The Predator Francis Ngannou Comes Back With A Terrifying Vengeance
In a fight that had huge ramifications on the future of the UFC heavyweight division, Curtis Blaydes and Francis Ngannou squared off for the second time today in the main event of UFC Fight Night 141.
In a way, the careers of both Ngannou and Blaydes bare many similarities. Both men got their start in the UFC coming off long winning streaks with some serious hype behind them. Both entered today’s fight with two Performance of the Night bonuses to their names, and both had had their arguably best performance against fellow UFC Bejing competitor Alistair Overeem. Ngannou destroyed the Reem with a collosol uppercut, while Blaydes finished the Dutchman with a series of vicious elbows.
When the pair first squared off at UFC Fight Night 86 back in 2016, both men had yet to accrue the Octogan experience they currently possess. The fight was Blaydes first in the UFC (and 6th overall) and Ngannous second. In that fight, Blaydes displayed the holes in the Cameroonian heavyweights grappling that would later be more effectively utilised by Stipe Micoic.
In that fight, Ngannou’s seemingly inhuman power would prove too much for the American Blaydes, despite his early successes, and the fight was stopped by the referee between the second and third rounds.
In more recent times, however, Blaydes has improved dramatically after gaining more experience whereas Ngannou spoke candidly about how the devastating title loss to Stipe Miocic at UFC 220 had damaged his confidence. This lack of confidence was clear to see when the Cameroonian fighter faced off against Derrick Lewis in his last fight at UFC 226. Instead of being his normal aggressive self, Ngannou seemed increasingly tentative in engaging with his opponent, leading to an absolute snoozer of a contest, described by UFC commentator Joe Rogan as the worst heavyweight fight of all time.
Having addressed his confidence issues, Ngannou looked at his devastating best at the weigh-ins yesterday.