UFC Actual or Not: Francis Ngannou-Ciryl Gane is a much bigger struggle than Ngannou vs. Jon Jones

MMA

There have been huge winners everywhere in the most important card of UFC 265. Jose Aldo proved he has one thing left within the tank and potential within the bantamweight division together with his victory over Pedro Munhoz. Tecia Torres defeated Angela Hill to win her third in a row, a victory that may proceed her climb the highest 10 within the strawweight division. And Vicente Luque clearly established himself as probably the most harmful fighters in a stacked welterweight division together with his submission win over Michael Chiesa.

However the greatest winner of all is new UFC interim heavyweight champion Ciryl Gane. He totally dominated Derrick Lewis for 3 rounds earlier than incomes the TKO win, and the now 10-0 fighter is beginning to generate some buzz because the MMA world considers what a struggle towards champion Francis Ngannou may seem like.

Whereas Ngannou vs. Jon Jones is clearly the largest struggle the UFC could make when it comes to mainstream attraction on this second, may a champion vs. interim champion bout be larger and extra vital for Ngannou’s profession than a superfight towards Jones?

As for Luque, his performances contained in the Octagon actually put him into the dialogue as a future title contender. If his timing was totally different, his resume actually deserves consideration for the title shot. However with present title challengers Colby Covington, Leon Edwards and Gilbert Burns in his means, may Luque profit extra from a high-profile opponent like Nate Diaz greater than one other extremely ranked contender?

Wanting ahead, the long-discussed, twice delay struggle between Rafael dos Anjos and Islam Makhachev has been rebooked for UFC 267 in October. Might this excessive profile struggle dictate a future title struggle at light-weight?

Lastly, Cody Garbrandt‘s loss to Rob Font short-circuited his hopes of regaining the UFC bantamweight title, and sure precipitated his move down to flyweight. Can he afford something however a splashy knockout in his debut at 125 kilos?

Our panel, that includes Brett Okamoto, Marc Raimondi, Phil Murphy and Carlos Contreras Legaspi, digs into the largest tales of the week to separate what’s actual from what’s not.

Ciryl Gane is a much bigger struggle for Francis Ngannou than Jon Jones

Okamoto: Not actual. Nevertheless, it isn’t as far off as you would possibly suppose, and when 2021 began, the mere suggestion {that a} Gane struggle may in any means examine to a Jones struggle would have been unthinkable. The concept of Ngannou, the scariest man on the planet, preventing Jones, arguably the best of all time, has all the time been an apparent tremendous struggle. It is likely to be the largest struggle the UFC could make proper now that does not contain Conor McGregor.

Gane was a pleasant prospect coming into 2021, and doubtless may have even been penciled in as a future title challenger down the road. However he wasn’t a field workplace draw, and definitely not a draw that might examine to Ngannou vs. Jones. The reality is, he nonetheless is not a draw by himself. However paired with Ngannou, he could be. Impulsively, Ngannou vs. Gane is a blockbuster struggle.

Particularly as soon as the backstory is extra broadly recognized — that these two have been as soon as coaching companions, and Ngannou left the crew and gained his title with one other health club. And as soon as the general public buys into the actual fact Gane just isn’t solely an actual problem for Ngannou, however really favored by some to beat him, the curiosity can be there.

If the UFC one way or the other finds a strategy to take this struggle to Paris, the place they educated collectively, the scenes can be unimaginable. Due to Jones’ inactivity, and the dominance Gane has proven, there at the moment are a number of cash fights within the heavyweight division.

Vicente Luque’s greatest subsequent transfer is a struggle with Nate Diaz

Raimondi: Vicente Luque has by no means been hotter than he’s proper now with 4 straight wins — the most recent a slick first-round submission win over Michael Chiesa Saturday at UFC 265. The multi-dimensional Brazilian has completed all 4 opponents throughout this streak, and solely certainly one of his 14 UFC victories has come by determination. Merely, Luque is likely one of the most fun fighters within the sport, and but it appears like loads of informal followers nonetheless do not know his identify. He is not among the many greatest stars within the UFC and, frankly, nonetheless lags behind a number of fighters in his personal division.

After stopping the extraordinarily powerful and proficient Chiesa, Luque referred to as out former Sanford MMA teammate Kamaru Usman, the UFC welterweight champion. Luque deserves the title shot. He has gained 10 of his final 11 fights in one of many hardest divisions on the planet. However Leon Edwards deserves the possibility, too, and he is not even getting it subsequent.

