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UFC Paris predictions: Late ‘Prelims’ undercard preview | Gane vs. Spivac

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is bringing more “Prelims” fights to ESPN+ this weekend (Sat., Sept. 2, 2023) when UFC Paris: “Gane vs. Spivac” storms Accor Arena in Paris, France.’s Patrick Stumberg continues the UFC Paris “Prelims” party with the second (and final) installment of a two-part undercard preview series below.

After going winless (0-2) in bids for Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight gold, Ciryl Gane tries to pick up the pieces in friendly territory this Saturday (Sept. 2, 2023) when he battles rising wrestler, Serghei Spivac. Accor Arena in Paris, France, will also host Rose Namajunas’ Flyweight debut against high-octane contender, Manon Fiorot, and the latest from local talents like Benoit Saint-Denis, William Gomis and Yanis Ghemmouri.

We have three more UFC Paris “Prelims” undercard bouts to examine before all that, though (check out the first batch here), so let’s get cracking ...

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HIGH STAKES LIGHTWEIGHT MATCHUP! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to UFC APEX on Sat., Sept. 23, 2023, with a high stakes 155-pound showdown as No. 6-ranked contender, Rafael Fiziev, takes on No. 7-seeded Mateusz Gamrot. In UFC Vegas 79’s co-main event, No. 12-ranked Featherweight contender, Bryce Mitchell, steps back into the Octagon against No. 13-seeded Dan Ige.

Don’t miss a single second of face-punching action!

145 lbs.: Morgan Charriere vs. Manolo Zecchini

After a long stretch of inconsistent success, Morgan Charriere (18-9-1) now sits at 6-2 in his last eight. He last saw action in July 2023, when he stopped Diego Silva with punches late in the third.

“The Last Pirate” is the shorter of the two by one inch.

Manolo Zecchini (11-3) opened his professional career with five first round finishes before dropping three of his next seven. He enters the cage this Saturday on the heels of two straight wins, including a vicious knee knockout in his last effort.

Nine of his 10 professional finishes have come by knockout.

This boils down to whether Charriere can keep his foot on the gas. “The Last Pirate” has a history of narrow defeats and has been worryingly passive in recent efforts, perhaps as a result of fading down the stretch before. If his head’s on straight, it’s his fight to lose; as fearsome as Zecchini’s hands are, the latter’s tendency to drop his left hand when throwing his right is just begging for Charriere to slam home a fight-ending counter.

Charriere is more experienced, takes a better shot, and has the skillset to exploit Zecchini’s most prominent weakness. So long as he lets his hands go, he’ll floor Zecchini before long.

Prediction: Charriere via first round technical knockout

135 lbs.: Taylor Lapilus vs. Caolan Loughran

Taylor Lapilus (18-3) went 3-1 in the Octagon, notably beating Yuta Sasaki and Leandro Issa, but did not get his contract renewed. He quickly proved the move ill-advised by winning eight of his next nine and claiming titles in both TKO and Ares FC.

This marks his first UFC appearance in seven years.

After an 8-2 amateur run saw him rack up six knockout wins, Team Kaobon London’s Caolan Loughran (8-0) turned professional in 2019. Four fights later, he found his way to Cage Warriors, stopping all four of his opponents and winning the Bantamweight title along the way.

He boasts two submission wins alongside his five professional knockouts.

Both of these men were originally in different matchups — Lapilus was slated to meet Tajik slugger Muin Gafurov, while Loughran had a date with sharpshooter Yanis Ghemmouri. Lapilus figures to have the easier transition, as Loughran is roughly similar to Gafurov, while Lapilus is more skilled, experienced and mobile than Ghemmouri.

That mobility looks to be the deciding factor here. Loughran excels at close range, and while he would have had plenty of opportunities to get inside on the flat-footed Ghemmouri, Lapilus will be much more difficult to hunt down. Loughran needs to hit consistent takedowns and stay in Lapilus’ face, and while he might have the skills and physicality to do so, I have more faith in Lapilus’ ability to chip him down from range.

Prediction: Lapilus via unanimous decision

135 lbs.: Zarah Fairn vs. Jacqueline Cavalcanti

Zarah Fairn (6-5) joined UFC on the heels of a first round knockout of Izabela Badurek. In the nearly six years since that victory, “Infinite” has lost three UFC bouts, withdrawn from two, and seen a third fall apart when Fairn came in 11 pounds over the Bantamweight limit.

She stands one inch taller than Jacqueline Cavalcanti (5-1) at 5’8.”

Cavalcanti’s first professional defeat came in her third professional fight, a split decision loss to Martina Jindrova in Professional Fighters League (PFL). She now enters the Octagon in the midst of a three-fight win streak that most recently saw her beat Melissa Croden for Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA) gold.

She steps in for the injured Hailey Cowan on two weeks’ notice.

It’s hard to see this going well for Fairn either before or during the fight. This woman once weighed in at 147 pounds for a bout originally booked at 135 and got out-struck by Josiane Nunes, who only knows how to throw an overhand left. Cavalcanti is by far the sharper striker and should have little issue piecing up Fairn for 15 minutes.

Unless the short notice kills Cavalcanti’s gas tank, there’s not much Fairn can do to stop her from piling up one-two combinations and low kicks as well. In the end, Cavalcanti cruises to victory in her UFC debut.

Prediction: Cavalcanti via unanimous decision

There are some interesting new talents on the schedule and several compelling matchups. In short, UFC Paris is not a bad way to spend an afternoon. See you Saturday, Maniacs.

Current Prediction Record for 2023: 121-78-1 (2 NC)

Remember that 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 (also on ESPN+) at 3 p.m. ET.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC Paris: “Gane vs. Spivac” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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