Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight knockout artists Francis Ngannou and Andrei Arlovski last night (Jan. 28, 2017) at UFC on FOX 23 inside Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado.
Last year did not go particularly well for Arlovski, as his title run ended in the form of three consecutive losses. With a lot of pressure on him to bounce back, Arlovski looked to take the fight to his highly-regarded foe. Meanwhile, Ngannou entered this match up with a fairly ridiculous amount of hype behind him. While it may have been a bit overblown, it was hard not to get excited about “The Predator,” as the massive Frenchman is clearly a physical talent with some technical skill as well.
He proved himself here in short fashion.
Arlovski made his gameplan clear from the start of the bout, working from the outside with long kicks to the leg and knee. Ngannou waited patiently, advancing with the occasional combination, but neither man was landing punches in the opening minute.
As Arlovski worked behind his usual right hand, Ngannou’s left hook touched his chin while the Frenchman avoided the rest of his opponent’s combination. Moments later, Arlovski again barreled in behind his overhand, but this time the left hook stopped his opponent in his tracks. Ngannou finished the counter with a big right uppercut that slumped Arlovski, and a few follow up punches sealed the deal.
The whole thing took less than two minutes.
There’s not a ton to breakdown here. Against an experienced knockout artist, Ngannou maintained his patient approach and found an opening to do massive damage. His lengthy reach was a big help here, as “The Predator” landed a couple clean punches in exchanges where his opponent came up just short.
A patient Heavyweight with his level of technique and brutal power can end anyone’s night.
Ngannou is clearly an amazing talent. Despite his inexperience, it’s hard to call him a prospect at this point, as he will undoubtedly be ranked deep in the top 10 following this victory. While some would advise patience, Ngannou may be ready for a title eliminator match up. A match up with a former champion like Fabricio Werdum or Cain Velasquez would make sense, as would a smaller increase in competition along the lines of Ben Rothwell.
Either way, it seems like a matter of time until Ngannou competes for the strap.
As for Arlovski, there’s not a ton to say. He may not be the most durable at this point in his career, but he also fought the division’s hottest prospect. Unless his own haymaker landed early, this seemed like the most likely conclusion. While his level of competition has been extremely high, Arlovski’s four-fight loss streak is hard to ignore. I don’t expect to the UFC to release him just yet — the former champion should receive one more fight opposite a step back in competition — but retirement may be on his mind.
Last night at UFC on FOX 23, Francis Ngannou melted Andrei Arlovski quickly. Is the Frenchman a future champion?
For complete UFC on FOX 23: “Shevchenko vs. Pena” results and play-by-play, click HERE!