Francis Ngannou’s strikes hurt more than a baseball bat, says coach

  • Francis Ngannou has “wicked” punching power, according to his MMA coach Eric Nicksick.
  • The UFC heavyweight champion will defend his title on Saturday in a title fight against Ciryl Gane.
  • Ngannou claimed he accidentally knocked out Gane in a freak accident three years ago.

Francis Ngannou’s strikes do more than crack a baseball bat, his MMA coach Eric Nicksick claimed on The MMA Hour this week.

The veteran batter will battle his former training partner Ciryl Gane in a UFC heavyweight championship on Saturday at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.

Gane, an undefeated slugger, and Ngannou, the boxing champion, practiced side by side three years ago at the MMA factory in Paris, France.

Fast forward to Saturday, January 22, and the heavyweight rivals clash in a high-stakes showdown at UFC 270.

Prior to the event, Nicksick, who trains Ngannou at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, described the extraordinary power the 35-year-old generates when he throws his fists and legs with bad intentions.

“I’ve been hit in the back with a baseball bat before, and literally the bat, it broke,” Nicksick said. “It was a wooden bat, it broke over my back and it didn’t bother me for a moment.

“And then I got kicked by Francis to the point where I couldn’t walk for two weeks, man. Like, it’s bad. It hurts, man. It hurts real bad.”

Nicksick went so far as to describe Ngannou’s power as “wicked.”

He said, “It’s a different kind of power, man, the way this man can kick and punch and throw and generate power. It’s ungodly.”

Standout coach Dewey Cooper helps Nicksick prepare Ngannou for fights, and Nicksick said it comes at the expense of both.

“Poor Dewey,” he said. “Dewey’s elbows, my legs, my body, it’s just getting beat up all the time.”

Ngannou hopes to beat Gane this weekend

Ciryl Gane is undefeated in 10 pro MMA fights.

Ciryl Gane is undefeated in 10 pro MMA fights.

Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Despite their past relationship, Ngannou seems confident he can send Gane.

“I Knocked Him Out” [with] a left high kick,” Ngannou said. “There are many reasons why those images didn’t come out.”

Elaborating, he said, “Well, let me say this, that knockout wasn’t a voluntary knockout. It wasn’t in sparring. It was an accident. I wasn’t going to knock him out. I’m didn’t go there to take him out.

“Personally, it’s not something I would be proud of and feel tough about knocking out my sparring partner or knocking him down or whatever.

“Usually that happens during training, but it’s always an accident. Because we’re committed to taking care of our partner. That’s how it works.”

Ngannou will attempt to purposely take out Gane on Saturday night, live on ESPN+ PPV in the US and BT Sport in the UK.

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