Francis Ngannou Thinks He'll KO Undefeated Ciryl Gane by 2nd Round at UFC 270

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 14, 2022

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JULY 12: Francis Ngannou attends the 2021 Sports Humanitarian Awards on July 12, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou predicted a quick knockout of undefeated challenger Ciryl Gane in the main event of UFC 270.

Gane won the interim heavyweight title with a victory over Derrick Lewis in August, but Ngannou told TMZ Sports he's confident he'll end his opponent's unbeaten run next Saturday at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.

"The knockout doesn't come when I search it, so I won't be searching for the knockout, but I don't see how we will end this fight without me knocking him out, maybe under two rounds," he said in an interview released Friday.

Ngannou added he has respect for Gane but believes his size and power will be too much for the 31-year-old rising star to handle.

"Once again, this is the fighting business. This is not karate s--t, it's all about fighting and how to knock somebody out or take somebody out," he told TMZ.

Ngannou, 35, captured the heavyweight belt with a second-round knockout of Stipe Miocic in March. It marked his fifth straight win since a loss to Lewis in July 2018 and started his first UFC championship reign after losing to Miocic in his first title fight in January 2018.

Gane told French outlet La Sueur (h/t ClutchPoints' Lucas Grandsire) he couldn't match the champion's power, but he'd instead focus on trying to expose the "flaws in his game."

"We're not here to try and counter his strengths," Gane said. "We don't want to try and be stronger than him. Till today, I've never seen anyone as powerful, as athletic, with such knockout power. I've never seen it. In terms of strength, he might be the most impressive guy in UFC's history."

Gane has showcased a unique ability to counteract opponents' strengths during the 10-0 start to his career, as highlighted when he neutralized Lewis' knockout power in his last fight.

It creates a championship bout heavily dependent on whether Ngannou is able to control the pace and impose his will on the interim champ.

If Gane can slow the tempo and put together a strong defensive effort, he'll have a real shot at taking home the belt.