, Ngannou wins the first clear round of the fight.
UFC 270: Gane outlands Ngannou 21 to 7 in round two
Round 2: Gane settles in on the outside as the second round begins. Ngannou is flat footed as Gane picks and chooses his shots. Ngannou swings and misses with a big punch. Gane makes like a ghost and dodges the strike. He answers with a spinning pick that grazes the top of Ngannou.
Ngannou connects with a shot to the head of Gane that catches his attention. Not much meaningful offense has been mustered, and the fans are beginning to get restless as some swarms begin booing. Gane outlands Ngannou 21 to 7 in the second round.
UFC 270: Gane edges Ngannou in round one
Round 1: The heavyweight championship fight is finally here! Ciryl Gane opens the bout going for a takedown and Francis Ngannou defends it well. The fighters immediately go into a clinch. After they break, Gane fires off a jab that connects. Ngannou bull rushes him and Gane backpedals in defense. Gane fires off a kick midway through the round in what has been a timid affair so far. With 90 seconds remaining, Gane pins Ngannou to the cage but doesn’t really use the position to his advantage.
Gane edges the round 16 to 14 in total strikes in what was a feeling-out and tough round to score.
UFC 270: Figueiredo drops Moreno in round five and edges Moreno on judges’ final cards
Round 5: Figueiredo opens the round with a takedown of Moreno. With the fight seemingly hanging in the balance, Moreno is dropped twice in the final frame. Wild exchanges unfolded throughout, and Figueiredo appears to get the better of them. Is it enough to take the final round? We go to the scorecards ... and all three judges score the bout for Figueiredo 48-47.
Moreno fails to defend the title during the final bout of their trilogy. Figueiredo finally evens the score after the first fight in 2020 ended in a majority draw, and the rematch ended with Figueiredo being chocked out in three rounds.
UFC 270: Moreno and Figueiredo swing away in rounds three and four
Rounds 3 and 4: Both fighters start swinging for the fences. Moreno outlanded Figueiredo 34 to 19 in third, largely using his legs to create his offense. Figueiredo, however, knocked down Moreno to end the third.
Moreno appeared hurt and perhaps was saved by the end of the round. After the fourth, Moreno has a slight advantage on significant strikes. He is one decisive round away from retaining his title. The fight could easily be 2-2.
UFC 270: Moreno flashes strong right during round two against Figueiredo
Round 2: Moreno came off his stool to start the second appearing undeterred. An attempted spinning back kick failed for Figueiredo and both fighters scrambled on the mat. The round unfolded at a much slower pace than the second, and Moreno appeared to get the better of the exchanges with his high motor and outlanding Figueiredo 14 to 8 in the round. A strong right hand was Moreno’s secret weapon.
UFC 270: Crowd roars for Moreno during round one against Figueiredo
Round1: Flyweight champion Brandon Moreno got a rock star reception during his cage walk, and fed off that frenetic energy to bring the fight straight to Deiveson Figueiredo in their trilogy fight.
Chants of “Let’s go Brandon” reverberated throughout the Honda Center from the partisan crowd as the Tijuana-born and bred fighter looked for his openings.
Figueiredo remained resolved, however, and chopped at the leg of Moreno and made his knees buckle. Moreno was unimpressed and somewhat mocked Figueiredo while firing off leg kicks of his own.
Figueiredo got the better of the round, outlanding Moreno 21 to 12 in the opening frame. Twelve of his blows were to the legs.
Michel Pereira scores unanimous decision win in bloodbath against Andre Fialho
Michel Pereira and Andre Fialho engaged in a bloodbath during their welterweight bout, bruising each other with brute force for 15 minutes in their three rounds
It was Pereira (27-11) who ultimately delivered the more decisive beating, showing off a flashy and explosive offensive arsenal that featured Superman punches, flying knees, cartwheel kicks, and crisp right and left hands, and it was more than enough to score the unanimous decision victory against Fialho (14-4).
Pereira was awarded scores of 29-28 from all three judges after clearly dropping the first round.
Fialho got off to a strong start, landing 15 shots to the head of Pereira in Round 1. The onslaught busted the nose of the Brazilian. Apparently, the blood was more than enough to wake up Pereira.
He bounced back in the second, and Fialho’s face was a crimson mask by the end of the second. Fialho had a deep gash over his left eyebrow because of all kinds of one-way traffic.
Pereira didn’t let up in the third. Needing the round to avoid a potential draw, he closed the fight in style. Pereira outlanded Fialho 112 to 48 throughout the fight.
Said Nurmagomedov chokes out Cody Stamann in 49 seconds
Said Nurmagomedov didn’t even have to break a sweat, scoring a first-round submission via guillotine against Cody Stamann 49 seconds into their bantamweight bout.
