UFC on ESPN+ 67: Gane vs. Tuivasa Preview

It has been only two years since MMA has been legalized in France. Despite this ruling being quite recent, the country already has many skilled names representing it at high levels in the sport. When the UFC heads to the country for the first time this Saturday, many of those talented names will be on display.

Most notably, former interim heavyweight champion Ciryl Gane will get the big spotlight of the main event. He’ll be fighting rising contender Tai Tuivasa, who has gained a reputation for putting away opponents early throughout his career.

Their bout headlines a 12-fight card from the Accor Arena in Paris, France. Here’s a full preview of the evening.

Click here to skip to a preview of the main card.

Preliminary Card (12:00PM EDT / 6:00PM CEST) (ESPN+ / UFC Fight Pass Canada)

Bout 1: Ailin Perez (7-1) vs. Stephanie Egger (7-3) (Featherweight)

In the first of many debuts on this card, Ailin Perez will face Stephanie Egger.

Perez is joining the UFC roster with a strong record of seven wins and one loss. She has already required two stoppage wins in 2022 alone on the regional scene.

Perez was originally scheduled to face Zarah Fairn, but plans changed just a few days ago. It is now Egger, a bantamweight, who will move up a weight class to meet Perez on short notice.

Egger had a two-fight winning streak broken just last month, suffering a first-round armbar defeat against Mayra Bueno Silva.

Bout 2: Khalid Taha (13-4) vs. Cristian Quinonez (16-3) (Bantamweight)

Appearing for the first time since his 2021 victory on “Dana White’s Contender Series,” Cristian Quinonez will face Khalid Taha.

Quinonez scored a UFC contract last year on the “Contender Series,” earning a unanimous decision victory over Xiao Long. The fight was his fourth consecutive win, with previous victories taking place on the Mexican regional scene.

Taha took this fight after Quinonez’s original opponent, Youssef Zalal, exited the booking. Taha will be fighting for his first victory since 2019. His past three appearances have caused unsatisfying results, taking two losses and a win overturned to a no-contest due to a drug test.

Bout 3: Benoit Saint-Denis (9-1) vs. Gabriel Miranda (16-5) (Lightweight)

Coming off his first UFC win, Benoit Saint-Denis will face UFC newcomer Gabriel Miranda.

French fighter Saint-Denis scored his sole UFC win thus far in June, submitting Niklas Stoltze in the second round of a fight via rear naked choke. Before then, he had a rough debut loss against Elizeu Zaleski.

Miranda is replacing Christos Giagos on this card. He has an experienced record of over 20 fights, and is entering the promotion on a three-fight winning streak.

Bout 4: Fares Ziam (12-4) vs. Michal Figlak (8-0) (Lightweight)

Undefeated lightweight talent Michal Figlak will make his UFC debut on Saturday’s prelims against Fares Ziam.

Figlak is entering the UFC roster with a strong record of eight wins. He has become a veteran in European promotion Cage Warriors as of late, scoring an impressive six wins over the past two years. His last victory was just two months back, defeating Agy Sardari via decision.

Fares is one of the many names on this card representing France. He had a two-fight winning streak broken in his last fight, suffering a first-round submission defeat against Terrance McKinney.

Bout 5: Nasrat Haqparast (13-5) vs. John Makdessi (18-7) (Lightweight)

Fighting to end a current skid at lightweight, Nastar Haqparast will face John Makdessi on Saturday’s prelims.

Haqparast has lost a pair of fights recently, albeit against talented lightweights. In February, he went the distance against Bobby Green for a decision defeat. Prior to then, he lost against Dan Hooker.

Makdessi has been somewhat inactive as of late, appearing only as frequently as once a year. His last fight, an April 2021 outing, saw him get back into the win column with a split decision over Ignacio Bahamondes.

Bout 6: Dustin Stoltzfus (14-4) vs. Abusupiyan Magomedov (24-4-1) (Middleweight)

The prelims are set to wrap up with a middleweight bout between Dustin Stoltzfus and Abusupiyan Magomedov.

Stoltzfus potentially kept his UFC career alive in his last performance, snapping a three-fight skid with a decision win over Dwight Grant. Now with his first UFC victory, Stoltzfus will aim for another this weekend.

Magomedov will be making his long-awaited UFC debut. The KSW and PFL alum has been booked for numerous UFC fights since December 2021, but they have all fallen through for various reasons. After many false starts, he will finally get his debut on Saturday.

Main Card (3:00PM EDT / 9:00PM CEST) (ESPN+ / UFC Fight Pass Canada)

Bout 7: Charles Jourdain (13-5-1) vs. Nathaniel Wood (18-5) (Featherweight)

Featherweights will kick off the main card, as Charles Jourdain and Nathaniel Wood will face off.

