MMA news: Francis Ngannou vs. Ciryl Gane targeted for UFC 270; Patricio Pitbull vacates lightweight title


The UFC is looking to book a heavyweight unification bout between champion Francis Ngannou and interim champion Ciryl Gane for UFC 270 on Jan. 22. The event does not yet have a confirmed location or venue, but Ngannou’s manager confirmed to ESPN that the two fighters have agreed to the date.

Ngannou vs. Gane will put an end to a complicated and controversial situation in the heavyweight title picture. Ngannou won the title in March with a knockout of Stipe Miocic. Three months later, the UFC booked Gane against Derrick Lewis in an interim title fight that took place Aug. 7. The situation left Ngannou frustrated with the UFC after he’d asked to fight one month later than the UFC’s proposed summer dates and the UFC responded by booking an interim title bout and UFC president Dana White suggesting that Ngannou wasn’t interested in defending his championship.

This led to a very public spat between Ngannou’s management and White. All that has now been set aside and the focus turns to Ngannou and Gane meeting in a clash of talented strikers with Ngannou’s power pitted against Gane’s high-level technique.

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Ngannou is riding a five-fight winning streak after losing his first title shot against Miocic and dropping a decision against Lewis in a historically bad fight. All five of his wins during his current run have come via knockout and all in less than six minutes of cage time.

Gane is 10-0 as a professional. He won the TKO championship in his first professional fight and debuted in the UFC in his fourth outing. He has made easy work out of everyone he has faced in the Octagon, including methodically picking Lewis apart before scoring a third-round TKO.

News and notes

  • Holly Holm has been forced out of her Oct. 16 UFC Fight Night main event against Norma Dumont. Aspen Ladd will step up to take the featherweight fight, getting the call days after a failed weight cut led to her appearing to nearly pass out on the scales for a UFC Fight Night event at bantamweight against Macy Chiasson.
  • Bellator women’s featherweight champion Cris Cyborg has her next fight set. Cyborg will defend her title against Sinead Kavanagh at Bellator 271 on Nov. 12, according to Bellator president Scott Coker during an appearance on The MMA Hour.
  • Coker also announced that Patricio Pitbull has vacated the Bellator lightweight championship. The decision opened the door for Pitbull’s brother, Patricky Pitbull, to fight for the belt in his rematch against Peter Queally in the main event of Bellator 270 on Nov. 5.
  • In one final Bellator note, Coker announced that all future Bellator main events will be five rounds. That news comes after recent events headlined by three-round fights Phil Davis vs. Yoel Romero and Michael Page vs. Douglas Lima.

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