MMA Fighting has Tyson Fury vs. Francis Ngannou live round-by-round updates for one of the most anticipated boxing fights of the year at the Freedom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Saturday afternoon.
The main event is expected to begin around 5:45 p.m. ET on ESPN+ and DAZN pay-per-view. Check out our Fury vs. Ngannou results page to find out what happened on the undercard.
Tyson Fury (33-0-1, 24 knockouts) will fight for the first time this year at the event. The WBC heavyweight champion is expected to face Oleksandr Usyk for the undisputed heavyweight title at the end of the year.
Francis Ngannou will make his pro boxing debut for the first time at 37 years old. It will be his first fight since his departure from the UFC. The former UFC heavyweight champion posted a 17-3 record in MMA with 12 knockouts.
Tyson Fury vs. Francis Ngannou is next.
Opening ceremonies beginning, a scene that the broadcast has been hyping all show as “Olympic level.”
Star-studded promo plays featuring several luminaries from the MMA world including Chuck Liddell and Frank Mir.
We have ourselves a countdown as lights beam throughout the arena. English rapper Flowdan opens up the festivities with Rumble.
Up next, Lil Baby performing Errbody. It’s an elaborate stage show with a huge screen providing a backdrop and a ring of dancers.
There’s a gigantic box on one of the other stages now, Becky G performing Rotate inside of it. The walls of the box act as screens before raising up to reveal the pop star.
We’re not done yet, folks. There’s another enormous structure and it’s time for another Becky G song. She performs BUEN DIA.
Now we’ve got Flowdan and Lil Baby teaming up for Pepper. The main event not far off now, folks…
And there it is. The majestic ring actually rising up under the floor, as promised.
At last, the fighters are set to walk out. Michael Buffer handling introductions.
Out first, Francis Ngannou enters to—appropriately enough—Started from the Bottom and then God’s Plan by Drake. He emerges from a throne with his name on it wearing a crown and robe, Mike Tyson by his side.
Also part of Ngannou’s entourage, former UFC champions Israel Adesanya and Kamaru Usman.
Tyson Fury out to Dolly Parton’s Jolene, which plays briefly before a dramatic voice-over takes over. Like Ngannou, he’s rocking the custom throne, crown, and robe. Oh, Pretty Woman by Roy Orbison plays as he jogs to the ring. No, wait, he’s back to the stage. Baddadan by Chase & Status comes on and now he’s headed to the ring. We’re moments away from the bell!
But first, the national anthems of Saudi Arabia, Cameroon, and the United Kingdom.
And we’re off! Your referee for this matchup, Michael Griffin.
Check out Tyson Fury vs. Francis Ngannou live blog below:
Round 1: Fury just walks right up to Ngannou and cracks him with a right hand. Another right scores for Fury, he’s making Ngannou fight from the center of the ring. Fury flicks a jab to the body. Ngannou taking his time to figure things out. There’s a right to the body by Ngannou. He jabs Fury’s body. They trade body jabs. Nice right to the body for Ngannou. Right hand from Fury gets through and Ngannou felt that one. Ngannou swinging heavy but he’s not landing. Fury tags Ngannou with a jab.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9, Fury.
Round 2: Ngannou starts the round off with a jab to the body. He’s cautiously coming forward. Lots of head movement from Fury before he lunges in and scores with a left. That left of Fury’s lands again as Ngannou chases him. Jabs from Fury score, but Ngannou just walks through them. Ngannou with a short uppercut in close that at least partially landed. Fury goes body-head. Fury goes back to the body. Fury ducks in and pushes Ngannou to the corner. More cheeky wrestling from Fury before the round ends, perhaps working to tire Ngannou out.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9, Fury. Overall, 20-18 Fury.
Round 3: Fury using feints to keep Ngannou off-balance. Ngannou not biting though and he lands a clean left hand as Fury circles away. Another left catches Fury. Ngannou fires a couple of high jabs at his taller opponent. Fury goes back to the jab to pester Ngannou. Fury initiates another clinch. Ngannou avoids another clinch with a glancing right that gets Fury off of him. Left hand over the top by Ngannou and Fury hits the mat! That’s a clean knockdown. Whoa whoa whoa… Fury is back up, but that was the exclamation point on a round Ngannou was already winning.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-8, Ngannou. Overall, 28-28.
