Welcome to Midnight Mania!
Back in January, Francis Ngannou put on a majorly gritty performance to defend his UFC Heavyweight title for the first time. Amidst contract negotiations and potential lawsuits, Ngannou rallied from an 0-2 start vs. Ciryl Gane, taking over the final three rounds on the strength of his wrestling. It wasn’t necessarily pretty, but it was a serious display of heart and conditioning from the champ.
Even more impressively, he did it on a badly injured knee.
In an effort to repair Ngannou’s torn ACL and MCL, it’s been known that Ngannou was likely to go under the knife. Now, his manager Marquel Martin advised ESPN that Ngannou has a surgery date of March 18. The expected recovery timeline is about nine months, which means Ngannou is highly unlikely to return to action in 2022.
What’s next for the promotion and its champion? Ngannou fought out his contract at UFC 270, but the champion’s clause complicates matters quite a bit. UFC President Dana White remains optimistic that the two can come to terms, though that may depend on UFC’s willingness to let Ngannou cross over into the boxing ring opposite Tyson Fury.
An interim title also seems distinctly possible. UFC was quick to book such a fight when Ngannou didn’t immediately defend his title last year, so a high-profile fight — perhaps involving Jon Jones? — wouldn’t come as a shock.
Promotion on promotion violence! It’s been a while since we’ve had a real cross-promotion mega fight.
Hey @ScottCoker ... who is @criscyborg fighting over there at @BellatorMMA?— Donn Davis (@DonnDavisPFL) March 11, 2022
To settle this nonsense:
Kayla vs. Cyborg
Loser pays event production costs@PFLMMA is IN ... @KaylaH is IN
What about Bellator and Cyborg?https://t.co/6j5JIUFeJ0
Big payouts at UFC 272!
Reported super real indisputable non fake UFC 272 payouts revealed pic.twitter.com/1OFFvWLibn— Jessica Knapik ✨ (@JessicaKnapik) March 11, 2022
I don’t know what Eryk Anders did to his foot, but it looks unpleasant.
Chris Leben was in a seriously bad way during his battle with COVID-19, but now “The Crippler” is back on the mat! You love to see it.
Doc says I’m built different ♂️ took the oxygen off and got my daily 1% Crippler 101 keep it moving pic.twitter.com/fKqZkkVRcM— Chris Leben (@ChrisLebenMMA) March 11, 2022
In the era of UFC Fight Night events being so frequent, I’d predict these numbers to be surpassed sooner than later.
Henry Cejudo and Conor McGregor were beefing on Twitter today, because why not?
Slips, rips, and KO clips
The One Championship fights earlier today were absurdly violent. John Lineker did John Lineker things, while Thanh Le proved that heel hooks aren’t real.
The losing man throwing his hands up in protest as the referee steps in is peak comedy to me.
I’m not predicting that Thiago Santos wins tomorrow night, but I hope he lets his hammer fly.
A high quality graphic art of a carnivorous plant.
Midnight Music: Benny The Butcher dropped another tape, Tana Talk 4, and I’m always here for new Griselda.
Sleep well Maniacs! More martial arts madness is always on the way.