Last night (Sat., Sept. 3, 2022), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) ventured to Accor Arena in Paris, France for UFC Paris. A step above the average UFC Apex event, UFC Paris featured high-profile clashes at Heavyweight and Middleweight that had major divisional implications. Plus, the event had a nice infusion of local talent, and the promotion breaking ground in France made for an extra layer of fun.
Let’s take a look at the best performances and techniques:
Gane Lives Up To The Hype
Ciryl Gane’s main event knockout win was the perfect ending to UFC Paris.
Both Gane and Tai Tuivasa did well to showcase their talents. On the losing end, Tuivasa still proved himself a cut above the average brawler. Tuivasa actually did fairly well in the first two rounds in terms of kicking with Gane, landing a handful of his own chopping low kicks that surely didn’t feel good. He also managed to close distance and land an absolute bomb of a right, handing Gane the first knockdown of his career.
Oh, and his ability to fire back while stunned is incredible. The man is a dog.
No amount of gameness could overcome Gane’s technical and physical advantages, however. Gane’s jab was just remarkably quick last night, and Tuivasa didn’t like it one bit. Gane’s low kicks were doing a reasonable amount of damage, but the second he switched his target to the mid-section, everything changed. Tuivasa’s toughness just didn’t matter in the face of his liver shutting down, and he was left a sitting duck by all the body work.
It’s not time for a second title shot just yet, but Gane is an incredible fighter who is going to stick around the elite ranks for a long time to come.
Whittaker Retains His Unofficial Title
The gulf between Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker appears small after the second fight. Based on Whittaker’s performances against Jared Cannonier and now Marvin Vettori, however, the gulf between Whittaker and the rest of the division is massive!
All the greatest hits of the Whittaker playbook were in effect. He kicked Vettori straight in the face, what, four times? Vettori’s chin is genuinely approaching prime Dan Henderson levels of legend — the man eats kill shots for breakfast. He did a whole lot of that last night, as Whittaker kept teeing off with well-timed overhands.
Smart as ever, Whittaker also punished the body and legs, and he even worked in a late takedown. Champion or not, the Aussie remains one of the sport’s finest fighters.
145-Pound Wood Proves Himself
Beating up Charles Rosa is a good sign, but it doesn’t mean much at the elite Featherweight level. Nathaniel Wood proved a whole lot more against Charles Jourdain, employing his game plan brilliantly to stay one step ahead of the dangerous finisher for 15 full minutes.
Wood’s game is one of technique and composure. He closed distance into the pocket early, which — in MMA — is often the realm of chaos. Instead, Wood kept his defense tight and head moving, firing combinations of punches to the head and body. Between those blows, Wood mixed in chopping calf kicks and sneaky trips, constantly keeping Jourdain uncertain as to what was coming next.
Jourdain didn’t have a bad performance. He fought hard and landed some good blows. He was just a step behind Wood and needed a huge connection to change his fortune, but “The Prospect” never allowed that to happen.
Abusupiyan Magomedov’s UFC debut couldn’t have gone better. Dustin Stoltzfus doesn’t have the best UFC record, but he’s a solid fighter, and Magomedov melted him inside of 20 seconds with a nasty front kick. “Abus” didn’t fully live up to expectations in PFL, but he still was highly successful there. At 32 years of age, it’s time to move the German quickly up the ladder and see if he’s a potential contender.
Benoit The Banger
Benoit Saint-Denis made his debut on short-notice up a weight class against Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos, and he got (understandably) smashed. A lot of times, fighters brought in to lose do just that then wash out — remember Kris Moutinho, for example?
Saint-Denis is not among that number. He looked good in rebounding against Niklas Stolze, but last night’s performance was on another level. He showed Gabriel Miranda absolutely zero respect, walking through the Brazilian’s offense to drop absolute hammers on his jaw. A majority of Saint-Denis’ wins come via submission, but he beat the hell out of Miranda on the feet en route to the second-round stoppage, scoring several knockdowns in the process.
Saint-Denis’ rough debut proved his toughness, but his latter two fights have shown real skill and talent. The 26-year-old French athlete is definitely one to watch!
- Roman Kopylov defeats Alessio di Chirico via third-round knockout: In general, pace and volume have been limiting factors in Kopylov’s previous UFC bouts. When he slowed in the second frame after a strong opening round, that pattern seemed to be continuing. Instead, Kopylov bucked the trend, catch a second wind in the third and coming out hot. He caught di Chirico off-guard and swarmed, producing an unexpected walk-off knockout.
- Cristian Quinonez defeats Khalid Taha via first-round knockout: Quinonez scored a nice win in his UFC debut. Taha isn’t a world-beater, but he’s a solid test for a newcomer. Quinonez didn’t seem terribly bothered by his opponent’s big swings, utilizing his jab to find the timing. Then, he timed his opponent’s lunge perfectly with a counter right hand, flattening Taha and scoring the early finish.
- Stephanie Egger defeats Ailin Perez via second-round rear naked choke: When one fighter is clearly more skilled in one area, yet the other athlete keeps pushing the fight into that realm, it’s always confusing. Such was the case last night, as Perez repeatedly forced her way into the clinch despite getting dominated from there by the Judo expert. Perez seemed to have a kickboxing edge, but all the clinch work saw her grounded time and time again, eventually resulting in the strangle.
For complete UFC Paris: “Gane vs. Tuivasa” results and play-by-play, click HERE!