UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou’s first title defense will be against Ciryl Gane at UFC 270 in January, multiple sources confirmed to ESPN on Wednesday.
The contracts are not yet signed, but both parties have agreed to the match. The fight is expected to wrap up shortly and will headline a pay-per-view event on January 22 at a location to be announced. The date was first reported by the French media outlet La Sueur.
In addition to serving as Ngannou’s first title defense, the heavyweight showdown will be a unification fight. Win (10-0) claimed an interim title in August by defeating Derrick Lewis by TKO in the third round.
Ngannou (16-3) won the heavyweight championship by knocking out Stipe Miocic at UFC 260 in March. Ngannou has won his last five fights by knockout; four of those finals were in the first round.
Ngannou and Gane used to be sparring partners early in their careers, adding to the intrigue of the fight. They both trained with Fernand Lopez in Paris, until Ngannou left camp in 2018 to train in Las Vegas full time.