UFC interim heavyweight champion Ciryl Gane has nothing but respect for the sheer power his upcoming opponent Francis Ngannou can employ. However, outside of a power struggle in their bout at UFC 270, he doesn’t see how the lineal division king could beat him in a five-round battle of technique.
Although Gane (10-0) has not faced Ngannou (16-3) in an official fight, he knows the Cameroonian powerhouse very well. The pair shared quite a few sparring sessions when they were members of French fight gym MMA Factory several years ago. In some of the limited footage that reached the interwebs of those clashes, “Bon Gamin” looked to be getting the better of those battles. However, Ngannou recently refuted that notion and claims that video used in new social media posts have just been a media manipulation by the UFC “to make him look better and make me look bad.”
Ciryl Gane admits public footage of his sparring with Francis Ngannou doesn’t offer a complete picture
In a recent conversation with French outlet La Sueur Clips, Gane agreed with Ngannou that the most viral videos that have been made public did show him in a more positive light. And he admitted there is a lot of stuff fans haven’t seen of both having their moments of being the better man in their training clashes.
“It’s true, that in that clip — I’m not gonna lie — it was soft sparring and I could confidently develop my game,” Gane said. “There were other sessions where he had more of the edge. One time it was me, one time it was him. To say that he was far ahead, no, it’s not necessarily true. But it’s true that this particular clip made me look good.”
Gane expects Ngannou’s technical ‘flaws’ to show over five rounds at UFC 270
Although the massive heavyweights did not train for years, the sparring sessions they did have helped the Frenchman to glean some very valuable intel about his UFC 270 main event foe. For one, his power is unreal and at a level that has never been seen before in the Octagon. However, outside of that, he believes the champ is lacking when it comes to technique, and unless he can rack up early damage with his cement block fists, he will not be walking out of the Honda Center as the unified heavyweight champion of the UFC.
Two former teammates on a collision course.
Will we see Ciryl Gane and Francis Ngannou going at it for real in the Octagon? pic.twitter.com/3EUOQG7vHJ
— UFC on BT Sport (@btsportufc) June 28, 2021
“We’re not here to try and counter his strengths. We don’t want to try and be stronger than him. Till today, I’ve never seen anyone as powerful, as athletic, with such knockout power. I’ve never seen it. In terms of strength, he might be the most impressive guy in UFC’s history,” said Gane. “I’m not gonna try to become stronger than him in three months.”
“Obviously, as soon as I sparred with him I could feel what kind of fighter he is. He’s not particularly technical-oriented. And we could see it during the sparring because when I was going technical I could see that I was ahead,” he continued. “And as soon as he used his power, it was kind of ruining the flow. I very clearly felt his punching power. … If we’re both going 100%, and if he can’t hit me, it’s hard to believe that he could stay clean for all five rounds. There will be some flaws in his game for sure. If I can avoid getting hit I think we can apply the game plan and win the fight.”
UFC 270 takes place on Jan. 22 in Anaheim, Calif. The event’s main card will air exclusively on ESPN+ pay-per-view for $69.99.