Not many people are giving Francis Ngannou much of a chance to upset Tyson Fury and shock the world in Saturday’s heavyweight boxing bout in Saudi Arabia.
But one of Ngannou’s most infamous victims sees things a different way.
“Not only a chance — I believe he’s going to win,” retired combat sports legend Alistair Overeem proclaimed Wednesday on The MMA Hour.
“Because I look at fights a little bit different, right? Of course, I’ve been in the game for 30 years. But I look at patterns, I look at some little details, I look at it a little different. And I think Ngannou is going to surprise the world, shock the world. Listen, also because people underestimate UFC fighters. They do. MMA fighters, let’s call them MMA fighters. There’s a lot of details that are in here and boxers are basically one-dimensional to us. Yes, Tyson is the best, yes, yes, yes, but France is a big dude. Very big dude.”
Ngannou, 37, and Fury, 35, meet on Oct. 28 in a blockbuster 10-round heavyweight boxing match in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Fury’s WBC heavyweight title will not be at stake, however the bout is expected to go on both fighters’ official records, meaning Ngannou will have an opportunity to become the first boxer to officially stamp a loss onto Fury’s undefeated pugilistic record. The former UFC champ is making his professional boxing debut.
Overeem, 43, knows from experience just how dangerous Ngannou can be. “The Reem” suffered one of the most brutal knockout losses of his career at the hands of Ngannou in 2017 when he ate a monster left uppercut from the future champ at UFC 218, a result which effectively ended Overeem’s final viable push to win the UFC heavyweight title.
But Overeem also knows from experience what it’s like to be doubted as an MMA fighter making a detour into a different combat sport. Overeem memorably shocked the kickboxing world when he stormed into K-1 and defeated a slew of legendary names, knocking out the likes of Badr Hari, Peter Aerts, Tyrone Spong, and Gokhan Saki in a run that culminated with winning the 2010 K-1 world grand prix championship.
Overeem said he plans to fly to Saudi Arabia later this week to watch Fury vs. Ngannou in person, and he expects a performance from his one-time foe that’ll stun the boxing world.
“It’s going to be a brutal force KO,” Overeem said.
“I went into K-1 and people didn’t give me much of a chance either. But I went in there as well [and won]. We have a different mindset with MMA guys. It’s different. It’s different.”