Francis Ngannou. Photo from Facebook.

Heavyweight contender Francis Ngannou sent a message to current champion Stipe Miocic with an incredible first round knockout of Alistair Overeem at UFC 218.

In what seemed an even match-up going into the fight, the number one and four contenders pitted their wits against each other. The winner of the bout being likely to face Miocic next.

With his most notable win coming over the declining Andrei Arlovski, Ngannou was taking a leap into the unknown. The 31-year-old taking on the number one contender in a bid for ‘The Predator’ to become top of the food chain.

Overeem came flying out the blocks with a lunging strike, trying to catch the Cameroon-born star out. Ngannou took Reem to the cage and denied the Dutchman any momentum in the clinch.

The pair separated ninety seconds into the bout and started to swing. A left hook from Reem left himself exposed and Ngannou exploited it perfectly with a vicious uppercut to the chin of the 37-year-old, leaving him unconscious.

This was undoubtedly the biggest and most impressive win of Ngannou’s career so far. With such ferocity and power he possesses, he is certainly claiming his stake as the most dangerous man in the division.

Likely next will be Stipe, who is enjoying a win streak of five. This of course, including his own first round knockout of Overeem, seems to pale in comparison.

Ngannou has never faced anyone as durable, tough and as intelligent as Miocic in the cage. The American will certainly provide a different test to anyone he has faced so far.

With speed and power favouring ‘The Predator’, Miocic would be wise to try take the fight into deep waters. Perhaps even to the canvas.

One thing is certain, with such an emphatic win, there is a new lease of life in the heavyweight division. With Ngannou potentially the man to bring a halt to Miocic’s reign.