By Brian Mazique
Cameroonian heavyweight Francis Ngannou needed just 71 seconds to destroy former heavyweight champion and vaunted striker Junior dos Santos. A clubbing right hand from Ngannou resulted in a broken and visibly shifted nose for dos Santos. He promptly asked to be allowed to challenge for the UFC heavyweight Championship.
Here is a look at the finish:
Ngannou began the evening launching heavy leg kicks, which is a new wrinkle for the heavyweight. The shots seemed to catch JDS a bit off guard. JDS would hit Ngannou with his own leg kick. The first one knocked him off his feet momentarily. Because we’ve seen Ngannou fold when hit with some adversity in the past, I immediately wondered how he would handle the moment.
Before that thought could formulate, he was already closing the distance and setting up the scenario above that led to the KO finish. The win sent Ngannou to 14-3 overall and it was the third straight first-round KO finish following smashing defeats of Cain Velasquez and Curtis Blaydes. Ngannou earned one of four Performances of the Night Bonuses for his work on Saturday.
Ngannou earned a title shot in January 2018, but his lack of wrestling skills were exposed by then champion Stipe Miocic. Ngannou lost the fight via unanimous decision, and followed that up with a listless performance against Derrick Lewis later that year in another decision loss. With Ngannou’s resurgence, there is no question he should be facing the winner of the Daniel Cormier-Miocic rematch.
Cormier has hinted that he would retire after this bout, but because of what Ngannou did to his close friend Velasquez, it seems possible we could see the future Hall-of-Famer give it one more go to avenge his buddy’s loss.
We’ll see. Here is a look at all of the results from Minnesota with the winners of the $50,000 Performance of the Night Bonuses marked.