MMA Factory head coach Fernand Lopez has detailed why he had Ciryl Gane avoid going after Francis Ngannou’s injured knee.
Hours before UFC 270, rumors began to surface online in regards to a potential injury Ngannou suffered during training. When it was time for Ngannou and Gane to do battle, both of “The Predator’s” knees were wrapped. As it turns out, Ngannou suffered a torn MCL and injured his ACL on the right knee.
Ngannou powered through the injury and went on to successfully defend the UFC Heavyweight Championship against Gane. It was the champion’s grappling that sealed the deal.
Better Safe Than Sorry
Fernand Lopez spoke to Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour and he revealed why he didn’t have Gane go to town on Ngannou’s injured knee.
“When I saw that, David, Ciryl Gane’s brother, sent me a screenshot of Twitter saying that, ‘I heard someone that knows someone who has [been following] Francis say that Francis is hurt on the knee.’ That was on Twitter and I asked David, ‘Do you back this?’ David said, ‘No,’ and I said, ‘No I don’t buy this.’ When Francis got inside the Octagon and I saw the two knee wraps, I called Ciryl to come close to me and I said to Ciryl, ‘Don’t fall for the bait. Don’t go there for the low kick. He will counter you. I don’t believe that Francis is hurt. Don’t go there, don’t kick him or low kick, he will counter you.’ That’s what I said to him.”
Fernand Lopez made it clear, however, that what he said about Francis’ injury was in the moment as he didn’t want Gane to fall for any potential tricks.
“Again, I know how you guys can twist some things. I don’t want [people to say], ‘Fernand Lopez is saying that it’s a lie, Francis wasn’t hurt.’ I don’t say that. I’m saying that from my point of view, the way that the information of Francis getting hurt was leaked just a few hours before the fight, I thought that was a bait.”
Gane has now suffered the first loss of his pro MMA career. There was some beef between Ngannou and Lopez going into the fight as Lopez once trained Ngannou. The two had a nasty split and traded barbs ahead of fight night.