Earlier this week we posted a story pertaining to Donald Cerrone asking to be on the UFC on FOX card next month in Denver. He wasn’t even out of the Octagon when he stated his desire to be on the Denver card. Wish granted, Mr Cerrone. We laugh because we think , “Only Cowboy is crazy enough to hop right back in there.” Nope. As it turns out, rising Heavyweight prospect Francis Ngannou, who fought 1 day earlier than Cerrone at UFC Albany Fight Night, has also been added to the Denver UFC on FOX card. He’s paired up against the former UFC Heavyweight Champion, Andrei Arlovski.
This is an intriguing match-up between the old guard and the new breed. To say that Arlovski is a seasoned veteran would be an understatement. One of the feel good MMA stories was Arlovski going winless between 2009-2011, then going 10-1-1 and being 1 fight away from another crack at the UFC championship. The fairytale came to a halt in 2016 when The Pitbull lost all 3 of his fights by stoppage.
Conversely, Francis Ngannou won all of his 2016 fights by stoppage. Ngannou boasts an impressive 9-1 record and all of those wins were via tko/ko/submission. He has improved in each of his last 4 (and only 4) UFC fights. His win last week was certainly his most accomplished, when he defeated the former MFC Heavyweight Champion, Anthony Hamilton. Ngannou secured an early Kimura submission and walked out of the Octagon unscathed.
This is a good fight for both combatants to test their mettle and see where they stack up in the UFC’s heavyweight division. Andrei Arlovski has 14 fights with former UFC or Strikeforce champions, won titles, and basically has nothing else to prove. Francis Ngannou has everything to prove, but limited experience. This fight is between two hard hitters and I expect we’ll see one of these guys getting slept, 1 mile above sea level.
UFC on FOX 23 is shaping up nicely. Also confirmed on the card thus far:
Julianna Pena vs Valentina Shevchenko
Donald Cerrone vs Jorge Masvidal
Andrei Arlovski vs Francis Ngannou
Hector Lombard vs Brad Tavares
Jason Gonzalez vs JC Cottrell
Nate Marquardt vs Sam Alvey
Matchups courtesy of UFC.com