Jourdain suffered a loss in his last appearance, not being favored in a majority decision against Shane Burgos. Before then, he had a pair of wins in the division.

Wood currently holds a UFC record of five wins and two losses. He last appeared only two months back, defeating Charles Rosa on scorecards.

Bout 8: William Gomis (10-2) vs. Jarno Errens (13-3-1) (Featherweight)

In a double debut, featherweights William Gomis and Jarno Errens will compete.

Gomis has attained 10 wins since turning pro in 2016. This includes previous appearances in Cage Warriors and UAE Warriors. His last fight came in June, when he picked up a finish victory over Jose Marcos at an ARES FC event.

Errens is slightly the more experienced fighter of the two. His most recent win was in early August, beating Alisher Abdullaev on scorecards.

Bout 9: Alessio Di Chirico (13-6) vs. Roman Kopylov (8-2) (Middleweight)

Still on the hunt for his first UFC win, Roman Kopylov will fight Alessio Di Chirico as part of Saturday’s main card.

Kopylov entered the UFC roster in 2019 with an undefeated record of eight wins and a strong resume. But his momentum was stopped upon arrival, getting submitted in his debut against Karl Roberson.

Kopylov made his return at UFC 267 last year but was unsuccessful in a unanimous decision against Albert Duraev. He’ll get his third crack at the UFC cage this weekend.

Di Chirico, a UFC vet of 10 appearances, is coming off a brutal loss. His last defeat came in August 2021, when Abdul Razak Alhassan caught him in just 17 seconds with a head kick. With his year-long absence over, Di Chirico is ready to turn things around.

Bout 10: Nassourdine Imavov (11-3) vs. Joaquin Buckley (15-4) (Middleweight)

In a pairing between two rising middleweights, Nassourdine Imavov and Joaquin Buckley will meet on Saturday’s prelims.

Buckley is currently on a three-fight winning streak, with two of those wins coming from this year alone. His last victory was three months ago, earning a doctor stoppage victory over Albert Duraev.

Imavov is coming off somewhat of an absence from the cage, having last fought in November 2021. But he is coming back with some momentum, having scored two consecutive finish victories last year.

Bout 11: Robert Whittaker (23-6) vs. Marvin Vettori (18-4-1) (Middleweight)

High-ranked middleweights Robert Whittaker and Marvin Vettori will take the stage in the co-main event.

Whittaker will be appearing for the first time since losing a title fight against Israel Adesanya in February. He went five rounds against Adesanya in that second meeting between them but lost via unanimous decision in the end.

Whittaker built up a strong campaign in the division before then, earning three straight wins against respected names. He notably overcame both Darren Till and Kelvin Gastelum in five-round bouts.

Vettori, also a former title challenger is one of the higher-ranked names at 185-pounds. He bounced back from his Adesanya loss in October 2021, defeating Paulo Costa in the main event of a “Fight Night” card. A successful performance this weekend for Vettori would undoubtedly be the biggest win of his career thus far.

Bout 12: Ciryl Gane (10-1) vs. Tai Tuivasa (15-3) (Heavyweight)

Heavyweight talents Ciryl Gane and Tai Tuivasa are expected to close out the night.

Gane will have the home-court advantage for the fight, representing France when he steps into the cage on Saturday. He will be appearing for the first time since taking his sole pro loss in January.

Gane had his climb to the top of the division suddenly brought to a halt earlier this year, as he lost a fight to champion Francis Ngannou at UFC 270. The bout stopped Gane from becoming a champion and ended his status as the interim titleholder as well.

Gane had a significantly quick rise up the heavyweight ranks before then. He first entered the UFC in 2019, boasting just three pro wins at the time. By 2021, he had advanced his record to seven wins and earned his first spot in a UFC main event.

Gane’s biggest win thus far is his August 2021 third-round stoppage against Derrick Lewis, which earned him an interim belt briefly.

While Gane attempts to turn things around, Tuivasa will look to keep his momentum going.

Tuivasa has been an unlikely story in the UFC lately – after taking three straight losses from 2018 to 2019, he has come back and become one of the top names in the division. Tuivasa currently has five consecutive wins, with all of them coming via finish in either the first or second rounds.

Tuivasa’s last victory saw him shut down Lewis in the second round with an elbow.

This weekend could provide a big challenge for Tuivasa, as it could see him go four or five rounds in MMA for the first time in his career.

No matter how the fight goes, a win on Saturday is important for Tuivasa, as it would make him one of the biggest names in the division. UFC’s first show in France isn’t just about getting to the country and doing fights – this main event has high stakes and could change how the top of the heavyweight division looks.

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