HYDEN BLOG: Francis Ngannou Is A Free Agent And Stripped By The UFC, & The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly from UFC Fight Night: Strickland vs. Imavov

By: Frank Hyden, MMATorch Senior Columnist

There’s huge news right now as Francis Ngannou is a free agent and has
been stripped of the UFC Heavyweight Title. I’ll get to that story and
what the UFC plans on doing about crowning the next heavyweight
Also, the UFC ran their first event of the year. Who won and who lost?
Let’s get to the rundown.

UFC Fight Night: Strickland vs. Imavov
GOOD- Umar Nurmagomedov stops Raoni Barcelos
Barcelos opens with punches while Nurmagomedov starts off with some
kicks. Then they each mix in the other part of their striking. They
keep sparring for a while until Nurmagomedov turns it up. He zips in
some good strikes until he crushes Barcelos with a powerful left hook
that knocks out the veteran fighter not quite at the end of the first
round. Nurmagomedov wins and improves to a perfect 16-0 while Barcelos
drops to 17-4. Good win for Nurmagomedov.

GOOD- Raquel Pennington vs. Ketlan Vieira
They trade strikes early, with Vieira getting the better of it. The
second round starts with more boxing before Vieira mixes in some
kicks. Pennington is turning it on now and they clinch a few times.
More kicks from Vieira before the second round ends. That was a much
closer round. The third round opens with more boxing before they mix
in some knees. Pennington wins the Split Decision and improves to 15-8
and has won 5 straight fights while Vieira drops to 13-3. Good win for
Pennington in a very close fight.

GOOD- Roman Kopylov stops Punahele Soriano
They trade strikes early, with Kopylov getting the advantage. Kopylov
stuffs a Soriano takedown attempt and returns fire with a takedown of
his own. Nothing comes of it, though, as Soriano stands and the round
ends. The second round begins with more striking exchanges. Kopylov is
hurting Soriano with some hard body shots. Kopylov stuffs another
takedown attempt and crushes Soriano with a kick to the body and
punches in bunches until the referee jumps in to stop the fight not
quite three and a half minutes into the second round. Kopylov improves
to 10-2 while Soriano drops to 9-3. Good win for Kopylov.

GOOD- Dan Ige stops Damon Jackson
Both fighters are swinging for the fences. Ige works the body and
after an exchange Jackson is bleeding near his eye. They trade some
kicks before Ige gets a takedown to end the first round. The second
round starts with Ige moving forward. They circle and trade a little
bit until Ige catches Jackson with a thunderous left hook that ends
the fight in explosive fashion a little over four minutes into the
second round. Ige improves to 16-6 and snaps his 3 fight losing streak
while Jackson drops to 22-5-1 with 1 No Contest and has his 4 fight
winning streak snapped. Good win for Ige.

GOOD- Sean Strickland vs. Nassourdine Imavov
They trade strikes throughout the first round and that continues into
the second round as well. Imavov’s output isn’t nearly what
Strickland’s is, though. Strickland gets a trip takedown as both guys
are starting to get tired. The third round sees them exchange mainly
punches. Again, Imavov is slowing down some. Even Strickland is
tiring. The fourth round continues the theme of them trading strikes,
with Strickland coming out ahead. The fifth round switches it up a
bit, as Imavov connects with more strikes and does more damage. It’s
too late, though, as Strickland wins the decision and improves to 26-5
while Imavov drops to 12-4 and has his 3 fight winning streak snapped.
Good win for Strickland.


Francis Ngannou is now the former UFC Heavyweight Champion. The UFC
has released him and stripped him of the title. Dana White said that
the UFC offered Ngannou more money than any other heavyweight in
history, even more than Brock Lesnar, but Ngannou turned it down and
is now a free agent. Ngannou is 17-3, had just won then defended the
UFC Heavyweight Title and has won 6 straight fights. He’s one of the
biggest free agents in MMA history. Until I hear it from the man
himself I’m not going to absolutely believe anything else in terms of
if it’s just about money. I’m sure he’s got reasons and maybe it is
just about money, but it seems like there’s something else here.
Regardless, this is obviously huge news and could change the landscape
of MMA. He could go elsewhere and smash more guys in high-profile
fights. Or his knee injury could prove to be the deciding factor in
what happens next. I certainly hope not but considering all of the bad
news in the MMA world recently, this story is one I’ll be paying a lot
more attention to as it unfolds.

Another aspect of the Ngannou being stripped story is that the fight
for the vacant UFC Heavyweight Title has been announced. Jon Jones
will finally make his heavyweight debut on March 4th in the main event
of UFC 285 against Ciryl Gane. This is huge news, whether you like
Jones or not. It’s finally happening. After a decade of Jones talking
about it, he’s finally moving up to heavyweight. I imagine you would
have to make Gane the favorite. Not a massive favorite or anything,
but Jones hasn’t fought in three years and didn’t look all that great
then. However, he is one of the greatest light heavyweights of all
time so who knows. I make sports bets sometimes but I’m not a good
gambler and I’m certainly no expert. I just think unless you consider
Gane to be a bum that he should be the favorite. I’ve been wrong
plenty of times before so maybe I’m way off here? Let me know what you

My new fantasy book is now out. It’s called Kingdom of Zarias: A Fight For
. It’s the third book in my epic fantasy Kingdom of Zarias
series and follows the adventures of the Summers siblings as they
fight to defend the world from an evil villain named Galren. This book
also introduces lots of other characters as the scope of the world
grows. There’s lots of action, magic, and monsters in the Kingdom of
Zarias. It’s like a tabletop game in novel form. It’s on Amazon,
Barnes & Noble, and many other places. If you’re interested, I would
greatly appreciate it if you would check it out and support me. Also,
here’s the link to my new Compendium book about the Kingdom of Zarias
series- KoZ Compendium
Thank you very much, have a good day.

Comments and suggestions can be emailed to me at
hydenfrank@gmail.com and you can follow me on Twitter at @hydenfrank.
Thanks for reading and have a good day.

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