UFC Fight Night 141 Preview

DoqM1y0XkAAXZJoA year ago, Francis N’Gannou was the future of the heavyweight division, a fighter who was only a chance away from winning the heavyweight crown.

It was a major development for the division as the UFC was struggling to find the people they needed to lead one of the biggest divisions in the history of combat sports.

The heavyweight division was full of older fighters who continued to fight each other with varying results while nobody could really take hold of any excitement.

The title changed hands but only for a brief time and fighters received multiple chances to win that title.

With such a concentration on the smaller weight classes where more talent was located the heavyweight went from the crown jewel to a forgotten division.

It was a struggle to find young guys that could actually make an impression and get beyond the group of great fighters at the top.

Every time a new fighter came through they would eventually run into Alistair Overeem, Andrei Arlovski or Mark Hunt.

These young fighters couldn’t get through the veterans and so they lost their momentum and struggled to make much of an impression.

That began to change in 2017 as younger fighters began to rise and look like legitimate contenders.

The leader of the group was N’Gannou who the UFC built as an unbeaten monster who was the hardest hitter in UFC history.

He had proved them right with highlight reel knockouts of Arlovksi and Overeem which gave him the shot at the title.

Some would argue it was too soon but for the UFC this was the future of the division and they wanted him to get that title to provide that excitement in the division.

His title shot against Stipe Miocic was built as the future of the division about to take over and rule for a long time.

Unfortunately, he ran into the greatest heavyweight champion of all time as Miocic clinically picked apart N’Gannou proving that the young Cameroonian was not ready.

That fight changed the course of N’Gannou’s career as things seemed to go sideways very quickly.

Despite being given the chance to train at the UFC Performance Institute it was clear that N’Gannou had a massive gap in his game, with an inability to even compete on the ground.

Questions about his training methods rose up as wrestling didn’t seem to be a part of his regimen.

Looking more into it a sense of entitlement seemed to be his downfall as the talk about him being the future may have gone to his head.

In interviews, Dana White made claims that seem to make N’Gannou a man who thought he was bigger than he actually was.

Whether or not these reports were true, something went wrong with the rise of N’Gannou and since that title loss he has been scratching and clawing at what little hype he has left.

The UFC seems far less committed to him and they have proven it with the fights he has been a part of this past year.

After that title loss, he was matched against Derrick Lewis, a top contender, in what was billed as a great fight between two guys with one punch knockout power.

The fight turned out to be a showcase of how bad conditioning can be in the heavyweight division with both fighters gassing out early and spending most of the fight doing nothing.football-sidebar

It was N’Gannou’s second loss in a row putting him in some serious danger of dropping to obscurity in the UFC.

He gets another shot this weekend but it is not going to be easy and he is going to have to be pretty impressive.

He will take on Curtis Blaydes in a fight that will not be seen by many with the main card beginning at 4:00 am ET.

N’Gannou will travel to China for his next fight on Fight Pass against another rising star looking to get back to being relevant.

Without a big knockout, this fight will not be talked about a lot making N’Gannou’s road back a bit tougher but a win helps him with the UFC brass.

Blaydes is not an easy out though as the former Juco National Champion wrestler could give N‘Gannou a lot of problems.

Unless N’Gannou has worked tirelessly on his wrestling or takedown defence this could into another clinic about the balance needed to be a great fighter.

Although Blaydes has power there is little doubt that he is going to take this fight to the ground especially with N’Gannou’s history of dealing with wrestlers.

Although it might not be a fight with the most viewers this is a test for N’Gannou to prove that he has what it takes to be considered one of the best and the result could go a long way to determining his future in the UFC.

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