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Francis Ngannou vs. Alistair Overeem booked as UFC 218 co-headliner in Detroit


UFC heavyweight prospect Francis Ngannou won’t get a title shot, but he will get an ex-champion.

Ngannou (10-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC), who lost a spot on UFC 215 when Junior Dos Santos was flagged for a potential anti-doping violation, will meet the man he called out as a fill-in: Alistair Overeem (43-15 MMA, 8-4 UFC).

The UFC today announced the bout between Ngannou and Overeem, which will take co-headline UFC 218. The Dec. 2 event from Little Caesar’s Arena in Detroit will air on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Ngannou called out Overeem on Twitter after Dos Santos fell off the UFC 215 card. Overeem responded in kind.

“I heard someone is trying to skip the line,” he wrote, adding a nifty graphic. “Can’t allow such a thing to happen. So @francis_ngannou let’s go!”

The battle is certain to have title implications.

Ngannou has won nine straight fights, including a knockout of ex-champ Andrei Arlovski. Overeem, meanwhile, is on the rebound after a failed title bid at UFC 203, winning fights against ex-champ Fabricio Werdum and Mark Hunt.

Overeem, a former Strikeforce, DREAM and K-1 champ, is No. 2 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA heavyweight rankings, while Ngannou is No. 9.

Ngannou didn’t exactly get his wish after calling to fight champ Stipe Miocic at UFC 218. But he definitely got a tough replacement.

For more on UFC 218, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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