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Here’s everything that happened at UFC Paris last night | Gane vs. Spivac

UFC Fight Night: Saint Denis v Moises Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

It may not have been the most jam-packed international fight card of the year, but UFC Paris delivered memorable action throughout yesterday afternoon (Sat., Sept. 2, 2023) live on ESPN+ from inside Accor Arena in Paris, France.

This was the second stopover for UFC in Paris after debuting in the “City of Love” back in September 2022. That show was headlined by heavyweight contender Ciryl Gane — who provided an impressive knockout finish over Tai Tuivasa — so UFC went back to the well for its second visit to Paris. Gane headlined Saturday’s event against Serghei Spivac and turned in a masterclass performance that included a second-round TKO (highlights HERE).

Fortunately, Gane’s main event victory wasn’t the only takeaway from a UFC Paris card holding down a rather lackluster combat weekend. Let’s check out some other key moments from UFC Paris below:

Gane Still Has Much To Prove

After coming off a quick submission loss to Jon Jones at UFC 285 this past March Gane needed to prove an elevated level of takedown defense at UFC Paris. Spivac is not some sort of world beater when it comes to wrestling, but he has the highest takedown accuracy in UFC heavyweight history and has really relied on his grappling in recent memory. It was up to Gane to show up and keep the fight standing.

Luckily for “Bon Gamin,” his back didn’t hit the canvas once. But that’s because Spivac only attempted one takedown the entire time. It came along the cage so Gane didn’t have to showcase his sprawling technique in open space. Gane scrambled to defend and kept himself standing, but fight fans needed to see more.

At this point, Gane still has much to prove in his MMA career. Not only when it comes to his takedown defense, but also his ability to compete deep into fights and to win when his striking isn’t working. He has only been in the sport for five years so he’s got plenty of time to round out his game and fight his way back to another UFC title shot.

Saint-Denis Is The Real Deal

If there was any doubt that Benoit Saint-Denis is a future top 10 contender at 155 pounds the former Special Forces member put those reservations to rest with his performance at UFC Paris.

As expected, Saint-Denis fought like a bull in a china shop in his main card scrap against veteran contender Thiago Moises. It was Saint-Denis’ toughest and most experienced opponent to date, but he still came out firing like he always does. Saint-Denis maintained a sickening pace for Moises to match and peppered him with punches, kicks, and takedown attempts at every turn. Moises was game for the most part as he willingly exchanged heavy leather in close quarters.

But the fight ended up steering back in the favor of Saint-Denis based on sheer aggression, determination, and persistence. Saint-Denis’ motor was working on all cylinders and it allowed him to track Moises down, batter him along the cage late into the second round, and find the TKO finish with seconds on the clock.

While this was a great showing for Saint-Denis in front of his home crowd his performance was more important to his UFC lightweight stock. The French bruiser seems to possess all the necessary ingredients to become a bona fide contender at 155 pounds and it looks like UFC Paris was his ultimate coming out party.

Not Every Irish Fighter Is Conor McGregor

There’s this weird expectation in MMA that any fighter coming out of Ireland has the chance to become the next Conor McGregor. It’s happening right now to undefeated welterweight contender Ian Garry and it’s something that followed Caolan Loughran into his Octagon debut this Saturday at UFC Paris.

The only problem is that McGregor is a once-in-a-lifetime superstar who will likely never be replicated again. So when a brash newcomer like Loughran steps into the limelight and starts flipping off an arena full of angry French fans before he ever throws a punch inside of the Octagon we need to take it with a grain of salt.

Despite his pre-fight antics and the overall hype surrounding Loughran, the Irish prospect essentially flopped in his first UFC appearance. His vaunted wrestling, high-pace motor, and natural strength were put in check by French opponent, Taylor Lapilus, who leaned on his overall experience, crisp jab, and takedown defense to earn a unanimous decision win.

Loughran certainly has time to turn things around and make a solid run in UFC, but it’s time to stop trying to crown the next McGregor every time one of these Irish fighters get a little hype.

French Fans Know How To Do It

It may have taken a long time for UFC to come to France, but the native combat fans sure know how to make up for loss time.

From the opening “Prelims” bout to Gane’s main event finish, the French fans poured in one of the most impressive and entertaining efforts to cheer on their fighters that maybe we’ve ever seen. Their voices filled the Accor Arena from top to bottom. The venue was so loud that fans watching at home had a hard time hearing the walkout music and cageside commentary.

Luckily, a collection of French fighters pulled through to deliver the goods. It gave the people of Paris even more to cheer about as they quickly ascend the rankings for most passionate fans in MMA.

For complete UFC Paris results, coverage, and highlights click HERE

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