The cousin of all-time great Khabib Nurmagomedov, the 29-year-old Nurmagomedov (15-2) connected with a spinning back fist followed by a spinning body kick to the body to set up the finish.
Nurmagomedov needed a mere seven strikes before taking Stamann (19-5-1) to canvas to choke him out.
Michael Morales remains undefeated in UFC debut, drops Trevin Giles in first round
Touted prospect Michael Morales rocked and stopped Trevin Giles in spectacular fashion, scoring a first-round technical knockout in his UFC debut to kick off the pay-per-view portion of UFC 270.
The 21-year-old Ecuadorian Morales (13-0) rattled Giles (14-4) with a counter right hand, dropping the Houston-based fighter. He continued on his offense with Giles on canvas, firing off shots until referee Mike Beltran stopped the action with 54 seconds remaining in the round.
Morales outlanded Giles 28 to eight during the fight.
South Gate’s Victor Henry scores massive upset win in UFC debut over Raoni Barcelos
UFC 270 warmed up with an exciting slate of undercard action to set up the pay-per-view show.
Victor Henry bloodied the nose of Brazilian Raoni Barcelos and busted the biggest betting favorite of the night, frantically fighting his way to a win by unanimous decision. The 34-year-old from South Gate was making his UFC debut on short notice, but it didn’t stop him from outworking Barcelos (16-3) with 218 total punches to 167. Henry (22-5) was the bantamweight champion of Los Angeles-based MMA promotion Lights Out Xtreme Fighting.
Jack Della Maddalena (10-2) handed Pete Rodriguez (4-1) his first career loss, scoring a technical knockout at 2:59 of the first round. Della Maddalena dropped the bloodied Rodriguez with a straight left hand and pummeled him on the mat until referee Frank Trigg stopped the fight. Della Maddalena out-landed Rodriguez 43 to 25 in total punches.
Tony Gravely (22-7) scored a unanimous decision victory against Saimon Oliveira (18-3), with -27 scores from all three judges. Gravely out-landed Oliveira 66 to 50 in total strikes and outscored Oliveira 11-0 on takedowns.
Matt Frevola and Genaro Valdez engaged in a wild, one-round slugfest during their lightweight fight. Frevola (9-3-1) knocked down Valdez (10-1) six times and steamrolled through the Tijuana-bred fighter after connecting on a series of shots with Valdez’s back turned. Valdez appeared to stun Frevola at one point during the brawl, but the New Yorker proved to be too vicious. Referee Mike Beltran finally saw enough of the chaotic one-sided carnage and stopped the fight at the 3:15 mark.
Both Silvana Gomez Juarez and Vanessa Demopoulos stepped into the cage looking to land their first UFC win in their strawweight fight. The “Lil Monster” Demopoulos (7-4) ended up with the accolade, scoring a first-round armbar submission against Juarez (10-4) at the 2:25 mark of the opening frame.
Canadian Jasmine Jasudavicius (7-1) extended her winning streak to three with a unanimous decision win over Kay Hansen (7-5) in a flyweight fight. The 32-year-old Jasudavicius was awarded scores of 30-27 and 29-28 twice in her UFC debut.
Experts make their UFC 270 picks for Ngannou vs. Gane and Moreno vs. Figueiredo
A collection of MMA experts share their picks for UFC co-main events featuring Francis Ngannou (16-3) versus Ciryl Gane (10-0) and Brandon Moreno (19-5-2) versus Deiveson Figueiredo (20-2-1).
“Gane is more athletic, quicker and has the ability to defuse a fighter’s offensive output as we saw in the Derrick Lewis fight. I think he takes Ngannou late where his superior conditioning will be the difference. Gane by decision.
“You always have to worry about conditioning with Figueiredo and making the weight. But he looks great and when he’s on his game, he’s very difficult to beat. He’s more explosive than Moreno when he’s at his best and he looks in superb shape. Figueiredo by decision.”
— Kevin Iole, Yahoo! Sports combat sportswriter
“Feel free to presume a third war between Moreno and Figueiredo is on deck. The outcome is less certain even if Moreno was equal to or better than the Brazilian in their previous bouts. Figueiredo will try to force himself on Moreno, but that hasn’t worked yet so I like the Mexican flyweight to win by split decision.
“The UFC heavyweight title fight is a coin-flip. Gane accumulates damage, picks opponents apart and puts on master classes. Ngannou doesn’t accumulate damage. Instead, the monster simply drops bombs on opponents. Rendering the fight down to its most basic bits, Ngannou’s power manifests a second-round knockout.”
