UFC 270: Ngannou vs Gane - Main Card Predictions - 01/22/22

Heavyweight - Francis Ngannou vs. Ciryl Gane

Can Ciryl Gane avoid the power of Ngannou for 25 minutes? That’s the big question going into this one. If he does so, he most likely skates to a comfortable decision and unifies the titles. He probably doesn’t have to do it for 25 minutes honestly. If he gets past the first few rounds, he’s shown to have the cardio to stay busy and effective late.

Gane would be unwise to shoot in on too many double legs as being underneath Ngannou’s sprawl has to be one of the scariest places to be on the planet. And he’s shown in his last fight improved grappling. Gane’s takedown attempts as of late have served more like distractions than actual full committed takedowns but that's probably for the better. Grinding Ngannou against the cage might pay dividends in sapping the champ’s energy.

I do think the gap in technique has been closed considerably and if Ngannou fires off those thunderous leg kicks (something Gane is susceptible to), then he can definitely keep Gane’s range game honest. I don’t put too much stock in the former training partner footage and people claiming Gane was outclassing Ngannou here. Ngannou is certainly willing to eat some shots to land his own, which he did in that footage. And doing so might look a lot different with 4 ounce gloves, no headgear, and a very angry 257 pound beast.

However, despite Ngannou showing marked improvements in his game last time out, Miocic really didn’t offer up much and Ngannou still looked pretty tired - breathing out of his mouth in the first round after only a couple exchanges. Gane has shown he will absolutely push pace and he’s very aware of the power of his opponent. I’ve been the hottest of hot garbage picking main events lately so take this pick with a grain of salt but I’ll side with Gane here.

Prediction: Cyril Gane

Flyweight - Brandon Moreno vs. Deiveson Figueiredo

This should be a real fun one just like the first two. After watching the first fight, Figueiredo felt like a lock for the second fight. After seeing that fight, Moreno feels like the lock this time around. It’s such an unusual flipping of perspectives that I feel like I’m falling into some weird trap of a gambler fallacy of epic proportions. Anyway, I’m going to side with Moreno regardless. Even with Figueiredo’s proposed illness last time, I think Moreno has made so many solid adjustments that the cards are in his favour. Figueiredo is most likely still going to be the scary counter puncher he always is but which Moreno seems to have the answer to.

Prediction: Brandon Moreno

Welterweight - Michel Pereira vs. André Fialho

No big fancy breakdown here. Fialho is a one note power puncher and Pereira has shown he knows how to deal with that. I can’t imagine Fialho has ever faced someone with Pereira’s awkward style either. However, Fialho’s power and athleticism is certainly impressive enough to score a KO (especially early) for anyone looking to fade this pick. Pereira has been finished by strikes before but he has seemed to have made a few adjustments since then to avoid that fate. Fialho will also not enjoy his usual athletic advantage so I’m going to side with Pereira to backflip his way to the win.

Prediction: Michel Pereira

Bantamweight - Cody Stamann vs. Said Nurmagomedov

Cody Stamann is a tough out for anyone in the bantamweight division. But he's going to be at 6” reach disadvantage against a guy who knows how to use it. The sheer amount of spinning attacks Nurmagomedov uses however could open him up to be taken down. We saw just that when he fought Barcelos.

I do like Nurmagomedov’s ability to get back to his feet for the most part, although he’s not afraid to give up his back in doing so. If Stamann is relentless in his pursuit of the takedown or even maintains back control if he gets it, he could very possibly steal 2 rounds. The problem is it’s been a long time since we’ve seen him impose a dominant wrestling attack (Song Yadong comes to mind) and Nurmagomedov’s grappling is good enough I think to keep things standing, where he will undoubtedly pick him apart to a decision.

Prediction: Said Nurmagomedov

Welterweight - Trevin Giles vs. Michael Morales

This one got an upgrade to the main card when we lost a couple fights just prior to weigh-ins. Giles welcomes Morales to the UFC but this will actually be Giles’ first venture into the welterweight division so a bit of new water for both combatants. Giles’ relaxed, confident, hands-low, style finally caught up to him in his last fight as Du Plessis put him to sleep in the 2nd round. Up until that point in his career, his head movement and boxing has been slick enough to avoid ever being finished by strikes.

Morales is a developing prospect who is getting his debut after a recent Contender Series win. He’s going to have a pretty solid athletic advantage and a 5” reach advantage. However, he’s incredibly green at 22 years old and is clearly still developing. His grappling is alright but we’ve seen Giles reverse positions on bigger middleweights in the past (as well as score a lot of submissions) so Morales will be at risk if he goes this route. However, one thing that has plagued Giles in the past is his low output. If he doesn’t score the counter KO and his opponent hangs around, those rounds become pretty hard to score in his favour. Lastly, Morales appeared pretty nervous/hesitant under the Contender Series lights and now he’s getting shooed into a UFC PPV main card which I can't imagine is going to be easier. Very slight lean for Giles to get the W.

Prediction: Trevin Giles

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Donnie Vee

Ever since renting my first UFC VHS at my local video store, I’ve been in love with the sport of MMA. I’ve watched every single fight that has ever taken place under the UFC banner over the past 25 years. Once I started doing incredibly well in fantasy leagues, I realized I could utilize my skills in fight analytics to make a profit on betting. My obsession with researching every aspect of a fight gave me a real edge in finding value. Since then, it's been one profitable year after the next. Watching your favorite sport is good, but getting paid while watching your favorite sport is better.