Fernand Lopez Told Ciryl Gane Not To Leg Kick Francis Ngannou, Believed Knee Injury Rumors Were ‘Bait’

    ByRoss Markey

    Jan 27, 2022

    MMA Factory Paris mastermind, Fernand Lopez has confirmed that he instructed his student, Ciryl Gane to not kick the legs of Francis Ngannou ahead of the pair’s UFC 270 title unification clash last weekend, claiming that he believed pre-fight rumors of an Ngannou injury were just “bait”.

    Headling last Saturday’s UFC 270 card, Ngannou, a former student of Lopez in Paris, successfully unified the heavyweight championships against Gane, courtesy of an impressive unanimous decision victory.

    However, in the hours leading up to the main event clash, rumors began circulating, detailing that Ngannou had suffered a knee injury in the run-up to his bout with Gane.

    And truth was put to those rumors post-fight when Ngannou confirmed that he had suffered a Grade 3 MCL tear and ACL injury in his right knee just 25 days before his title unification bout against Gane.

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    Choosing to block out any notion of an injury to Ngannou, Lopez confirmed that he believed rumors circulating were simply “bait” in an attempt to entice Gane to kick the legs of Ngannou – leaving him susceptible to counter strikes.

    “I don’t buy this,” Fernand Lopez remembered telling Gane’s brother, David when he brought the issue of Ngannou’s potential injury to him, during a recent interview with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour.

    “Don’t go for the low kick,” Fernand Lopez told Ciryl Gane when he saw Francis Ngannou sporting a pair of knee sleeves on Saturday night. “I don’t believe Francis (Ngannou) is hurt. He will counter you.”

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    Lopez further confirmed that he advised Gane from reverting from front kick and teep kick attempts against Ngannou in the center of the Octagon, fearing a naked low kick would result in Ngannou knocking Gane out.

    “I told Ciryl (Gane), don’t go kick a blank low kick (in the open),” Fernand Lopez said. “You will get knocked out by Francis (Ngannou). Don’t kick down. Stay on the kick that we’re using.”

    Off the back of Ngannou’s championship unification victory, his manager and agent, Marquel Martin confirmed that the Batie native is set to undergo a surgical procedure to address his knee injury upon his return from a planned trip to Cameroon. And could be facing a potential nine-month sidelining.

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