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UFC 270: Ngannou, Gane exchange words over controversial sparring session

Heavyweights Francis Ngannou and Ciryl Gane are no longer sparring partners and no longer seeing eye-to-eye. Luckily, the two fighters will finally settle their differences inside of the Octagon tomorrow night (Sat., Jan. 22, 2022) at UFC 270 live on ESPN+ PPV from inside Honda Center in Anaheim, California.

There’s been growing animosity between the two heavyweights ever since their title unification bout was booked for this weekend. Ngannou holds the undisputed UFC heavyweight title while Gane possesses the interim strap. As two former training partners who are now colliding on the biggest stage in combat sports it’s only natural for Ngannou and Gane to differ in opinion.

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UFC’s 2023 PPV DEBUT! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) kicks off its New Year pay-per-view (PPV) campaign on Sat., Jan. 21, 2023, with a battle for the vacant Light Heavyweight crown between former champion and No. 2-ranked contender, Glover Teixeira, looking to stop the momentum of surging No. 7-seeded up-and-comer, Jamahal Hill. In the co-main event of UFC 283, which will take place inside Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, one of the greatest rivalries in promotional history resumes as Flyweight kingpin, Deiveson Figueiredo, battles interim belt keeper, Brandon Moreno, for a fourth (and likely final) time.

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The biggest issue outside of their impending fight has to be their infamous sparring sessions under the watchful eye of MMA Factory in Paris. Footage was leaked in late December that showed Gane getting the best out of Ngannou in a past training session. However, Ngannou is adamant that the footage was packaged the right way to highlight Gane as the better striker. “Predator” is also claiming that he accidently knocked out Gane with a head kick during sparring.

“He was knocked out, probably, because he doesn’t remember,” Ngannou said during Thursday’s pre-fight press conference (replay HERE).

“This is not the truth,” Gane said in response. “We did some sparring – and it was really great sparring from Francis. It was a beautiful left kick. The problem with Francis is he doesn’t like technical sparring – (he likes) to make power. … You gave me the left kick. You hurt me. You see? I’m honest – you hurt me. You hurt me. But you didn’t knock me down.”

At this rate nobody really knows what happened between the two top heavyweights, but fight fans will find out what’s what this weekend at UFC 270. The better fighter will be revealed and an undisputed UFC heavyweight champion crowned.

“This whole story is a great story,” said UFC president Dana White. “But the most important thing is no matter who hit who, who did what, who doesn’t like who, on Saturday night, the two biggest, baddest heavyweights in the world are going to fight, and all the questions will be answered. That’s all that matters.” will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 270 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches at 6 p.m. ET, followed by the remaining undercard balance on ESPN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV. You can bet on the card at DraftKings Sportsbook.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 270: “Ngannou vs. Gane” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here. For a look at the revised UFC 270 fight card and PPV lineup click here.

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