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Four Burning Questions UFC 270 Will Answer in Anaheim

An ongoing contract dispute, two title bouts and a co-main event trilogy. Saturday's PPV card is thin but not light on intrigue

UFC 270 takes place on Saturday, headlined by heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou making his first title defense. His opponent is undefeated interim champ Ciryl Gane, and this meeting will unify the two belts–yet the topic of discussion entering the bout has strayed from the fight.

Ngannou wants a new contract. If he loses the title to Gane, then he also loses a great deal of leverage in his negotiations. But if he knocks Gane out and continues this dominant run, it opens up a world of opportunity for him–and undoubtedly leads to an extremely interesting post-fight press conference.

The 270 card is built around two title bouts. The second belt on the line is the flyweight title, as underdog story Brandon Moreno runs it back against Deiveson Figueiredo. The rest of the card is thin, but the top of the card is more than enough to carry 270.

Here are the pressing questions as we approach fight night:

Is this Francis Ngannou’s last fight in the UFC?

Francis Ngannou celebrates his victory over Stipe Miocic in UFC's heavyweight championship fight at  UFC 260 on March 27, 2021.

Francis Ngannou celebrates his victory over Stipe Miocic in UFC's heavyweight championship fight at  UFC 260 on March 27, 2021.

There are times when the Ngannou-UFC dispute feels manufactured, designed to build drama and increase the sales of 270. No doubt, that is a smart play. Any pay-per-view not featuring Conor McGregor is a bit of a wildcard in terms of buys, although Kamaru Usman-Colby Covington and Charles Oliveira-Dustin Poirier both delivered in recent PPV cards on ESPN+. UFC 270 represents a real opportunity for Ngannou to show that he can carry a card, and adding some drama should only make people more invested in his fight.

There is also a genuine dispute over Ngannou’s contract. It is true that Ngannou wants a new deal, and he has been genuinely frustrated about his pay for a long time. Signing with CAA poured gas on that fire considering their rivalry with WME. While the past couple of weeks do seem overproduced, there is legitimacy to this beef.

Win or lose, I don’t see Ngannou leaving UFC. The heavyweight division is thin on top, and Ngannou is an elite heavyweight. He needs the UFC, and the UFC–especially if he is the reigning champion–also needs him.

Will a new heavyweight champion be crowned?

Ciryl Gane will challenge Francis Ngannou for the UFC's heavyweight championship belt at UFC 270. 

Ciryl Gane will challenge Francis Ngannou for the UFC's heavyweight championship belt at UFC 270. 

Ciryl Gane may be the better overall mixed martial artist, but Francis Ngannou has more power and a longer reach.

Gane can grapple, but he has never had the honor of doing so with someone like Ngannou. While Gane’s rise over the past three years has been remarkable, what goes up eventually must come down.

A hungry Ngannou, fighting for his next contract, is the underdog here. This is his opportunity to prove he is the best heavyweight in the world with another knockout win, which is exactly how I see this fight finishing.

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Who comes away with the flyweight title, and what happens next in that division?

Brandon Moreno (l.) and Deiveson Figueiredo embrace after their fight at UFC 263 on June 12, 2021. 

Brandon Moreno (l.) and Deiveson Figueiredo embrace after their fight at UFC 263 on June 12, 2021. 

Deiveson Figueiredo has his shot at redemption against Brandon Moreno in the flyweight title bout.

But can Figueiredo continue to fight in this weight class? Weight cuts continue to be an issue for him. There is an advantage to that, as he is bigger and stronger than his opponents on fight night. That is permitting, of course, the weight cut was successful. He had a good cut before his first fight against Moreno, which was a draw, but then endured an extremely tough weight cut before the title loss to Moreno last June.

If he enters the bout healthy, Figueiredo is too strong in too many areas for Moreno. But there is even more at stake here than just the title.

The future of the division will be in the sole possession of whomever walks out of 270 with the belt. This is an extremely thin division. There are potential opponents in Brandon Royval and Kai Kara France, but right now, there just isn’t a lot of depth. The winner of this fight holds the potential for a long, long reign as champ.

What else is there to look forward to at 270?

Said Nurmagomedov (r.) battles Cody Stamann at UFC 270. 

Said Nurmagomedov (r.) battles Cody Stamann at UFC 270. 

The 270 card is not overly impressive, and it is largely carried by the two title bouts.

There could be some barnburners–Cody Stamann against Said Nurmagomedov should be really fun to watch. Nurmagomedov is a really dynamic and he is high-profile enough to the UFC to prioritize him in the bantamweight division if he defeats Stamann. Michel Pereira is an exciting fighter, making his welterweight bout against André Filho worth watching. The fifth fight on the card pits Rodolfo Vieira against Wellington Turman, two middleweights that will be tasked with firing up the crowd in the opener.

The potential certainly exists for some excitement, but no one is moving into the top-five at 270. This is a card built around the two extraordinary title fights, which should more than carry the night.

More MMA Coverage:

• The Weekly Takedown: Francis Ngannou's Uncertain Future Fuels Intrigue Entering UFC 270

• Ciryl Gane Determined to Dethrone Heavyweight Champ Francis Ngannou at UFC 270

Brandon Moreno Aims to Avoid One-and-Done Title Run at UFC 270

Justin Barrasso can be reached at JBarrasso@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.