Francis Ngannou to Face Winner of Ryan Bader vs. Renan Ferreira

Francis Ngannou
Francis Ngannou Credit: PFL

The stakes just became that much bigger for this weekend’s PFL Champs vs. Bellator Champs main event, which sees Ryan Bader facing off with Renan Ferreira.

Bader, Bellator’s long-standing heavyweight champ and a former light heavyweight champ as well, takes on the 2023 PFL heavyweight champion in Ferreira, in a fight that had been about bragging rights.

However, on Thursday, PFL officials announced that the winner of Bader vs. Ferreira would face the biggest free agent signing in PFL history: former UFC heavyweight champ Francis Ngannou.

A promo video accompanying the announcement shows Ngannou arriving in Saudi Arabia.

Francis Ngannou left the UFC in early 2023 after being unable to come to terms with the promotion on a new contract. He has not competed since January of 2022, when he defeated Ciryl Gane — in MMA at least. After leaving the UFC, “The Predator” managed to secure a high-profile boxing match with heavyweight champ Tyson Fury. Losing a split decision, Ngannou nevertheless saw his stock go up after knocking down Fury in a highly competitive fight.

On March 8, Ngannou with face Anthony Joshua in another massive boxing bout, with a win potentially setting up a rematch with Fury, or at least another marquee match-up inside the ring. Still, Ngannou appears far from done with MMA, as he is also a partner in the soon-to-be-launched PFL Africa.

The PFL Champs vs. Bellator Champs card takes place Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024 at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.