Francis Ngannou’s coaches are very happy with the reigning UFC heavyweight champion’s progression ahead of his first title defense in less than two weeks.
In the second edition of Ngannou’s Cyril Gane Fight Camp series, “The Predator” was preparing for a day of sparring. The champ’s partners include fellow UFC heavyweight Blagoy Ivanov, along with muai thai heavyweight specialist and amateur MMA fighter Santino Zurita.
“You put yourself in the same position, tons of times, over and over with a different partner and try and project yourself into the fight to kind of simulate the fight scene,” Ngannou describes his sparring sessions. “By the moment we get [to the fight] and you find yourself in some position, guess what? That position is very familiar because we’ve been in that same position tons of times.”
Ngannou captured the title with a vicious second-round KO win over Stipe Miocic at UFC 260 this past March — his fifth consecutive stoppage win. He will face Gane, a former teammate, who became the UFC interim heavyweight champion with a dominant stoppage win against Derrick Lewis in the main event of August’s UFC 265 event.