The UFC is BACK for the first 2022 event with two title fights!
Are you as excited as I am about the Ngannou vs Gane title unification bout?
I can’t wait to see who will be considered the baddest man on the planet after Saturday night! This might be one of the best ever heavyweight fights in history, and it includes an interesting back story as well (check out articles about Ngannou’s relationship with UFC president Dana White, as well as Ngannou’s training history with Gane).
The co-main event is the 3rd part of an awesome trilogy between Brandon Moreno and Deiveson Figueiredo. After a draw in their first fight, Moreno choked Figeuiredo in the 3rd round at UFC 263, claiming the flyweight title. Let’s see what this rematch has in store for us!
The lead up to the main events starts with Michael Morales fighting Trevin Giles. Cody Stamann then faces Said Nurmagomedov. Right after, we will see Michel Pereira Lima take on Andre Fialho.
If you’ve landed here, you probably already know what’s set for Saturday’s UFC event. What I want to add is a view of advanced stats and fight strategy For three of the fights. All stats below and in the charts refer to data from the fighters’ UFC fights.
Francis Ngannou vs Ciryl Gane: The baddest men on the planet
The Good Kid Ciryl Gane has a perfect MMA record and is the interim heavyweight title holder. An incredible striker and all-around technician, Gane seems to be unbeatable on paper. Francis Ngannou is, however, one of the most dangerous heavyweights of all time and can certainly defend his heavyweight title.
Stats-wise, Gane seems unstoppable. In the UFC, Gane average over two times the number of strikes landed per minute compared to Ngannou: 5.37 to 2.54. This is in most part due to the level, and styles, of opponents they have faced. Bon Gamin has an impressive 58% striking accuracy and 63% striking defense. “The Predator” average only 42% striking accuracy and 48% striking defense. Both fighters are strikers, but I do want to point out that Gane has never been taken down. However, I don’t think the stats tell the full story here.
Ngannou strikes early, Gane is tireless
- Ngannou has a relatively low pace, peaking at around 30 strikes attempted in the 2nd round.
- He focuses on distance strikes and compensates for his low pace by aiming for the head.
- His knockdowns come early in his fights – all 11 of his UFC knockouts have come in the first 2 rounds.
- Gane has plenty of energy and fights at full speed throughout all rounds, typically peaking in the 3rd round with over 60 strikes attempted on average.
- He uses body strikes throughout the whole fight and increases his head attempts in the 3rd round and on.
What to Expect
Ciryl Gane will be walking into the octagon as a favorite to win the heavyweight title. The implied probabilities of him winning are 60%. I do think that he will be tactically keeping The Predator at a distance in an attempt to tire him out. With 11 UFC knockouts, most of them really nasty, Ngannou will just be looking to connect on one good punch. It can happen. Judging by Gane’s skill, I do not think it will however and I expect to see Gane win by decision.
Brandon Moreno vs Deiveson Figueiredo 3: Flyweight Title Bout
The current UFC Flyweight champion Brandon Moreno is the first Mexican-born champion the UFC has seen. He had promised to become champion and he did it at UFC 263 in June 2021 against the Brazilian Deiveson Figueiredo with a rear naked choke.
This will be the 3rd fight of the duo’s trilogy. Their first fight ended as a draw at UFC 256
Stats-wise, these two fighters have a similar striking pace, with a little over 6 strikes landed and absorbed per minute. Figueiredo has a better striking accuracy, 55%, while Moreno is a slightly better striking defender with 56%. Moreno likes his takedowns and averages over 2 per 15 minutes. Figueiredo has managed over 2 submissions per 15 minutes.
Despite this being the first title fight of the year, it’s a solid fight of the year contender on paper!
“The Assassin Baby” throws many punches and kicks from early on in his fights. He connects on less than half of them, but he still is dangerous. “Deus de Guerra” is greatly efficient in his early striking and mainly focuses on body strikes. He can definitely keep up with Moreno’s pace and would like to set up an early submission. Moreno is the favorite in the books here and also on paper, stats-wise, and I will be backing him to win. I expect Moreno to be an even more improved version of himself and win this fight before or in the 3rd round. Figueiredo might be a better and more complete fighter but Moreno’s thirst for glory gives an important mental edge.
Cody Stamann vs Said Nurmagomedov: A chance for recognition
The stats and graphs tell us what we already know. Stamann goes for the takedown throughout all rounds, typically finding success in the 2nd round. Nurmagomedov is a striker with a great reach and aims for distance strikes and strikes to the head.
The bookers’ odds imply that Nurmagomedov has an over 66% chance of winning this fight. I agree – he is definitely the favorite. Cody Stamann might be able to use his wrestling skills to take the fight to the ground, but the Russian has shown that he has enough anti-wrestling skills, as well as size, to avoid any troubles. At the same time, Stamann is a good striking defender and Nurmagomedov will not be able to knock him out easily. My pick is Said Nurmagomedov by decision.
What are your expectations for this exciting UFC night?