Round 4: Ngannou lands a right. He’s scored with the bigger shots. Fury lets a left hand go. Ngannou is right there with him. A couple of clinches from Fury slow the action down. He throws a couple of lefts, but Ngannou’s defense looks good. Right hand from Fury bangs against the side of Ngannou’s head. There’s a 1-2 by Fury. Another quick combo stings Ngannou. Fury battled back in this one, but Ngannou is in it. Can he go another six hard rounds with the boxing champ?
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9, Fury. Overall, 38-37 Fury.
Round 5: Ngannou connects early in the round. Fury triples up with his left hand and scores. Ngannou off-balance as he fires a wild haymaker. Ngannou tags the body. Fury comes forward with a right hand, they clinch up. Reset, and Fury looks to be working to keep his distance now. Ngannou misses over the top, Fury counters with a body shot and another clinch. Uppercut by Fury just misses. Fury paws a jab in Ngannou’s face. Right hand by Fury. Pot shot by Fury, he seems to have Ngannou figured out.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9, Fury. Overall, 48-46 Fury.
Round 6: Ngannou swinging big, but Fury is keeping the former UFC champion on the edge of a long left hand. Fury feeding Ngannou a steady diet of jabs. He’s throwing the occasional counter as he circles with Ngannou following him. More jabs from Fury, Ngannou doesn’t have an answer right now.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9, Fury. Overall, 58-55 Fury.
Round 7: Fury continues to circle but this time Ngannou connects with a right hand. Now they’re both circling as Fury paws with his jab, the complexion has changed slightly, Ngannou manages to get inside with a straight left. Fury wants to clinch, but Ngannou backs him up with an uppercut inside. Fast right hand from Fury. He stumbles in and almost inadvertently gets a double leg on Ngannou. Fun fight, if a little sloppy.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9, Ngannou. Overall, 67-65 Fury.
Round 8: Fury staying busy with the jab. He tries to follow with a right but Ngannou gets inside to clinch. There’s that lunging right from Fury again. Ngannou with a couple of scary-looking straight lefts. Nice three-punch combo from Fury that’s capped off by a body shot. Uppercut inside by Fury, he’s moving a lot, but now Ngannou lands a three-punch combo of his own. Fury hits a right. Ngannou letting his hands go as Fury tries to walk him down. Neither fighter looking particularly fresh. If cardio is an issue for Ngannou, it could be for Fury too. Fury aggressive, but ineffective to close the round.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9, Ngannou. Overall, 76-75 Fury.
Round 9: Two good punches landed by Ngannou as Fury steps forward. Fury fires a series of jabs and follows with a right, but Ngannou’s power left gives him pause. Glancing right by Ngannou. Both men taking their time, this round is crucial. Fury jabs the body. He connects with a trio of punches as Ngannou pursues. Smacking jab by Fury. Not much from Ngannou in that round. Saving up for a big finish?
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9, Fury. Overall, 86-84 Fury.
Round 10: Ngannou takes center of the ring once more, this is tense. Ngannou throws a scary left hook that Fury avoids. Fury slaps him on the chin with a jab. Ngannou goes to the body. Slower pace in this one, like Round 9. They exchange punches from distance, nothing landing with much impact. Good jab from Fury. Left hook scores for Fury. Fury with an uppercut in the clinch, Ngannou answers with a right. Fury drops the hands goading Ngannou to come in, but we’re going the distance after one more exchange of punches. Incredible effort from Ngannou, but was it enough?
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9, Fury. Overall, 96-93 Fury.
Official result: Tyson Fury def. Francis Ngannou via split decision (94-95, 96-93, 95-94)
Fury with plenty of praise for Ngannou in the post-fight interview. He calls Ngannou one of “his toughest fights of the past 10 years.” Asked if he’s still going to box Oleksandr Usyk next, he says he needs to take some time to figure things out.
Ngannou says he “wounded today” but he’ll be back and he’d be happy to run it back with Fury.
“Get ready, a wolf is in the house,” Ngannou says.