Francis Ngannou, the former heavyweight champion of the UFC, surprised everyone on Saturday by outlasting Tyson Fury in a thrilling match.
In their non-title crossover bout in Saudi Arabia, Ngannou gave the current WBC world champion everything he had.
Few people anticipated that Ngannou would continue for the full ten rounds. Most observers had predicted that he would be stopped at some point.
Ngannou made it clear early on that he was a dangerous opponent.
When Ngannou dropped Fury in the third round with a big left hand, the entire arena gasped. At the eight, when Ngannou was unloading with both hands and Fury appeared to be having some trouble, the majority of the audience was standing. Additionally, Fury sustained an uppercut from Ngannou that cut his forehead.
Fury ultimately prevailed via ten-round split decision. Three judges scored Fury 95-94, Ngannou 95-94, and two judges scored Fury 96-93.
The former mixed martial arts fighter thinks he did enough to prevail.
“To be honest, he would say that I won the fight, no doubt about it, but even before coming here, I knew that I wouldn’t win if it came down to a decision, not because I didn’t perform well, but because I’m the new guy in the house,” Ngnannou said to ESPN.
Oleksandr Usyk, the champion of the WBO, IBF, IBO, and WBA, will face Fury when he returns to action on December 23, also in Saudi Arabia. It’s possible that Fury-Usyk will now happen at a later time due to the damage Fury sustained against Ngannou. In the upcoming days, a decision on the matter will be made.