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Francis Ngannou beats Ciryl Gane to retain heavyweight title

Francis Ngannou ditched his knockout power for his wrestling skills to outpoint Ciryl Gane and retain his heavyweight title at UFC 270.

The 35-year-old landed a series of takedowns from the third round of the fight and edge French interim champion Gane on points to unify the heavyweight division.

Ngannou was defending his title for the first time since he knocked out Stipe Miocic 10 months ago.

Gane won the interim title in the meantime by stopping Derek Lewis at UFC 265 last August to record his 10th successive victory in MMA.

The former Paris training partners met in California but their clash failed to ignite as Gane edged the first two rounds before Ngannou wrestled his way back into the fight.

Ngannou landed a huge bodyslam in the third round and scored a double-leg takedown as he tried to beat up Gane on the ground.

‘The Predator’ opted to wrestle again in the fourth round, maintaining top position throughout to steer the fight in his favour.

The final five-minute stanza continued to play out on the ground before Ngannou was given the nod by scores of 49-46 and 48-47 twice.

Following the fight, Ngannou admitted his preparations had been hampered by a knee injury in training, but refused to pull out.

He explained: “Three weeks ago, I hurt my knee. But this was a moment for me to make statement and remind people I’m the champ. Some people sleep on me and forget about me.”

In the co-main event, Deiveson Figueiredo outpointed Brandon Moreno to win back his flyweight title.

Moreno was attempting to defend his title for the first time at the event, having won the belt against Figueiredo in their rematch at UFC 263 last June.

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