3 African Kings 👑
Francis Ngannou, Kamaru Usman, Israel Adesanya 🥊 🏆
There is no doubt that Africans now dominate the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Three West African fighters (Francis Ngannou, Kamaru Usman, Israel Adesanya) have cemented their names in the MMA and UFC; they are African Kings in a foreign land.
The trio of Francis Ngannou, Kamaru Usman, Israel Adesanya are dominating the Heavyweight, Welterweight and Middleweight categories respectively.
Francis Ngannou, a Cameroonian born professional mixed martial artist. The Cameroonian boxer has a height of 6 ft4 (193cm), weight of 117kg (257lb) with a reach of 83 (221cm) and is in the heavyweight division. He is the current UFC Heavyweight Champion and best known for being the hardest recorded punch in the world.
Ngannou’s fighting style is called the Striker. According to Dana White, the UFC champion Francis Ngannou hits harder than a speeding car and boxing legend Mike Tyson has helped with his technique. Ngannou aka “The Predator” is trained by Eric Nicksick and has special interest in Boxing.
The beginning of the journey of Ngannou
The former son of a street fighter started his MMA career in November 2013 and fought mostly in the French promotion 100%
Fight, as well as other regional promotions in Europe. Before signing for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), Ngannou had a record of 5 wins and 1 loss.
The lethal fighter made his UFC debut against fellow newcomer Luis Henrique on 19 December 2015, at UFC winning via knockout in the second round.
Ngannou faced veteran Alistair Overeem on 2 December 2017, at UFC 218 in the highest profile fight of his career and won the fight via knockout in the first round. The knockout has been labeled as one of the greatest and most brutal knockouts of all time. This promoted the UFC to proposed a eight-fight contract with Ngannou.
The Cameroonian has made his mark in the UFC with a total of 20 fights winning 17 of them and losing 3; knocking out 12 of his opponents. In his last title defence fight, Ngannou condemned Ciryl Gane to his first UFC defeat by unanimous decision, landing a total of 79 strikes.
Israel Adesanya (Middleweight)
The Nigerian-born New Zealand fighter, Israel Adesanya is regarded to be one of the most complete fighters in the UFC. He is the number 3 in the UFC men’s pound-for-pound rankings. Israel “The Last Stylebender” Adesanya is the current UFC Middleweight Champion with a professional record of 22 wins and 1 loss.
Adesanya made his professional MMA debut in 2012 and went on an 11-fight-win streak wherein he captured the AFC Middleweight Championship and the Hex Fight Series Middleweight Championship. In December 2017, it was announced that Adesanya had signed a contract with the UFC.
He made his debut against Rob Wilkinson on 11 February 2018, at UFC 221 and won the fight via technical knockout in the second round.This win earned him the Performance of the Night bonus.
Adesanya faced Kelvin Gastelum for the interim UFC Middleweight Championship on 13 April 2019, in the co-main event of UFC 236 winning the back-and-forth fight via unanimous decision, with all three judges scoring the fight 48-46. This fight earned him the Fight of the Night award. He then faced Robert Whittaker in a title unification bout on 6 October 2019, headlining UFC 243 for UFC Middleweight Championship. After a knockdown in the last second of the first round, Adesanya won the fight via knockout in the second round. This win earned him his fourth Performance of the Night award.
Adesanya next faced three-time UFC title challenger Yoel Romero on 7th March 2020 UFC 248 and won the fight via unanimous decision, with scores of 48-47, 48-47 and 49-46 and defended his title for the first time. In his next title defense, Adesanya faced fellow undefeated fighter Paulo Costa on 27 September 2020 at UFC 253. This marked the first time two male unbeaten mixed martial artists met in a title fight since 2009 winning the fight via technical knockout in the second round. This win earned him his fifth Performance of the Night award.
Adesanya’s last fight was against Marvin Vettori at UFC 263 for the UFC Middleweight Championship and won the fight via a unanimous decision to retain the Middleweight Championship.
Meanwhile, Adesanya lost to Jan Blachowicz in 2021 when trying to move up in weight and challenge for the light heavyweight championship in the UFC. ‘The Last Stylebender’ lost via unanimous decision after five rounds of fighting.
Kamaru Usman (welterweight)
It is no longer news that Nigerian born American fighter, Kamaru Usman lost his welterweight title to Leon Edwards via knockout less than 50 seconds to the end of the bout. Despite his loss, Kamaru Usman is still regarded as the number 1 pound to pound fighter in the UFC. Usman “The Nigerian Nightmare” has a height of 6 ft (183cm), weight of 77kg (170lb) with a reach of 76 (193cm) and is in the welterweight division.
Usman made his professional MMA debut in November 2012 and compiled a record of 5–1, competing for several regional promotions before trying out for The Ultimate Fighter in early 2015. In the finals, Usman faced Hayder Hassan on July 12, 2015, at The Ultimate Fighter 21 Finale winning the bout via submission in the second round, thus winning a six-figure contract with the UFC.
In his official debut as a UFC athlete, Usman faced future contender Leon Edwards on December 19, 2015, at UFC winning the fight by unanimous decision. In his first bout of the year, Usman faced Alexander Yakovlev on July 23, 2016 and won the one-sided fight via unanimous decision after out-grappling Yakovlev. Usman got a title shot for the UFC Welterweight Championship at UFC 235 against the champion Tyron Woodley. He defeated Woodley via Unanimous Decision to become the new UFC Welterweight Champion ending Woodley’s 3-year title reign.
Kamaru continued his dominance in the Welterweight division as he defended the title against Colby Convington, Gilburt Burns, and twice against Jorge Masvidal. Kamaru extended his dominance over the division by rematching and defeating Colby Covington via unanimous decision at UFC 268.
In the coming day, UFC lovers should expect more Africans joining the 3 African Kings on the top of the chain