Ciryl Gane bounced back from his sole pro loss with a big performance on Saturday night, putting away Tai Tuivasa in the third round of a fast-paced main event fight.
Gane’s win headlined UFC’s debut event in the country of France. The card took place in front of a large crowd at the Accor Arena in Paris, who witnessed all French fighters on the card walk away with victories.
Tuivasa proved to be a massive test for Gane, making the fight ugly and upping the pace of the battle prior to the finish.
Gane started the fight with a methodical, slow-paced performance. But that all went out the window in the second round when Tuivasa scored a shocking right hook knockdown on him.
Gane recovered from this shot well, returning to the feet and beginning to land strikes moments after. He notably hurt Tuivasa with a series of kicks to the body, backing him up and nearly getting him to the ground.
Gane closed out the fight a round later, picking apart Tuivasa and eventually dropping him to the canvas. Tuivasa tried to fight back, but the sharp shots from Tuivasa added up and were beginning to take a toll on him.
Gane shook Tuivasa in the third round with a right hook. After landing numerous more punches, Gane dropped him with a left hook to end the bout.
Gane was appearing for the first time since losing a title fight against Francis Ngannou earlier this year. Before then, he had an undefeated record of 10 wins, including seven victories in the UFC cage.
After the fight, Gane mentioned once again how he is focused on getting back into the title picture.
“I want the belt. That’s all I want,” said Gane in his post-fight interview.
The fight put an end to Tuivasa’s climb up the heavyweight ranks. He had an unlikely campaign in recent years, going from having a three-fight losing streak to attaining five straight finish wins from 2020 to 2022.
Tuivasa’s previous fight was a second-round win over Derrick Lewis.
Whittaker Dominates Vettori For Decision Win
Former UFC Middleweight Champion Robert Whittaker had a stellar performance in the co-main event, using his striking skills to prevail on scorecards against Marvin Vettori.
Whittaker showcased a calm and collected game plan, rarely throwing numerous shots and being picky with the strikes that he threw. He was able to evade most of what Vettori threw his way, and connect with big blows on the return to secure a safe scorecard win.
Whittaker’s head kicks notably landed numerous times during the bout, visibly rocking Vettori at times.
The fight put Whittaker back into the win column. His previous fight, a title bout against current champion Israel Adesanya, saw him lose via unanimous decision after five rounds.
Whittaker didn’t call for a title shot afterward but claimed he is the most dangerous middleweight in the world right now.
Current champion Adesanya has beat Whittaker twice in the past. While Whittaker is undoubtedly one of the few top names in the division, he can’t face Adesanya again next — the champion is currently booked to meet Alex Pereira in November.
“I’m just going to be lurking there, waiting,” said Whittaker in his post-fight interview, regarding his status in the middleweight division.
Vettori, also a former title challenger, was coming off a main event victory against Paulo Costa from October 2021.
Imavov Continues Middleweight Campaign
Nassourdine Imavov kept his climb up the middleweight ranks alive, defeating tough opponent Joaquin Buckley on scorecards.
Imavov survived a hard late round against Buckley, using his success in the first and second frames to pick up the decision win.
Imavov had the better striking in the first and second rounds, landing more frequently and showing more accuracy than Buckley.
Imavov had a few notable moments in these rounds. He was able to take a dominant position against Buckley in the closing moments of the first round, using that position to land ground and pound. And late in the second frame, Imavov forced Buckley to defend a rear naked choke attempt.
Buckley had a late surge of energy in the fight, charging toward a tiring Imavov for the entire third round. While Buckley had success in this round, it wasn’t enough to change the result of the fight.
Imavov, a ranked middleweight, now has a trio of wins in the UFC. Previous victories came in 2021, stopping Ian Heinisch and Edmen Shahbazyan with strikes.
Buckley came into this matchup with a strong three-fight streak of victories.
Kopylov Finishes Di Chirico Late For Long-Awaited UFC Win
Roman Kopylov picked up a long-overdue UFC victory on Saturday night, putting away Alessio Di Chirico with strikes in the third round of their middleweight fight.
Kopylov unloaded on a tired Di Chirico early in the third round with a series of punches. It was a right hook from Kopylov that dropped Di Chirico, causing the fight to end immediately.
Prior to the stoppage, Kopylov was in a close stand-up battle against Di Chirico. Kopylov seemingly had the better opening round, while Di Chirico proved to be the more active fighter in the second frame.
