An unbearable UFC lion! In UFC heavyweight division for many years, Francis Ngannou has been the next big thing. About everyone thought that grandeur was beyond the scope of the mighty Cameroonian challenger if he ever could combine his extraordinary talents.
Saturday night, Ngannou cessed the crown of the American Mixed Martial Arts League (MMA) with fierce stitching in front of the crushing 2nd round, winning the heavyweight title in UFC 260, discovering all that was possible in six sensational minutes.
GREATEST💥#Cameroon's Francis Ngannou showcased his devastating punch power as he knocked out Stipe Miocic in the second round to capture the undisputed UFC heavyweight title in Las Vegas at UFC 260.
Becomes the first African-born heavyweight UFC champ.pic.twitter.com/DOfgVxADNb
— Oluwashina Okeleji (@oluwashina) March 28, 2021
Beaten by decision in the first meeting in January 2018, Ngannou did not miss the second time he seen had his opponent fighting in Las Vegas behind closed doors. The opposition never appeared in this fight.
In 2018, Ngannou (11-2) vengeated Miocic’s blowout defeat by showing all that he had gained in the next three years. Twice in the second, Miocic (21-3) flattened the first UFC heavyweight champion from Africa and then finished in the round after 52 seconds.
“Man, it’s amazing,” Ngannou said.
“The feeling of it is just great. Imagine something you’ve been waiting for your entire life, and struggling to have it. Sometimes I felt like I was drowning and I had to struggle back, but now we’re here.”
In the first round, he had to contend with large right crochet at the left temple, with a number of closely linked punching after an effort was made by his rival and kicking to the right temple.
With superior impact and groundwork, Ngannou won a pretty quiet first round, but nothing was still on the finish.
Nigeria was first! Cameroon next!
— UFC (@ufc) March 28, 2021
A combination of confusion and rage followed him as he returned to his corner. The worst thing has yet to happen.
Ngannou, a patient who was forced to step forward to compensate for a shorter grip, made the breakthrough with a right-left mix that sent Miocc to bounce out of the fence. He finished with a large left jab on the bar, after that, he took a series of close-range shots.
The bleeding Americans dropped down, bent his left leg, and the referee who halted play 52 seconds into the second round, though Ngannou exulted, was spared from further punishment.
“I can hardly find the words, I had made this promise to myself to win. To achieve this, when no one thought I could, is such a powerful feeling. To prove wrong those who doubted me gives me immense satisfaction,” he commented afterwards.
The 34-year-old has now been awarded 16 victories and three losses at the last championship (UFC).
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The UFC now has 3 African Champions:
– Francis Ngannou from Cameroon 🇨🇲
– Kamaru Usman from Nigeria 🇳🇬
– Israel Adesenya from Nigeria 🇳🇬
— Paul Mogbolu (@Iammisterpaul) March 28, 2021
How to go on this colossus who left his native Cameroon for Paris in 2013 (1,93m, 113 kg), where he slept a while on the road.
“When the journey is longer, the reward is always more appreciated,” Ngannou said. “I’m sure I would have been happy three years ago, but I think now, I have a different perspective about it, being happy about my improvement.”
Ngannou is a former aspiring boxer who, after leaving Cameroon in the mid-20s for France, finds out about mixed martial arts. With his fearsome strength and increasing all-around ability, he easily progressed in his new sport, but Miocic stopped his rise by winning in the first round of Boston.
The failure shocked a once-dynamic combatant’s confidence. In his next bout, he barely punched Derrick Lewis’ humiliating defeat.
I need a Francis Ngannou movie. One of the most–if not the most–remarkable stories of any modern athete. He worked in sand mines as a teenager, took a 14-month journey from Cameroon to Europe that failed six times. He risked his life. He was homeless. And now he's the champ.
— Kevin Clark (@bykevinclark) March 28, 2021
But later in 2018, he reclaimed his confidence impressively and launched a series of four successive victories in the knockout against veterans of the heavyweight races.
“He was a completely different fighter tonight,” UFC President Dana White said of Ngannou. “We saw things from him we never saw before. He took his time, and even ate that big right hand from Stipe. He looked perfect tonight.”
Francis Ngannou was never losing this fight. pic.twitter.com/AhkC1ldWiq
— Scam Allardyce (@Nigerianscamsss) March 28, 2021
“It’s the story of a young man who hasn’t had much luck in life but who hasn’t given up, who has allowed himself to dream. I am fighting against a fate that was destined for me, a situation to which I was condemned,” Ngannou told AFP in 2018 before his first duel with Miocic.
In Cameroon immediately after the struggle, Ngannou attempted to contact his mother but he said he could not get to her, because “Everyone was mad’ celebrating his victory.
“I can’t talk to anybody in Cameroon right now,” he said. “It’s a good craziness, for a good reason.”