— Josh Gross, Sherdog.com editor-at-large
“Ngannou vs. Gane is incredibly intriguing because we know what each fighter’s path to victory should be, and both are equally plausible as reality once they step in the cage. I’m leaning toward Gane’s mobility, range and timing to keep him out of trouble and allow him to slow Ngannou over time, picking up a decision win or perhaps a late TKO, but “The Predator” has unprecedented power and can earn victory with just one well-placed power punch.
“The trilogy between Moreno and Figueiredo has turned into a real grudge match, at least as far as the Brazilian former champ is unconcerned. Moreno is as likable of a character as there is in the sport, but I think fans’ disdain for Figueiredo is leading them to minimize how dangerous of a fighter he really is in the cage. I think Figueiredo enters this third fight with more focus and more respect for what his opponent brings to the table and is able to stay out of bad positions on the floor while flashing his power on the feet and taking back the flyweight title.”
— John Morgan, MMA Junkie lead staff reporter
“I like Ngannou via third-round knockout and Figueiredo via decision. I could see Gane performing well but ultimately catching a power shot to end it. The flyweight fight should be competitive again, but Figueiredo secures rounds with harder shots than Moreno more often on the feet.”
— Scott Fontana, New York Post MMA reporter
“Ngannou’s unrivaled power has yet to meet a man it can’t put away, while Gane currently appears unable to be touched. In the end, it’ll be down to who can control the distance and range, and for me, that’s Gane. Ngannou’s too wild and rushed, Gane will slip and counter. Ciryl Gane by fourth-round TKO.
“Moreno vs. Figueiredo feels like a fight that could be decided on the scales. Figueiredo’s weight cut directly affects his performance, and this time it appears to be going swimmingly. Because of that, I think we see a fight like the first, and Figueiredo walks away from the winner. Figueiredo by unanimous decision.”
— Oscar Willis, TheMacLife.com content manager
“I expect a very uneventful first round as these two fighters feel each other out. Once Ngannou figures out Gane’s timing, I expect that he catches him at some point. Ngannou by second-round knockout.
“Moreno looked phenomenal in the rematch with Figueiredo, but I expect this fight looks more like the first. Closely contested fight that goes the distance. Moreno by decision.”
— Aaron Bronsteter, TSN Sports MMA reporter and content editor
“Ngannou’s power is a game-changer, but he’s never fought someone quite like Gane. The interim champ’s slickness and Muay Thai base is going to give Ngannou problems. I like Gane to remain diligent in striking exchanges with Ngannou, use his footwork to stay away from the big bombs, and start to dominate down the stretch. Gane by unanimous decision.
“It’s tough to go against Moreno after he put on a master class against Figueiredo last summer, but you do have to wonder if Figueiredo is going to look significantly better this time around — he didn’t seem to be himself in the rematch. With that in mind, I’m expecting a more competitive fight, but Moreno continues to get better and that’ll show. Moreno by unanimous decision.”
— Nick Baldwin, The Score MMA editor
“Ngannou vs. Gane is going to be very tactical in the first round since they know each other very well. Gane will use his better technique to close the distance and will try to wear down Ngannou. The problem is that Gane’s defense is obviously not perfect, and any distraction will cost him the fight, which I believe will happen in the second round. Ngannou by second-round KO.
“Moreno vs. Figueiredo is very tough to predict. It can go either way. I believe this time Moreno will face a more calm and tactical Figueredo. The Mexican has a big heart, confidence and momentum, which can be enough to beat the Brazilian once again. Figueiredo got caught in the second fight but will make this fight more competitive. Moreno has better cardio, longer reach and he is very tough, so I believe the man from Tijuana will win again. Moreno by fourth-round submission.”
— Eduard Cauich, LA Times en Español sports editor
“Ngannou has been phenomenal in his last bouts, while the undefeated Gane will face his biggest challenge yet. Ngannou will look to land his lethal power against elusive Gane. It will take only one clean punch by Ngannou to open the way for a win by third-round knockout.
“Moreno has been very active since winning the flyweight title in 2021 against Figueiredo. Socially active that is. Winning comes with a price and Moreno divided his training time with promoting his historic win and cashing in on opportunities, while the Brazilian sourly trained his soul off in search of a way to crack the mystic created by Moreno. Losing will mean that Figueiredo will have to accept he couldn’t beat Moreno in three opportunities, so this has to be it for him. The longer this fight goes, the options for Moreno improve. The ‘Assassin Baby’ by fourth-round submission.”
