In a week otherwise predominated by the disappointing news of Daniel Cormier and Tony Ferguson pulling out of their respective fights, the UFC’s first ever event in Croatia presented yet another quiet reminder of the boundaries that are being traversed by the ever-growing sport.
And although it wasn’t exactly a talent stacked card in comparison with some of the events put out by the company of late, the event did bear it’s fair share of implications, especially for the Heavyweight division.
Featuring as many as 4 heavyweight bouts in the main card, it presents little surprise that the fallout from the event leaves us with a host of storylines that serve to spice up a division that could dearly do with some enlivening.
Ranging from the influx of fresh talent to the resurgence of former champions that were dismissively written-off, here are 5 talking points that were thrown up by the UFC Fight Night Card from the medieval haven of architecture that is the Croatian capital of Zagreb.
A French Revolution in the offing?
29 year-old French Cameroonian Francis ‘The Predator’ Ngannou – standing at an imposing 6 feet 4 inches of tall, lithe and athletic – has thus far distinguished himself in the UFC with two stoppages in two fights, without even having tasted the travails of the third round in either bout.
And unlike the somewhat agricultural scrap between Timothy Johnson and Marcin Tybura that preceded their bout, the fight between Ngannou and American Curtis Blaydes was surprisingly technical, with the intimidating Frenchman particularly impressing with his clinical striking, footwork and grappling skills.
Though make no mistake, Ngannou’s bread and butter seems to be his stand-up game as his crisp and well-chosen strikes had Bladyes on the defensive throughout the two rounds, before the doctor stepped in mercifully to end the fight on account of the American’s nastily swollen eye.
Although no where near the top of the Heavyweight Division as yet, the Predator could well be hunting down top 15 opponents and look to work his way up the Heavyweight Ladder in the future, should the promise evinced by his first 2 UFC fights indeed be a sign of things to come.