Ciryl Ganes regrets the bet he made against Francis Ngannou.
During a grappling exchange in the final round of their fight at UFC 270, Gane attempted a heel hook on the heavyweight champion that Ngannou was able to escape before regaining top position. This was an important moment in a highly competitive fight, and Ngannou won unanimously to keep his title.
Gane brought an interim belt to the fight during the Wednesday edition The MMA Hour , Gane explained that he wanted to end Ngannou because of how close it had been to the point and that he felt he needed to make a statement.
“The mission, because I was the contender, so when you want to be the champion you must defeat the champion,” Gane said. It’s not a good strategy to have it so tight. With my coach, it’s important to end the fight before the final bell. That’s why I did this takedown, I did very well, and after I did this choice to go to the ankle, unfortunately I did some mistakes in my technique.”
Because Ngannou’s wrestling was key to neutralizing any dangerous striking, Gane’s failure to complete the risky leg lock was met with public criticism. The French fighter claims he’s proficient at the technique and won his second UFC victory, against Don’Tale Mayes. He also used the heel hook in a fight that was high stakes.
“No, because I was really sure,” Gane said. This technique is for me. I can use it on everyone in my gym. High-level wrestling, high-level BJJ, and I can do it. I’m really comfortable on this technique, so that’s why I decided to do that, because I know the position was really good for me to go on this technique. It was great. In my mind, I knew that I would win the fight.
“That’s why no regrets. Just I was a little bit tired, so that’s why I don’t do exactly the good thing, but [makes ‘so close’ gesture with fingers] no, that’s OK.”
Gane rewatched his bout recently and can clearly see where he failed. He entered his bout with Ngannou with a flawless 10-0 pro record, and his tactical striking style had mystified several top contenders, including Derrick Lewis, Alexander Volkov, and Jairzinho Rozenstruik.
If there’s one thing Gane would change, he wishes that he’d stuck to his own style more rather than react to Ngannou’s strategy.
” The point is that I was lucid so I recall the entire fight action,” he stated. I was clear. However, I made mistakes that I now recognize. Francis is too quick to forgive me for giving my legs away. With the foot on the head, he catch me like that, and after that he understand that this is a good plan for him. So no, unfortunately, I think after the fight I was OK.
” If I wanted to win the fight, it was best to just do the “Bon Gamin.” Bon Gamin does everything like touch and can never be touched. Nothing like this. It’s not necessary to work hard. If I did, I believe I would still have my belt at home .”
Gane said that he wishes referee Herb Dean would have called for a reset on the feet in Round 5, where he believed that Ngannou wasn’t generating offenses from the top position. On the feet is where he had most of his success, and he took Round 1 and 2 on two of the judges’ scorecards (all three judges scored Rounds 3-5 in Ngannou’s favor).
Gane thinks his skills are more than enough to match Ngannou’s but he congratulates his ex-teammate for winning.
“That’s why congratulations to Francis because I think I was better on my striking, I was better on the ground game too,” Gane said. He caught me, and kept me there, so it was impossible for him to perform ground-and-pounds or submissions. My technique is excellent.
“Yes, it was about the power and the plan. It took him about 2 seconds to catch me behind my ribs. After that, it becomes more difficult for me with the power and plan of Francis. That’s why I fall. After that, he leave his body on me, he don’t do too much, and that’s why this is respect for him and his team, because he don’t do too much, but he won the fight.”