— Jad El Reda, LA Times en Español sports editor
UFC 270: Tale of the tape for Ngannou vs. Gane; Moreno vs. Figueiredo
Two titles could potentially change hands during UFC 270. Here is the tale of the tap for the headliners.
Birthplace: Batie, Cameroon
Fighting out of: Paris, France by way of Batie, Cameroon
Nickname: The Predator
Weight: 257 pounds
Arm reach: 83 inches
Leg reach: 44.5 inches
Average fight time: 5:38
Birthplace: La Roche-sur-Yon, Vendée, France
Fighting out of: Paris, France
Nickname: Bon Gamin
Weight: 247 pounds
Arm reach: 81 inches
Leg reach: 42 inches
Average fight time: 15:06
Birthplace: Tijuana, Mexico
Fighting out of: Tijuana, Mexico
Nickname: The Assassin Baby
Weight: 124 pounds
Arm reach: 70 inches
Leg reach: 38 inches
Average fight time: 13:59
Birthplace: Soure, Pará, Brazil
Fighting out of: Soure, Pará, Brazil
Nickname: Deus da Guerra
Weight: 124 pounds
Arm reach: 68 inches
Leg reach: 38 inches
Average fight time: 10:35
Watch: Dana White talks with The Times ahead of UFC 270
UFC president Dana White joined The Times to discuss a variety of topics ahead of UFC 270. Check out the video above featuring the full conversation.
UFC 270 betting odds: Ngannou vs. Gane; Moreno vs. Figueiredo
The UFC has heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou is listed as a +125 betting underdog, and Ciryl Gane as a -145 favorite by DraftKings.
Flyweight champion Brandon Moreno is a -180 betting favorite, while Deiveson Figueiredo is a +155 underdog.
Gane is the No. 1 ranked UFC fighter at heavyweight, and Figueiredo is the No. 1 ranked UFC fighter at flyweight.
Brandon Moreno should be a fan favorite when UFC makes its return to the Southland
Which pugilist will emerge as the undisputed heavyweight champion when Francis Ngannou takes on interim champion Ciryl Gane?
Can Tijuana-bred flyweight champion Brandon Moreno keep Brazilian jiujitsu black belt Deiveson Figueiredo from evening the score?
The tandem of title fights highlights UFC 270 at Honda Center in Anaheim and on ESPN+ pay-per-view Saturday night. This will be the first UFC event in the Southland since UFC 241 on Aug. 17, 2019, when Stipe Miocic knocked out Daniel Cormier to regain the heavyweight championship.
Moreno (19-5-2) will face Figueiredo (20-2-1) in a trilogy fight that could generate the most interest among Southland viewers because of Moreno’s popularity.
Moreno, Mexico’s first UFC champion, will fight Figueiredo for the third consecutive time. They fought to a majority draw in 2020 in a fight-of-the-year contender, and in June, Moreno made sure there was no debate when he choked out Figueiredo to win the title.
Meet your favorite fighter at UFC Fan Experience from Noon to 4 p.m. — it’s free
Before UFC 270 begins, the UFC Fan Experience will be staged outside of the Honda Center from noon to 4 p.m. outside Parking Lot 1.
The event is free and open to the public, and the gathering will offer fans a chance to meet some of their favorite fighters and a chance to purchase some swag from the UFC store.
Recently crowned champion and Amanda Nunes conqueror Julianna Peña, as well as Justin Gaethje and Brian Ortega, are some of the stars slated to attend the fan event.
How to watch UFC 270: Ngannou vs. Gane, Moreno vs. Figueiredo and more
UFC 270 will be staged at Honda Center in Anaheim tonight.
If you’re in the Southern California area and want to attend the first UFC event in the region in 2½ years, tickets as low as $250 (plus fees) can be purchased through Ticketmaster.
The pay-per-view program can be ordered exclusively through ESPN+ for $74.99. A separate ESPN+ subscription is required in order to purchase the event.
The UFC also has a directory on its website showing bars and restaurants that will be carrying the card around the country.
The five-fight PPV begins at 7 p.m. PST. The main event between heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou (16-3) and interim heavyweight champion Ciryl Gane (10-0) should start around 9.
Flyweight champion Brandon Moreno (19-5-2) will face Deiveson Figueiredo (20-2-1) for a third straight time in the co-feature.
Other fights on the PPV card include:
- Michel Pereira (26-11) vs. Andre Fialho (14-3) – welterweight
- Cody Stamann (19-4-1) vs. Said Nurmagomedov (14-2) – bantamweight
- Michael Morales (12-0) vs. Trevin Giles (14-3) – welterweight
Preliminary bouts begin at 5 p.m. on ESPN and ESPN+.
Early preliminary fights begin at 3 p.m. on ESPN+.