The Predator is Back… Francis Ngannou is on the Road to Redemption After the Toughest Year of His Career So Far… He Defeated Curtis Blaydes by Brutal 1st Round TKO…
Few fighters have had as dramatic a career as Francis Ngannou. The Cameroon native rose from obscurity and homelessness to become arguably the most feared fighter on the entire roster of the UFC, landing him with a shot at heavyweight title glory. Two disheartening defeats – including a candidate for the worst fight ever in the division, against Derrick Lewis – and Ngannou looked done and dusted.
But you can’t count a man like this out. The Predator is finally back on track after a make-or-break fight against Curtis Blaydes. It was a clash between No. 2 and No. 6 on the roster, with Ngannou aware that a third loss in a row would likely eliminate him from any discussion of a title run in the future.
He answered his critics with a crushing first-round TKO over Blaydes with the stoppage coming after just 30 seconds. The relief was so clear in his voice as he told Dan Hardy how he felt after the fight. You’ve got to love it.
— MMA TEAM DAGESTAN (@MMATeamDagestan) November 24, 2018
This was exactly what Ngannou would have been hoping to show his critics. He stormed forward and engaged with Blaydes in a way that he just didn’t against Lewis. It was clear that Blaydes was looking to take this down to the ground as quickly as possible and because of this, the American left his head just a little bit too high.
Bang. The next thing he probably didn’t know, he was on the ground after a massive right hand shook him. He stumbled back to his feet, but Ngannou was all over him, dropping hammer fists and wild punches. He continued to connect as Blaydes entered survival mode. Finally, Marc Goddard – who really gets around the world doesn’t he? – intervened and put an end to the fight.
— UFC (@ufc) November 24, 2018
Although Blaydes complained to Goddard after the stoppage, it looked like the right thing to do. He was exposed, stunned and in a position where he was just going to continue taking massive damage. Even if he was eventually able to turn around, those bone-crushing shots from Ngannou are not good for you. Still, though, this is the second time Blaydes has lost to Ngannou and is now out of the picture for a title shot.
“It feels really good, man,” Ngannou said. “Listen, man: I’m back. Listen to what I’m saying: I’m back. … Junior Dos Santos, Alexander Volkov or revenge against Stipe Miocic. That fight, I didn’t do well and I really want to fix it.”
— UFC (@ufc) November 24, 2018
While it’s probably too early for a rematch against Stipe Miocic – after all Ngannou was totally dominated by the former champ – he definitely does have options. A fight against Volkov could be huge because it would have massive stakes for both men. A win for either would immediately catapult the winner into title contention – or at the very least, an eliminator.
The winner of Junior Dos Santos v Tai Tuivasa would also be an intriguing contest – especially if Tuivasa wins their upcoming fight in Adelaide. Anyway, Ngannou will just be happy the candle is burning again at the end of a very tough year where his attitude and mental fortitude have been widely questioned.
Let’s not forget he hadn’t even heard of MMA before 2013.