UFC 226: Francis Ngannou Will Fight Derrick Lewis in a Heavyweight Number One Contender Clash…
His rise was meteoric. Francis Ngannou was slated to literally become the UFC’s next big thing. After knocking out Alistair Overeem with a sledgehammer of an uppercut, he was given a title shot against Stipe Miocic, billed as a Clash of the Titans.
Miocic convincingly defeated Ngannou at UFC 220 last January. It was a rude awakening for ‘The Predator’ who had had everything go the way he wanted it to up until then. Miocic’s technical game plan was just too much for Ngannou to deal with, especially after the second round when he gassed out.
There’s no doubt that the UFC wanted him to win though. Ngannou was given a huge amount of promotion in the run-up to the fight. Since his defeat, he’s hardly been in the media. Now he has the opportunity to get his career back on track by beating Derrick Lewis at UFC 226.
It’s set to be an awesome showdown. Ngannou and Lewis are both devastating power punchers. Even when Miocic was outwrestling Ngannou late in their fight, there was still the possibility that the ‘Predator’ could still decapitate him with one punch.
Lewis is a veteran, as well known for his post-fight interviews as he is for his fighting. He’s made controversial – but hilarious – comments about Ronda Rousey, Travis Browne, and his own wife in the past.
The ‘Black Beast’ is also a scary knockout artist. He possesses fearsome power and most recently finished Polish contender Marcin Tybura. He’s able to put it on when he needs to. When you put two elite heavyweights like these men against each other, you’re taking a risk by blinking. This one might not last long.
Ngannou’s biography reads almost like a film script. The Cameroonian labored in a sand quarry because of lack of funds. He dreamed of becoming a professional boxer and managed to scrape enough cash together to buy a ticket to Paris.
Then, after living homeless for a while, he gained the trust of Fernand Lopez at the MMA Factory in Paris. Lopez, a fellow Cameroonian, gave Ngannou a place to stay and train. Now he mostly lives in Las Vegas and trains in the UFC Performance Institute almost every day.
Ngannou will be motivated for this one. He’ll have learned from the mistakes that he made in the Miocic fight and will understand that this fight could be the most important of his life. A win shoots him into back into contention, while a loss will see his stock sink further. The fight game is unforgiving.
What a Card
UFC 226 is an unbelievably stacked card. Ironically it is being headlined by Stipe Miocic vs Daniel Cormier. A statement win by either Ngannou or Lewis could be enough to get them a title shot. Both heavyweight clashes have phenomenal potential.
That’s not the only title fight on the card though. Lightweight champion Max Holloway will defend his belt against Brian Ortega in the co-main event. Holloway almost had the chance to emulate Conor McGregor and become only the second man to hold two UFC titles at the same time. We can’t wait for this one!