Ngannou MMA opponent to be announced this month

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PFL CEO Peter Murray has revealed that Francis Ngannou is anticipated to make his comeback to MMA with the Professional Fighters League this summer. The promotion plans to disclose his opponent later this month.

At 37 years old, Cameroon’s Ngannou is scheduled to face Britain’s Anthony Joshua in Riyadh on March 8th.

This fight comes after his first heavyweight boxing match in October, where he experienced a split-decision loss against Tyson Fury.

Despite joining the PFL last year, Ngannou has not yet made his debut in the promotion.

“We’ll have another event in the second half of the year, this summer likely, and we expect Francis to return to MMA in the PFL Smartcage,” said Murray.

“And we’re very excited for Francis and his upcoming bout against Anthony Joshua. I would not rule out Francis Ngannou in this fight, don’t underestimate him.”

In November, the PFL acquired fellow MMA promotion Bellator and the organisation will host its first event featuring fighters from both rosters in a champion versus champion card in Riyadh on 24 February.

Murray added the PFL intend to announce details about Ngannou’s opponent “in conjunction with our 24 February event”.

Saudi Arabia’s involvement in sports like boxing and football persists, reflecting the nation’s ongoing investment in the sporting arena.

However, such endeavors have been subject to criticism, with accusations that the country employs sports as a diversionary tactic to deflect attention from its questionable human rights record.

Former UFC heavyweight champion Ngannou has been absent from MMA competition since his title defense against Ciryl Gane in January 2022.

Following a year-long hiatus due to a knee injury, Ngannou relinquished his title upon departing from the UFC. Subsequently, he inked a deal with the PFL, though he has yet to make his debut in the promotion.

Instead of participating in the PFL, Ngannou chose to engage in a non-title boxing match against WBC heavyweight champion Fury in October.

Despite facing defeat, Ngannou’s remarkable performance, highlighted by his third-round knockdown of the previously undefeated Fury with a left hook, garnered widespread acclaim within the boxing community. This unexpected display prompted speculation about Ngannou’s potential continuation in the sport of boxing.