Renan Ferreira KOs Ryan Bader, paving way for Francis Ngannou's bout

Renan Ferreira KOs Ryan Bader, paving way for Francis Ngannou's bout

Who will fight Francis Nagano in his return to the world of mixed martial arts? The answer is an emphatic Renan Ferreira.

PFL vs. in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Ferreira (13-3) knocked out Bellator MMA heavyweight champion Ryan Bader (31-8) in just 21 seconds on Saturday at the Bellator pay-per-view. Ferreira dropped Bader with a right hand before ending the fight with hammermen on the floor. It was his fourth consecutive victory by knockout, three of which came in the first round.

“I'm the real problem,” Ferreira said. “I'm the one with the record. Francis, where are you? I'm the champion here. I'm always ready to fight the best in the world. Francis may be that. [MMA] Or boxing, whatever you want to do.”

Ngannou (17-3) is scheduled to make his second appearance in professional boxing on March 8 in Saudi Arabia when he faces former heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua. Earlier this week, however, Ngannou told ESPN that he still wants to return to MMA with the PFL and will face the winner of Saturday's bout between Ferreira and Bader. Ngannou was cageside during the main event.

Brazil's Ferreira didn't waste an opportunity to impress. The fight is over before it starts. Bader caught Bader with a right hand moments later as he stepped forward with punches of his own. Ferreira, who hails from American Top Team in South Florida, now has five first-round knockouts in the PFL, including 21 seconds, 50 seconds, 25 seconds and 31 seconds.

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Ferreira claimed the “super belt” in the process, although he did not take ownership of Bader's Bellator title. The real reward, however, is a future fight against Ngannou, which will take place at a PFL PPV.

Bader, a former two-weight champion in Bellator, snapped a three-fight winning streak. He recently lost at light heavyweight against Vadim Nemkov and Corey Anderson, but has been dominant at heavyweight, including two victories over the legendary Fedor Emelianenko. It was the narrowest loss of Bader's career.

Saturday's event marked the first PPV since the PFL took over Bellator late last year. The Bellator champions have fared better overall against their PFL counterparts. Welterweight champion Jason Jackson, middleweight champion Johnny Eblon and former champions Vadim Nemkov and AJ McGee all scored impressive victories over PFL opposition. Yoel Romero wins against PFL rival Thiago Santos.

However, Ferreira may have had the biggest hit of the night, and he did it for the PFL. Ferreira advanced to the 2023 season, defeating Denis Koltsov in the season finale in November. He has 11 career wins by knockout.


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