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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – Alistair Overeem is happy to see how far Francis Ngannou has come.

Overeem fought Ngannou in a title eliminator bout in December 2017, but wound up on the receiving end of a highlight-reel knockout at UFC 218.

Despite their history, Overeem had nothing but nice things to say about former UFC heavyweight champion Ngannou, who now has taken the boxing world by storm.

“I’m very proud of him, very in awe of his life’s journey,” Overeem told MMA Junkie. “From being homeless, an immigrant from Africa, all the way to Paris, into the UFC, moved to the States, and now he’s sitting on the biggest stage. My hat goes off to him. He’s a champ. He’s a stud.”

Ngannou (0-1) faces Anthony Joshua (27-3) in a 10-round boxing match Friday at Kingdom Arena (pay-per-view). After he was able to push WBC champion Tyson Fury to the brink this past October, Overeem thinks Ngannou gained the necessary experience to help him get his hand raised against Joshua.

“I think he’s going to win this time,” Overeem said. “When you look at the factors, his first boxing fight, of course you’re going to have nerves. You don’t know how you’re going to last in 10 rounds. So there could be some nerves there, but I think he doesn’t have that anymore. He did it, he was in there with the best, he lost a decision where there was a lot of argument that he might have even won that fight.

“He did score the knockdown, which I thought was beautiful. So in this fight, I can see Francis Ngannou is more confident. When I look at Anthony Joshua, he had a lot of fights, so his fight rhythm is high, but I’m not seeing the same confidence. … Also, the weight difference (could be a factor). So I’m leaning a little bit toward Francis.”

For more on the matchup, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for Joshua vs. Ngannou.

Staff
Author: Staff

Please go to MMAJunkie.USAToday.com to read full article.

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