An intriguing heavyweight title fight headlines the first UFC pay-per-view event of 2022.
UFC 270, on Saturday night in Anaheim, Calif., features champion Francis Ngannou of Cameroon, fighting out of Las Vegas, against interim titleholder Ciryl Gane of Paris.
Ngannou (16-3) boasts possibly themost fearsome one-punch power UFC has ever seen. His four-fight run to a title shot all ended in knockouts, with the longest bout going one minute, 11 seconds.
His coronation came at UFC 260 last March, when Stipe Miocic made it into the second round before Ngannou knocked him out, too.
Gane (10-0), meanwhile, has been on a frantic rise through the ranks. The former kickboxer has used his range to keep opponents off-balance and win seven straight fights since his 2019 UFC debut.
Seven of those have come via finish. This includes his last time out, when Gane defeated Derrick Lewis at UFC 265 in August.
Ngannou opened as the -115 favorite at BetMGM but has lengthened to the 125 underdog with 64 percent of the total bets backing him while 65 percent of the handle has been wagered on Gane. The story is similar at DraftKings, where Ngannou is being offered at 125 while being backed by 51 percent and 69 percent, respectively.
Gane claimed a meaningless prop of an interim championship, which UFC president Dana White created because he was angry Ngannou didn't want to fight Gane on White's preferred date. But there's no disputing Gane is the real deal.
Tensions between Ngannou and White have not settled down and have been an undercurrent leading up to the event. Ngannou has been vocal about being unhappy with his pay.
This is the last fight on Ngannou's current contract -- if he loses. If he wins, he remains bound to the UFC through the "champion's clause," which keeps titleholders in the fold as long as they hold onto the belt.
The evening's co-feature bout is also one not to miss, as the flyweight title is on the line in a trilogy fight. The first Mexican-born UFC champion, Brandon Moreno (19-5-2) of Tijuana, puts his belt on the line against the man from whom he took the gold, Brazil's Deiveson Figueiredo.
The duo first met at UFC 256, where Figueiredo (20-2-1) retained the title in a thrilling majority draw. At UFC 263, Moreno claimed the belt via third-round submission.
This is both fighters' first bout since that June matchup.
Moreno is the heavy -175 favorite at BetMGM, where he has been backed by only 43 percent of the total bets but 73 percent of the money wagered on the fight. At -180 at DraftKings, he has been backed by 76 and 59 percent, respectively to beat Figueiredo (155).
The biggest underdog on the card is Victor Henry (375) against Raoni Barcelos (-510), with Barcelos backed by 91 percent of the bets and 76 percent of the money at DraftKings.
Meanwhile, the tightest odds are Trevin Giles (-105) vs. Michael Morales (-115). The action has been split with Giles backed by 64 percent of the bets but 66 percent of the money supporting Morales.
The most one-sided action on the card at either sportsbook has been Wellington Turman backed by 90 percent of the bets and 88 percent of the money as a 225 underdog at BetMGM against Rodolfo Vieira (-300).
--Field Level Media