Ciryl Gane, coach Fernand Lopez downplay Jon Jones’ wrestling threat: ‘Francis Ngannou is a monster’
“If Francis Ngannou can beat Cyril Gein, then Jon Jones can definitely.” This is a popular opinion that has been spread this week by many pundits trying to interfere with the main event of UFC 285. Gein also hopes to erase this opinion by the time the main event is over.
Jones vs. Gein will headline the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, where the vacant UFC heavyweight title is on the line. The close odds reflect the many uncertainties in the fight, from Gein’s defense to Jones’ three-year layoff and his heavyweight debut.
Ngannou appeared to lay out a plan to take down Gein by surprisingly landing four out of five takedowns in a competitive title fight. Ngannou had rarely used offensive wrestling prior to this fight and many expect Jones, a superb fighter, to be able to develop Ngannou’s strategy. Gein acknowledges the criticism, but insists she’s not aging well anytime soon.
“I did very badly against Francis Ngannou. I didn’t really realize it and didn’t focus on it,” Gein told CBS Sports. “He used takedowns but didn’t put me in danger. He didn’t try to hit me or submit me. Everything was in place. We spent a lot of time on the ground, and he was at his best, because of his strength. It really wasn’t easy. He is a strong guy and a good fighter. A lot of people don’t respect Francis’ wrestling game, but I learned a lot.
“Tomorrow I’ll be up to date on Jon Jones’ wrestling game.”
Read the full interview with Cyril Gein below.
Fernand López, Gane’s trainer and former Ngannou’s trainer, insisted that Jones didn’t have the physique to train Gane like his former student did.
“We’re talking about Francis here,” Lopez told CBS Sports. “Francis Ngannou is a monster, a freak jock.”
Gein’s admission that he was caught off guard by Ngannou’s game plan is a feeling viewers feel in real time. Ngannou was never considered a wrestling threat and was still shaking off the stench of a dominating, heavy loss to Stipe Miocic four years ago. In addition, Ngannou’s near-ridiculous power rendered most fighters unconscious before grappling could take its toll. Lopez insists that Ngannou is a fundamentally healthy wrestler endowed with one-on-one strength, pointing to the improvements he made between Miocic’s two fights and examples from earlier fights. his career.
“People understand that Francis is tough,” Lopez said. “He learned and improved. He weighs 265 pounds and is strong and solid. He knows the basics and leverage to control and defeat people.
“People tend to think of Francis Ngannou as someone who doesn’t wrestle or grapple at all, which is terrible. It’s so wrong. Then Anthony Hamilton lost in the first round. [in 2016] with Kimura. Francis bullied people in this department. You couldn’t bring him down. Curtis Blaydes failed to beat Francis in two fights.”
Read the full interview with Fernan Lopez below.
Then there is the question of longevity. Jones made his professional debut ten years before Gein and only made four appearances during Gein’s dozen fights. Jones has broken through the light heavyweight division dominating many legends to earn his status as possibly the best to ever do so. However, Jones appeared to struggle in his last title defense against lesser titled opponents, winning a split decision against Thiago Santos and a very controversial unanimous decision against Dominick Reyes. Gein, unlike Jones, refuses to undermine his opponent’s opposition, but suggests that Jones may be on the decline.
“I really don’t want to be disrespectful to these opponents. I’m talking about [Alexander] Gustafsson, Reyes, Anthony Smith and Thiago Santos. They are great fighters, so it’s really normal that Jon Jones had a hard time,” Gein said. – I don’t need to talk about it. He succeeded. A lot of people say, “He’s not the John Jones he used to be.” But guys, the division is really heavy. Maybe harder than before. These guys are so strong, so resilient. Maybe he’s not in his prime, maybe, but he’s been in really hard fights and he’s done really well.”
“Time catches up with everyone,” Lopez added.
Man, I just watched my Thiago Santos fight again. I think it’s crazy that you guys think Gein is the most technical kickboxer I’ve ever come across. Everything Thiago did had bad intentions. The dude had lightning speed, power, explosive power. Crazy versatility.
— BONY (@JonnyBones) February 27, 2023
Gein was much more polite than his opponent in preparing for the fight, refusing to downplay Jones’ skills or accomplishments. Lopez insists that the pleasantries stop the moment Gein enters the octagon.
“I will still say that Jon Jones is the greatest for me. It’s a huge honor for us to go against him,” Lopez said. “Cyril has a lot of respect for him outside of the cage.
“People will be surprised how little respect he shows him in a cage. To be a champion, you have to disrespect the champion.”
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