FRANCIS NGANNOU has warned Ciryl Gane his bid to win the UFC heavyweight title will fall flat on its face if he’s relied heavily on their old sparring sessions.
The former team-mates will collide early on Sunday morning in a huge heavyweight title unification fight at UFC 270 in Anaheim, California.
Both men have an intimate knowledge of the other’s strengths and weaknesses from their training sessions, a video of which was released by MMA Factory chief Fernand Lopez.
The footage showed Gane getting the better of some of the exchanges, but Ngannou insists his old team-mate and coach would’ve been foolish to devise a game plan on their past encounters.
The undisputed heavyweight champ told SunSport: “Even if they rely on that video, no, it doesn’t look good for them.
“Because they know exactly what happened and that’s not good news.
“If they will have relied on that video, they would’ve known upfront that it’s not going to play [out] well for them.”
Ngannou, 34, has made great improvements with his already ferocious striking and takedown defence since upping sticks from Paris and setting up shop at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas.
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And the French Cameroonian has a sneaking suspicion his former comrades won’t be leaning too heavily on their sessions on the mats of the old MMA Factory gym.
The UFC’s first African-born heavyweight champion said: “I don’t think they’re relying on that.
“I think they’ve just used the clips of that footage, a highlight, to promote Ciryl.
“And that’s what’s been happening since all of this hype and fight promotions.
“Because they didn’t put out the video, they just put out the clips of it. I don’t think they’re doing [relying on the video] it.”
Gane, 31, was just a burgeoning prospect when he began training with Ngannou in 2019, who at the time was in the top-five of the UFC’s heavyweight ranks.
The Frenchman doesn’t draw too much from the success he had in some of his sparring sessions with The Predator anymore but is confident his dazzling skill-set has drastically ‘improved’ since then.
Bon Gamin told SunSport: “I think this time we’ve improved, 100 per cent.
“We have improved a lot – on my part and his part.
“At this time, the feeling was, ‘I was really lucky’ because I had just started in MMA and I can spar with a guy who was already in the top-five.”
“So I think today, it’s going to be a bit different. But this has helped me to have a little more confidence.”
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