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Five takeaways from UFC 270

UFC President Dana White. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Roar Rookie
24th January, 2022
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After another exciting UFC fight card, here are the top five stories that really caught my attention.

5. Francis Ngannou shows his evolution and toughness
Francis Ngannou remains the UFC heavyweight champion after beating previously undefeated Cyril Gane, and he did it in a way few expected – by using his wrestling ability.

After most likely dropping the first two rounds, he used his strength and wrestling to take Gane down and keep him there for long enough to secure each of the last three rounds, winning 48-47, 48-47, and 49-46 on the scorecards.

When looking at this performance compared to previous ones, Ngannou’s improvement is clear, even despite tearing his MCL three weeks before this fight.

He was more patient, less reckless in his striking, and when Gane was nullifying his obvious KO power, he had the skill and stamina to change his gameplan and wrestle to victory.

4. … and leaves Dana White with a huge headache
While on most UFC contracts there is a so-called ‘champions clause’, meaning the fighter’s contract is automatically extended while a fighter is champion, they have a five-year limit, and Ngannou’s current contract expires in December this year.

With he and UFC President Dana White currently at odds, Ngannou may be in a position to leave the promotion as champion.

Pay seems to be the main issue at hand – despite being labelled as ‘The Baddest Man on the Planet’, Ngannou took home only $600,000 according to the California State Athletic Commission.

If he’s looking for a bigger payday, is the obvious option. For example, Tyson Fury made over $US50 million in two fights in 2021, and Fury has already stated his interest in a crossover superfight with Ngannou.

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In the aftermath of UFC 270, ‘The Gypsy King’ tweeted, “Congratulations Francis Ngannou, but if you want to make some real money come see the GK”, and Ngannou responded with a concept poster for this matchup.

When compared to the $600,000 Ngannou made at 270, it’s clear to see why he’s interested in this fight.

If he walked away from the UFC, it would be a huge blow to White, having one of his most skilled champions walk away while in his prime, and with most other UFC contracts also having a similar limit, other champions will be watching Ngannou’s next steps closely.

3. Figuereido and Moreno may need a fourth fight
On the other end of the weight scale, Brandon Moreno and Deiveson Figuereido put on a classic fight at Flyweight, as Figuereido won a close decision.

Usually when a pair fight three times in a row, once those fights are done, the rivalry is done with it. One fighter has managed to stamp their dominance and demonstrate that they are the better fighter. However, with the draw in the first fight, Moreno winning the second fight, and Figuereido winning the third, there is still every chance that they will fight again later, especially when you consider how close this third fight was.

2. The Aussie prospect to keep an eye on
Australian welterweight Jack Della Maddalena made a statement against Pete Rodriguez in his former UFC debut, winning by first-round knockout with a beautifully timed counter left.

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Having made his way to the UFC via White’s ‘Contender’ series, he has shown off an impressively well-rounded game, with sharp boxing, great takedown defence, and composure.

He has now extended his winning streak to 11 fights – don’t be surprised if that continues for a few more fights yet.

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1. Another Nurmagomedov on the championship horizon
While he is of no relation to dominant force and undefeated former lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, following Said Nurmagomedov’s dismantling of Cody Stamann in the first round, you would be forgiven for thinking otherwise.

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The 135 lb prospect was barely troubled as he choked out Stamann in less than a minute and while his grappling is no joke, it was his sharp striking that forced Stamann to try to grapple.

Bantamweight is possibly the most talented division in the whole UFC but Said may stand out from the pack in the next few years.

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