Ngannou entered bout on a nine-fight winning streak including finishes in all five of his UFC appearances. He joined Rich Franklin, Anderson Silva, and Ronda Rousey as the only fighters to win their first six fights inside the UFC octagon with finishes.
Overeem rushed the bigger Ngannou at the sound of the opening bell and missed with a left hand. He quickly initiated the clinch but wasn’t able to control Ngannou. The referee separated them and the two stood toe-to-toe in the center of the Octagon. Overeem threw a lazy left hand followed by a right hook. Ngannou countered with a left uppercut that knocked Overeem out. Overeem crashed to the canvas and Ngannou landed one more shot before the referee stepped in. Overeem was left stiff with his toes curled. The end came at the 1:42 mark of the first round.
The 31-year-old Ngannou was homeless five years ago on the streets of Paris, France. The Cameroonian had a dream of being a professional fighter and earned a UFC title shot with his win over the veteran Overeem.
“I feel very good, very good. I’m on my way to the title shot,” said Ngannou following the knockout win. “Dana White said the winner will get a title shot so I think I’ve got it.”
“I’m ready for that,” he added. “I’m more ready than ever.”