The Francis Ngannou vs. Ciryl Gane sparring footage saga has taken a new twist.
With the undefeated Gane set to face Ngannou in a heavyweight title unification clash at UFC 270 taking place January 22 in Anaheim, California, things were made more interesting when sparring footage of the two came to light.
Two former teammates on a collision course.
Will we see Ciryl Gane and Francis Ngannou going at it for real in the Octagon? pic.twitter.com/3EUOQG7vHJ
— UFC on BT Sport (@btsportufc) June 28, 2021
Although it was just sparring and not a real fight, Gane did look more impressive in the footage that was seemingly released by MMA Factory head coach Fernand Lopez.
Ngannou was not too impressed as he accused the duo of manipulation and using the one sequence of footage where Gane looked better than him.
“When I saw that footage, my first reaction was laughing – because I know exactly what happened at those training sessions. But this is the thing: When they want do some highlight, they always choose the part of the video that they use and they have a lot of videos like that because at the time, they were filming our training sessions to promote him, his fight and everything. So there was a lot of footage from those few training sessions, but a lot of them never came out and will never come out, and I know for a fact that they will never come out.
“It’s about to make him look better and make me look bad – to prove that he’s the man. I really get intrigued by (that) stuff sometimes and then how they just control people’s mind, conditioning them to think – and suddenly they just shift from one way to other way of thinking. And I’m like, how easy is that to manipulate people? … They’re really good at manipulation. But at the end of the day, as I said, we both know. Everyone knows for a fact.”
Gane would later even admit that the particular piece of footage did make him look good as their sparring sessions were mostly even.
Fernand Lopez: Ciryl Gane Dropped Francis Ngannou
Lopez also agrees that the footage didn’t tell the whole story.
But that’s for another reason — he claims Gane actually managed to drop Ngannou after connecting with a knee to the liver. And as per Lopez, that knee stopped their entire training which is why Ngannou doesn’t want the whole footage out.
“That footage didn’t tell the whole story of what happened in training,” Lopez told LowKickMMA. “There were so many opportunities where they got the better of each other in sparring. So we couldn’t have manipulated the footage. He didn’t want me to release the whole footage because, in that specific training, Francis Ngannou ate a knee shot to the liver and got dropped. Stopped the whole training. These are facts. Francis was on his backside.
“If he’s saying this isn’t true, I’ll release the whole footage. But, my content manager didn’t want to release it because we have privacy in the gym. When guys train in your gym, they expect things to stay in the gym.”
For now, we’ll never know.
But if Gane did indeed drop Ngannou with a knee to the liver, it’s worth looking out for when they do clash later this month.