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STATS & ANALYSIS

UFC 270: Opening the Year with the Big Boys

From the PPV buys and gate revenue to the bang-bang main events, there’s nothing like starting a new year in the UFC with a heavyweight scrap. Let’s get set for Francis Ngannou vs. Ciryl Gane.

UPDATE 1/24: UFC 270 gate revenue figures at the Honda Center were reportedly $5,290,213.

Jan. 15 marked the first event of 2022 for the Ultimate Fighting Championship, with Calvin Kattar outclassing Giga Chikadze in a five-round clinic to score a win in the featherweight main event.

There’s nothing wrong with that, but we’ve waited more than a month for a UFC pay-per-view with some serious stakes. For a blowout card with a bang-bang title fight to kick off the calendar. And on Saturday in Anaheim, we get our wish.

There’s nothing like the first big event of the year in mixed martial arts — and this time, fight fans will be treated to a unification scrap between two seriously big brawlers: heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou and interim champ Ciryl Gane.

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Here’s what should be on your radar for Saturday night in Orange County:

  • Gane (-150 at FanDuel) vs. Ngannou (champion, +122) for the UFC heavyweight title and rights to the mythical moniker of Baddest Man on the Planet
  • Brandon Moreno (champion, -178) vs. Deiveson Figueiredo (+144) for the UFC flyweight (125-pound) title
  • Said Nurmagomedov (-205) vs. Cody Stamman (+164) in an intriguing bantaweight (135-pound) bout
  • Kay Hansen (-260) vs. Jasmine Jasudavicius (+205), a women’s flyweight throwdown that features in Hansen a young American prospect on the rise and in Jasudavicius a Canadian veteran making her proper UFC debut

You gotta start a new year off right, and right on cue, the main event of UFC 270 is absolutely dripping with ready-made narratives. Larger-than-life Francis Ngannou is embarking on his first defense of the UFC heavyweight title he won in March. He’s doing so against the fast-rising Ciryl Gane, who’s coached by the man who used to coach Ngannou, Fernand Lopez, before a falling-out pushed the two apart.

In the co-main event, we’ll be treated to a trilogy fight that marks the first title defense for another champ, the ever-charismatic Brandon Moreno. After his first meeting with then-champ Deiveson Figueiredo ended in a draw, he stunned the MMA establishment by finishing the belt-holder by third-round submission in June to become the first Mexican-born UFC champion of all time.

Looking further down the card, there’s admittedly not an incredible amount of depth to bring to bear, though grappling enthusiasts won’t want to miss the returns of Hansen, an exciting 22-year-old prospect, and four-time Bazilian Jiu-jitsu World Champion Rodolfo Vieira.

Curiously, this will be the first January UFC pay-per-view since 2019 that doesn’t include Conor McGregor. Mystic Mac headlined UFC 257 in 2021 and UFC 246 in 2020, helping the promotion break the all-important 1,000,000 threshold for PPV purchases.

FanDuel Sportsbook’s method of victory props for Ngannou vs. Gane at UFC 270 (as of Jan. 20)

Do Ngannou and Gane have the clout to approach such numbers? Let’s take a trip down memory lane and get a sense of how the UFC has kicked off past years.

The Last 5 Year-opening UFC PPVs

UFC 257
  • Date: Jan. 23, 2021
  • Venue: Etihad Arena, Abu Dhabi, UAE
  • Main event: Dustin Poirier defeats Conor McGregor
  • Gate revenue: Not publicized (event took place with limited fan capacity due to COVID-19)
  • PPV buys: 1,600,000
UFC 246
  • Date: Jan. 18, 2020
  • Venue: T-Mobile Arena, Anaheim, California
  • Main event: Conor McGregor defeats Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone
  • Gate revenue: $11,089,129
  • PPV buys: 1,353,429
UFC 233
  • Date: Feb. 9, 2019
  • Venue: Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia
  • Main event: Israel Adesanya defeats Anderson Silva
  • Gate revenue: $2,470,088
  • PPV buys: 175,000
UFC 220
  • Date: Jan. 20, 2018
  • Venue: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
  • Main event: Stipe Miocic defeats Francis Ngannou to defend UFC heavyweight championship
  • Gate revenue: $2,450,000
  • PPV buys: 380,000
UFC 208
  • Date: Feb. 11, 2017
  • Venue: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York
  • Main event: Germaine de Randamie defeats Holly Holm to win vacant UFC women’s featherweight championship
  • Gate revenue: $2,275,105
  • PPV buys: 200,000
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