Francis Ngannou wanted a world-class opponent for his next fight and he definitely got one.
“The Predator” is expected to fight K-1 Grand Prix winner and former Strikeforce champion Alistair Overeem at UFC 218 on Dec. 2 at the Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Mich., sources told MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani. The UFC officially confirmed the bout Wednesday.
The prospective booking comes six weeks after Ngannou received news that his UFC 215 meeting with Junior dos Santos scheduled for Sept. 9 would be canceled due to “Cigano” being flagged for a potential USADA violation. Since then, Ngannou has campaigned for a fight with UFC heavyweight king Stipe Miocic, but it appears the matchmakers found another marquee matchup for him.
Ngannou is 10-1 as a pro and 5-0 as a member of the UFC roster, with all of his victories coming by way of knockout or submission. In his most recent outing this past January, the 31-year-old Cameroonian-French fighter needed just 92 seconds to pick up a TKO win over former UFC champion Andrei Arlovski.
Overeem (43-15, 1 NC) has won six of his last seven fights, including his last two against Fabricio Werdum and Mark Hunt. The battle with Werdum at UFC 213 marked the conclusion of a trilogy dating back to 2006 that saw both men owning one win over the other, and it was “The Reem” who took the rubber match via majority decision.
Since December 2014, Overeem’s only setback came in a failed bid to capture the heavyweight title when he was knocked out by Miocic at UFC 203.