The MMA world has been sent into a frenzy by the frightening knockout punch produced by Francis Ngannou at UFC 218.
Alistair Overeem has fought 60 times in MMA, including 13 in the UFC. But never was he handled the way he was on Sunday by the sport’s newest star.
Ngannou undoubtedly earned a shot at the heavyweight title, currently held by Stipe Miocic, with a brutal one-punch knockout with a counter left hook in the co-main event of UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.
CONTROVERSY: Fighter gets mauled after referee misses tap
Overeem, who charged out of his corner at the power-punching Ngannou, missed on a big left hook. Ngannou responded with a left hook to the chin that dumped Overeem on his back and put him out.
Ngannou, not only massive at 6 feet 4, 262 pounds but also quick and athletic, immediately went after Overeem and landed a hammer fist before referee Dan Miragliotta could pull him off.
Overeem was out before he hit the mat, though he was up and walking around the ring about five minutes after the KO. The time of the stoppage was 1:42 of the first, as Ngannou improved to 6-0 in his UFC career with his sixth finish.
“I feel very good,” Ngannou said. “Very good. … Dana White said the winner of this fight will get a title shot, so I think I got it.”
It's not the first time we've seen the incredible power of Ngannou.
He had knocked out all five of his previous UFC foes inside of two rounds, including a sub-two-minute finish of former champ Andrei Arlovski in January.
The completely dominant performance has left the UFC world in absolute awe.
“His toes are locked up like he’s just been electrocuted,” commentator Joe Rogan said of Overeem.
“He’s still stiff as a board. That’s how scary Francis Ngannou is — it was like a scene from a movie.”
A number of his fellow UFC stars also took to social media with praise.
This guy is a problem. I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen a humans head snap back like that. #ufc218— Dennis Bermudez (@MenaceBermudez) December 3, 2017
Well, Ngannou landed first. Scary, scary power. Nobody at heavyweight wants to get hit by that cinder block fist. What a great story he is. #UFC218— Kenny Florian (@kennyflorian) December 3, 2017
That’s it ngannou can no longer fight humans, it’s not fair and someone might die. #ufc218— Ray Borg (@tazmexufc) December 3, 2017
Overeem himself also took to social media with an update on his condition, explaining how he knew to fear Ngannou's 'uppercut from hell'.
"No damage and all healthy thankfully.. unfortunately lost today. Props to @francis_ngannou, I got hit with a uppercut from he**, one of his specialities which we new were very dangerous. Some chill time now before back to the drawing-board."
No damage and all healthy thankfully.. unfortunately lost today. Props to @francis_ngannou, I got hit with a uppercut from he**, one of his specialities which we new were very dangerous. Some chill time now before back to the drawing-board 🙏🏽— Alistair Overeem (@Alistairovereem) December 3, 2017
Overeem's 'uppercut from hell' description sparked memories of a humongous Anthony Joshua punch landed on Wladimir Klitsckho in their heavyweight boxing bout in May.
But Ngannou's could very well have been even bigger than Joshua's effort. You be the judge:
After a performance like Sunday's, in which Ngannou proved he has the steak to go with the sizzle, the pieces are in place to make Ngannou v Miocic a major event. Miocic, like Ngannou, is also a knockout artist, with five consecutive KOs to his credit. A victory over Ngannou would also give Miocic that elusive third successful title defense that every heavyweight champ before him couldn’t reach.
It has the makings of the company’s biggest heavyweight title fight since Velasquez v Junior dos Santos in the UFC’s network television debut in 2011. And White knows it.
“[Ngannou], first of all, when you look at him, he looks like the heavyweight champion of the world,” White said.
“I mean, he looks like the heavyweight champion of something. The guy is a monster. Trust me, I want to make that fight with Francis and Stipe tomorrow.”
For his part, the soft-spoken Ngannou already carries himself like a champion. Dressed in traditional African garb at the post-fight news conference, Ngannou explained that his dreams are as much about making an impact back home as anything he does inside the Octagon.
“First of all, I want to be the first African to have a UFC belt,” Ngannou said. “I want to be the one to open the UFC in Africa, basically in Cameroon. I want Cameroon to be the first country in Africa to [host] the UFC. It’d be good. It’d be honor for me.”
Ngannou was out 11 months between the win over Arlovski and Sunday's fight, in part because few wanted to fight him. White, for his part, doesn’t see that being a problem much longer.
“Once we keep this guy active and you see him doing this to all the big stars that you know and yeah, I think this guy’s going to be a rock star globally,” White said.
Ngannou doesn’t disagree, which is why he’s ready to get right back to work.
“I have a thousand things to do in MMA,” said Ngannou. “I’m going to do a good training camp because Stipe is a champ. He’s a good guy. He’s doing well, so I need to prepare and have a good training camp.”
With Yahoo Sports