top 10 heavyweight contenders andrei arlovski and francis ngannou met at ufc on fox 23. here’s how it played out.
andrei arlovski entered the octagon as the ufc’s seventh-ranked heavyweight saturday night. his opponent francis ngannou entered the cage as the 10th-ranked fighter in the division. but both fighters were on the opposite career trajectory.
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arlovski is 37 years old with a 25-13 record with one no-contest. however, the belarusian fighter and former ufc heavyweight champion had lost his past three fights. in all three fights, arlovski was finished — twice by knockout and the third by submission.
the 30-year-old ngannou had a big believer in his corner. ufc president dana white believes ngannou has the potential to become the heavyweight champion. ngannou also believed in himself. the cameroon born, french fighter promised he would knock arlovski out. ngannou owned a 9-1 record. all nine of his career victories had been finishes. inside the ufc, ngannou was 4-0, with three knockouts and one submission victory.
inside the octagon, ngannou had a size advantage. ngannou weighed in almost eight pounds heavier than arlovski. but the biggest advantage ngannou had was his ridiculous 83-inch reach. ngannou had a six-inch reach advantage to help him keep arlovski at a distance.
ngannou was a big -355 betting favorite in vegas. at +320, arlovski was the biggest underdog on the entire ufc denver card.
round one started with both fighters keeping their distance and feeling out their opponent for the opening 30 seconds. ngannou lands an overhand right to open up the round. arlovski responds with a leg kick.
ngannou misses with an overhand left, but counters arlovski’s punch with a massive right upper cut. the punch sends arlovski backwards. arlovski lands on his knees. but the crowd knew the fight was over. ngannou lands a few more strikes before the referee stops the fight after just 92 seconds.
wow!! vive la @francis_ngannou!! 🇫🇷 pic.twitter.com/lgywdh9ipr
— ufc europe (@ufceurope) january 29, 2017
the loss is arlovski’s fourth straight. at age 37, this may have been the last time arlovski fights in the ufc. for ngannou, it is his fifth straight finish inside the ufc.
with white’s pre-fight comments, ngannou could be fast tracked into the title picture. with another victory, ngannou could be fighting for the heavyweight championship.
official scorecard: francis ngannou defeats andrei arlovski – round one knockout 1:32
next: 30 little-known facts about conor mcgregor
the biggest quote of the post fighter interview came from interviewer brian stann, who referred to ngannou as the “scariest man in the heavyweight division.”
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