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Biggest mistake by a coach in championship fight history - GSP's coach explains how mistake from Fernand Lopez cost Ciryl Gane win at UFC 270

Fernand Lopez and Ciryl Gane (left); Firas Zahabi (right)
Fernand Lopez and Ciryl Gane (left); Firas Zahabi (right)
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Johny Payne

Georges St-Pierre’s coach Firas Zahabi has explained how a huge mistake by Fernand Lopez cost Ciryl Gane the win at UFC 270. Interim UFC heavyweight champion Gane faced current UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou at UFC 270 in January.

In the fifth and final round of their closely contested fight, Gane had the upper hand against Ngannou but gave that up to go for a leg lock. Subsequently, Ngannou moved into the ascendancy, outpointing Gane en route to a unanimous decision win.

Francis Ngannou found himself down on the scorecards but turned to his wrestling and dug deep to beat Cyril Gane 🏆A five-round heavyweight battle at #UFC270! https://t.co/8KJjfmHFlF

In a video on the Tristar YouTube channel, Zahabi stated that Gane went for the leg lock because before the fifth round, Lopez told Gane he was losing the fight. The Tristar Gym head coach explained that Gane felt he was losing on the scorecards which is why he chased a finish in the fifth round. Zahabi said in this regard:

“Guys, it was the biggest mistake in championship fighting I’ve ever seen as a coach; the biggest mistake. And the guy’s a great coach, I’m sure. The guy’s a brilliant coach. I’ve made mistakes. We all make mistakes. But that was the biggest mistake, in my opinion, in a championship fight, that a coach has ever made. I gotta be honest now. Because if Ciryl knew that was 2-2, he could’ve played his cards very differently.”
“If my coach told me – ’Hey. You’re losing the fight.’ – I would go for the leg lock, too. You’ve got to finish the guy. You’ve got to go for a sub or a KO, and Francis is not going to be easy to KO.”

Watch Firas Zahabi address the Ngannou-Gane matchup and more in the video below:

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Fernand Lopez on bringing in Dagestani heavyweights to improve Ciryl Gane’s wrestling skills

Ciryl Gane’s high-volume striking helped him outpoint Ngannou on the feet. Nevertheless, he fell short in the wrestling and grappling in the clash.

Who had @francis_ngannou wrestling his way to victory at #UFC270? 🤔 https://t.co/5uoFoCFFtM

On The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, Lopez addressed that and said he’ll bring in heavyweights from Dagestan, a region known for its rich wrestling culture. He believes they’d help improve Cyril Gane’s wrestling skills. That would ensure Gane is more well-rounded in all departments of MMA. Lopez said:

“In the plane back in home, I already give a call. Two heavyweight coming from Dagestan for wrestling. I already give a call of two tough guy in the grappling. The next four months Ciryl Gane will eat grappling like he never did. Of course, anyway, what you have left [in the heavyweight division]? Three persons – Stipe Miocic, wrestler; Jon Jones, wrestler; Curtis Blaydes, wrestler; Francis [Ngannou], decent wrestling.”

Watch an episode of The MMA Hour:

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Edited by Bhargav
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