Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight hitters Ciryl Gane and Tai Tuivasa will clash TODAY (Sat., Sept. 3, 2022) at UFC Paris inside Accor Arena in Paris, France.
Gane rose to the rank of interim champion with tremendous quickness, capturing that title just three years into his professional career. Though he failed to unify opposite Francis Ngannou, “Bon Gamin” still managed to prove himself one of the most talented men in the division’s history, and his future still appears quite bright. At 29 years of age, Tuivasa seems primed for a long run atop the division himself. The Australian brawler cannot match the physical gifts or technical talents of his opponent, but “Bam Bam” is a proven slugger with major confidence in his knockout power. He’s on a major win streak for a reason, and he’s earned this step up in competition.
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:
Key Wins: Derrick Lewis (UFC 265), Jairzino Rozenstruik (UFC Vegas 20), Junior dos Santos (UFC 256), Tanner Boser (UFC Fight Night 165), Raphael Pessoa (UFC Fight Night 156)
Key Losses: Francis Ngannou (UFC 270)
Keys To Victory: Gane is a rarity at Heavyweight. A high-volume kickboxer who is quite careful in his range manipulation, Gane seeks to break down opponents with powerful kicks before stepping in and sealing the deal with big swings or clinch elbows.
Against Tuivasa, Gane has to be a bit careful. The pair are equally wild in the pocket, but unlike many previous Gane opponents, Tuivasa may be able to match him well inside the clinch — both men are brutally effective with their elbows. Realistically, that leaves the kicking range as Gane’s safest avenue to victory, and it’s also the distance where his edge in height and reach will be most useful.
Gane’s game really flows once his low kicks start connecting. Provided he’s feinting actively and mixing up his kick targets, it’s hard to see Tuivasa negating his speed all that effectively without rushing forward. When the Aussie does charge, Gane’s offensive takedowns are pretty solid, and “Bam Bam” hasn’t shown much on the canvas.
If the finish doesn’t materialize on the canvas, kicks and takedowns often make for a frustratingly effective gameplan.
Key Wins: Derrick Lewis (UFC 271), Augusto Sakai (UFC 269), Greg Hardy (UFC 264), Andrei Arlovski (UFC 225), Stefan Struve (UFC 254)
Key Losses: Junior dos Santos (UFC Fight Night 142), Blagoy Ivanov (UFC 238), Sergei Spivac (UFC 243)
Keys to Victory: Tuivasa doesn’t pretend to be more than a brawler, but that doesn’t mean he’s an average Heavyweight. Tuivasa has smarted setups and more dangerous weapons than most big bangers, and he’s also really gained a deadly level of confidence in exchanges where s—t is actively hitting the fan.
From a technical striking stand point, I actually don’t hate how Tuivasa matches up with Gane. As mentioned above, the range striking will be difficult, but at least Tuivasa has heavy low kicks of his own that he can use to at least compete with Gane. Hell, if he checks and returns a couple low kicks, he could really slow down Gane!
Tuivasa has big ol’ legs, so his kicks pretty much immediately have consequences.
Otherwise, combinations and body shots to close the distance could be hugely useful for Tuivasa. Ngannou did a decent job of checking kicks and targeting the body, but he often fell off-balance afterward, allowing Gane to circle away. If Tuivasa can extend his combination after a cross downstairs, he stands a fair shot at catching Gane circling. Alternatively, Tuivasa could purposefully crash into the clinch, where he’s also quite good at creating major connections.
The winner is in prime Heavyweight position.
It’s not yet official, but Stipe Miocic vs. Jon Jones seems likely for an interim UFC Heavyweight title before the end of the year. Once that happens, a mega fight vs. Francis Ngannou is lined up if “The Predator” remains on the roster. The winner of this fight is in a good position for a title shot once all that shakes out, or if Ngannou does indeed abandon the promotion, the Miocic vs. Jones winner would have an undisputed title and be in need of a challenger.
Worst case, perhaps a match up versus Curtis Blaydes is next for the victor?
As for the defeated man, both men are plenty young for Heavyweight and have many years of high-level competition ahead of them. They’re young in the sport, and Heavyweight tends to reward experience above all else, so this could be a rare case where defeat really is a learning lesson.
At UFC Paris, Ciryl Gane and Tai Tuivasa will go to war in the main event. Which man will earn the victory?
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Paris fight card right here, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 12 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance on ESPN+ at 3 p.m. ET.
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