Usman is defending the welterweight title towards Colby Covington in a rematch this coming November. What makes Covington extra certified than Edwards or Luque proper now? Largely, it is as a result of he has appreciable identify recognition, and he drives fan curiosity, whether or not it is optimistic or destructive. Yeah, Usman and Covington had an prompt basic of a struggle in 2019 that might have gone both means till Usman completed it within the fifth and last spherical. However Covington’s capability to drum up buzz forward of a struggle is what places him excessive.

And it is for all these causes that I am going to say “actual” to this assertion. Luque wants a bit of one thing to get him extra “over” with followers, to borrow a line from professional wrestling. A struggle with Nate Diaz will get that job completed. I do know what the rebuttal can be right here. Edwards simply beat Diaz three months in the past and it did not do a lot for Edwards. Nicely, that is as a result of Diaz managed to just about end Edwards within the fifth spherical and Edwards was not aggressive sufficient to go for the kill earlier within the struggle when he had Diaz on the ropes. That simply is not Luque’s sport — his total model goes for the kill. He is the division’s most constant finisher. You are telling me Luque vs. Diaz would not be an absolute banger?

Diaz stays one of many greatest names within the UFC. And there may be curiosity in that struggle from each side. Luque referred to as out Diaz, respectfully, after beating Tyron Woodley in March. Diaz is the type of man who appreciates that type of problem. Plus, sources advised ESPN that Luque was a part of the dialog between the UFC and Diaz’s crew earlier than Diaz finally fought Edwards.

Luque is not getting the following title shot and he won’t even get the one after that, particularly if Edwards decides to sit down and await the Usman vs. Covington winner. Luque might want to struggle once more and there aren’t an entire lot of foes who can elevate him like his crew certainly needs. Jorge Masvidal may probably be somebody like that. However Diaz works even higher. Luque would be the favourite, the struggle can be thrilling and there is little doubt Luque comes out of that one a much bigger star than he’s now.

Cody Garbrandt’s flyweight reset hinges on spectacular debut

Murphy: Cody Garbrandt‘s bantamweight resurrection lasted all of 1 knockout. Whereas his KO of Raphael Assuncao will make each promo reel till Garbrandt retires, a reasonably one-sided loss to Rob Font as an encore put him at a crossroads. Buying and selling wins and losses usually causes extra hurt than good in any weight class, and it is notably pricey within the 135-pound second tier.

An extended-considered flyweight flirtation out of the blue made extra sense than ever. Besides in contrast to his first booked endeavor down — a title problem towards then-champion Deiveson Figueiredo in November that by no means materialized following a biceps harm and a COVID analysis — this divisional debut will not have a belt at stake. He wants one thing huge towards the famously sturdy (and pure flyweight) Kai Kara-France, so I will say this level is “actual”.

One of the best case state of affairs for “No Love” is that his energy carries down and he scores a knockout of Kara-France on par with that of what he did towards Assuncao, Thomas Almeida or Takeya Mizugaki. Nevertheless, between Garbrandt and that first style of flyweight glory is a weight lower that a number of earlier than him struggled to deal with: TJ Dillashaw, John Lineker, Tyson Nam and Scott Jorgensen amongst them.

One other query is what worth beating the seventh-ranked fighter presents. Being a former bantamweight champ may yield a lower within the queue, however provided that Garbrandt’s efficiency conjures up demand. A coin flip determination, just like the one which former nemesis Dillashaw recorded over Corey Sandhagen, will probably preserve Garbrandt behind the divisional elite, regardless of his résumé. This reserving towards Kara-France is a high-risk, moderate-reward scenario, and it might have been his solely possibility.

The winner of Islam Makhachev vs. Rafael dos Anjos is an prompt title contender

Legaspi: Not actual, at the least not simply but. This struggle turned an obsession for each camps after falling aside twice on the finish of 2020, and Makhachev thinks that beating a former champion like RDA may give him sufficient credit score to make him a challenger.

Each coach Javier Mendez and his “assistant” coach Khabib Nurmagomedov imagine that Makhachev may be as dominant as he was in his outings towards Drew Dober and Thiago Moises towards RDA, they usually know that they’ve to point out one thing spectacular for Makhachev to get a title shot in a division that has a stacked high 5.

For dos Anjos, who has been ready to struggle Makhachev for over a 12 months, he is nicely conscious that if he is in a position to overcome a wrestler of Makhachev’s degree, he can get on the quick monitor to returning to title challenger standing.

Irrespective of how the struggle goes, they nonetheless have loads of competitors to chop by way of to get to the highest. Followers are excited in regards to the assured slugfest between latest title challengers Justin Gaethje and Michael Chandler in November, and Dustin Poirier is much and away the likeliest fighter to problem champion Charles Oliveira subsequent.

The winner of Makhachev-RDA will step up the ladder, however they should wait till mid-2022 and earn at the least yet one more victory earlier than they problem for the UFC light-weight championship.

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