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Francis Ngannou: ‘The Predator’ of the UFC’s heavyweight division

A look at "The Predator" himself, the 100% finishing rate, the menacing demeanour, the 260 pounds of muscle -  Francis Ngannou. His rise in the UFC, and what's next for the biggest Heavyweight Prospect?

Hello UFC’s heavyweight division, home of the old lumbering giants – ‘The Predator’ has arrived.

Hailing from France, originally born in Cameroon, Francis Ngannou standing at 6’4” and weighing just south of 260lbs, rightly deserves his nickname, “The Predator”. An impressive record of 10-1 with all wins coming via stoppage. The 30-year old Cameroon native blasted onto the UFC stage back in December of 2015 with a KO win over Luis Henrique Barbosa De Oliveira and hasn’t looked to slow down, since racking up four more consecutive stoppage wins inside of the Octagon, against the likes of Curtis Blaydes, Bojan Mihajlovic, Anthony Hamilton and most recently and notably against former Heavyweight Champion and long time top contender Andrei “The Pitbull” Arlovski.

A New Breed of Heavyweight

No doubt a natural striker, Ngannou’s ability to stay light on the balls of his feet, judge the distance and reach of his opponent and time his devastating shots has all been rewarded with some spectacular first and second round knockouts. Though to say Ngannou’s only skill lies on his feet would be a grave understatement, with four out of his ten wins coming by submission. The Predator has brought his same athleticism and focus on his submission game, with the most impressive and first submission win inside of the octagon coming against Anthony Hamilton in December of 2016, when amidst defending a takedown attempt from Hamilton against the Octagon fence, Ngannou was able to wrap up a standing Kimura on the unsuspecting Hamilton. That ushered him to abandon the takedown and give The Predator an easy top position, where he made short work, stepping over the head for leverage and cranking the position for an impressive, and an unexpected submission victory.

“I want Junior Dos Santos, Alistair Overeem or Cain Velasquez next.” Francis Ngannou at the post-fight UFC on Fox 23 press conference.

A chance to call out some of the top names in the Heavyweight division, Ngannou chose to snatch up the opportunity with both hands saying he wants either Dos Santos, Overeem, or even more so if he’s not injured, Cain Velasquez. All intriguing match ups for The Predator, but who is to be his likely next opponent?

With Dos Santos said to likely be fighting Stipe next for the title and Cain’s constant personal battles with injury -currently, his major back problems – out of the three names above, the most likely fight would be between fellow European Alistair “The Reem” Overeem. After coming off of his title shot against current Champ Stipe Miocic, rocking him early in the fight, Alistair Overeem has yet to be matched up with anyone. A UFC heavyweight headliner in Europe, Francis Ngannou vs Alistair Overeem would be gigantic for the UFC with the former K1 and Strikeforce Champion’s name still pulling huge numbers. It would a good opportunity for The Predator to go up against such an iconic name in the sport and test his striking capabilities against one of the very best to have done it in the Heavyweight division – actually, in MMA period.

Rising Star

Dana White has not been shy on letting it be known what he thinks of the 30 year old Cameroon native. White has been reprted as saying he has all the capabilities to become UFC heavyweight Champion and believes we’re witnessing the rise of a new Heavyweight Star. Though we’re yet to see Ngannou come up against anyone that can really stand up to him and give back what he dishes out – with all of his five wins in the UFC not going past the second round – we’re yet to see what The Predator is really made of. I’m talking about those championship rounds, those hungry competitors who don’t go down the first time you land a sold punch on them, but come right back at you. I’m talking about that Cain Velasquez style smothering, suffocating and all out mauling in the 4th and 5th round when you’re all out of gas and he’s just getting warmed up.

No doubt an exciting prospect, until we see Francis Ngannou face some real adversity inside of the octagon, an exciting prospect he will remain.

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Jerry Cummins

All things MMA and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu entusiast.

Francis Ngannou: ‘The Predator’ of the UFC’s heavyweight division

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