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Francis Ngannou released, Jon Jones vs Ciryl Gane to headline UFC 285 for vacant heavyweight championship

It appears the Ultimate Fighting Championship and heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou couldn’t come to a financial agreement, as he has been released from his contract, vacating his title after defending it just a single time.

The result of this unfortunate outcome will be a vacant heavyweight championship clash between one of, if not the greatest to ever do it in former UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones (26-1) and no. 1 ranked heavyweight contender, former interim heavyweight champion Ciryl Gane (11-1).

The UFC had been attempting to book Jones against Ngannou for the longest time.

The two were expected to meet at UFC 282 on December 10, 2022, but it didn’t happen.

Now the UFC decides to go with the next best contender, the man that picked Ngannou apart for the first two rounds of their contest and nearly beat him. This will be a very intriguing matchup for a lot of reasons.

Gane is an incredible athlete standing 6’6” with a reach of 81”. He’s a 250 lb behemoth that moves like an athletic middleweight, and Jones has had troubles in the past with taller opponents.

Not to mention, Gane will probably be the best striker Jones has ever faced, being a 13-0 kickboxing champion that boasted nine knockouts in the sport.

But, Jones is 6’4” with a reach of 84” himself, and he’s with certainty the best wrestler Gane has ever faced, being an NJCAA national champion. Jones has also won more title fights than anyone in history at 14, and he’s been teasing a move up to the heavyweight division for a decade now.

He also hasn’t fought since February of 2020, where he controversially defeated Dominick Reyes via unanimous decision, a fight many believe he lost. Then his fight before that, he won a split decision against Thiago Santos, who’d torn all four ligaments in his left knee in the opening round against him.

Santos has since gone 1-4, while Reyes has since gone 0-3, being viciously knocked out in all three fights since facing Jones. There are certainly a lot of questions that need to be answered from both parties going into this fight.

In contrast to Ngannou’s release, Jones just signed a new eight-fight contract with the UFC.

Who walks away from UFC 285 the heavyweight champion?

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