The bout snapped Kopylov’s two-fight losing streak in the promotion. His previous UFC fights resulted in a submission loss to Karl Roberson and a scorecard defeat against Albert Duraev.
Di Chirico has now lost four of his last five UFC bouts. His prior outing was a fast defeat, getting stopped in just 17 seconds by Abdul Razak Alhassan last year.
Gomis Beats Errens In UFC Debut
William Gomis walked away from his UFC debut with a win on Saturday night, defeating featherweight Jarno Errens via majority decision.
Gomis comfortably took the first two rounds of the fight, mostly using control time on the ground to take a lead on scorecards.
There was a late scare for Gomis in his performance, briefly getting caught in a triangle choke attempt in the final two minutes of the fight. Gomis was able to escape the hold and move into side control just before the round ran out of time, causing the crowd to erupt in cheers.
“He had the triangle [and] it was really really tight,” said Gomis in his post-fight interview, reflecting on the moment. “But then I heard the crowd and thought ‘no, I can’t give up now. I’d rather die here than give up.'”
Both fighters were making their first UFC appearance.
Gomis entered this weekend on an eight-fight winning streak, including appearances in Ares FC and UAE Warriors.
Errens’ previous fight was just last month, beating Alisher Abdullaev on a Brave CF card.
Wood Beats Jourdain, Earns Second Win At Featherweight
Nathaniel Wood showcased sharp striking for his second consecutive win at featherweight, defeating Charles Jourdain in a unanimous decision result.
Wood connected with the better shots in a fast-paced stand-up battle through all three rounds. Along with these shots, Wood was also able to mix in some takedowns and ground control in their fight.
Wood has now picked up two wins since moving up from bantamweight. His previous victory was in July when he beat Charles Rosa in a unanimous decision result.
Jourdain has now lost two consecutive fights against talented names at 145-pounds. His previous outing came against Shane Burgos, who beat him in a majority decision result.
The Rest of the Card
Abusupiyan Magomedov, a middleweight that has been awaiting his UFC debut for nearly a year, won his first fight for the promotion in just seconds. Magomedov hurt Dustin Stoltzfus early with a front kick, then got him to the ground with a three-punch combination to end the fight.
Nasrat Haqparast snapped a two-fight skid on the prelims, going three rounds against the returning John Makdessi for a decision victory.
A well-rounded performance from Fares Ziam earned him a win on Saturday night, going the distance against UFC newcomer Michal Figlak.
Benoit Saint-Denis absorbed the energy of his home-country crowd, landing multiple knockdowns against Gabriel Miranda before finishing the fight early in the second round.
2021 “Dana White’s Contender Series” alum Cristian Quinonez picked up a quick stoppage win in his UFC debut, catching Khalid Taha in the first round with a quick combination of punches.
Short-notice opponent Stephanie Egger spoiled the UFC debut of Ailin Perez, ending a dominant performance with a second-round rear naked choke submission.
Main Card (3:00PM EDT / 9:00PM CEST) (ESPN+ / UFC Fight Pass Canada)
Bout 12: Ciryl Gane def. Tai Tuivasa via TKO, Strikes (RD 3, 4:23)
Bout 11: Robert Whittaker def. Marvin Vettori via Decision, Unanimous
Bout 10: Nassourdine Imavov def. Joaquin Buckley via Decision, Unanimous
Bout 9: Roman Kopylov def. Alessio Di Chirico via TKO, Strikes (RD 3, 1:09)
Bout 8: William Gomis def. Jarno Errens via Decision, Majority
Bout 7: Nathaniel Wood def. Charles Jourdain via Decision, Unanimous
Preliminary Card (12:00PM EDT / 6:00PM CEST) (ESPN+ / UFC Fight Pass)
Bout 6: Abusupiyan Magomedov def. Dustin Stoltzfus via TKO, Strikes (RD 1, 0:19)
Bout 5: Nasrat Haqparast def. John Makdessi via Decision, Unanimous
Bout 4: Fares Ziam def. Michal Figlak via Decision, Unanimous
Bout 3: Benoit Saint-Denis def. Gabriel Miranda via TKO, Strikes (RD 2, 0:16)
Bout 2: Cristian Quinonez def. Khalid Taha via TKO, Strikes (RD 1, 3:15)
Bout 1: Stephanie Egger def. Ailin Perez via Submission, Rear Naked Choke (RD 2, 4:54)