UFC Paris takeaways -- Ciryl Gane provides a masterclass, Robert Whittaker reminds how dangerous he is at 185

What had been the largest moments at UFC Paris? Jeff Wagenheim, Brett Okamoto and Marc Raimondi supply up their takeaways from a spotlight-packed event in France.

For the foremost eight minutes of Saturday’s UFC foremost event in Paris, you’d possibly have match the Arc de Triomphe inside the residence between Ciryl Gane and Tai Tuivasa. that is the biggest means Gane wished it. For a spherical and a half, he was exhibiting off why he is thought of in all probability the most technical heavyweight striker on the planet. With the Frenchman controlling distance whereas touchdown crisp jabs to the face and kicks to the physique, Tuivasa saved coming forward and throwing enormous punches however might not contact Gane.

Then Tuivasa did discover him with a winging proper-hand midway by way of spherical 2, and Gane fell backward to the canvas, stiffened.

“truthfully, Tai hit me so laborious he knocked me out. He put the lights out,” Gane mentioned by way of an interpreter. “I fell down, however I wished to be a warrior. I acquired up … and that i acquired here again even stronger.”

That he did, as Gane immediately went on the assault, closing distance and throwing every little thing he had. Now Tuivasa was the one on retreat, as a end result of the physique pictures had been visibly taking their toll. The spherical ended with Gane on the offensive and the group at Accor enviornment roaring. The fight was on.

it might not final one other spherical, although. Gane spent spherical three mercilessly attacking Tuivasa’s tender midsection, and whereas the Australian fighter remained dangerous, Gane was not combating from distance. inside the ultimate minute of the spherical, he landed a crushing proper uppercut that put his opponent on wobbly legs, then floored him with a succession of lefts earlier than referee Marc Goddard jumped in to finish it at 4:23.

This was a massively worthwhile Paris debut for the UFC, partly as a end result of two of its prime heavyweights positioned on a stirring efficiency all by way of which each had their moments — although the one combating in his hometown had a lot extra huge moments than the selection.

past that, Gane and Tuivasa confirmed martial arts spirit at its biggest. There was no unhealthy blood. They smiled at every fully different all by way of, which by no means acquired inside the biggest approach of them making an try to knock out the selection. It was a deal with for the followers, who sang loudly by way of the opening spherical and appreciated what they had been witnessing.

And what was that? The Parisian followers had been watching their 32-yr-outdated countryman emphatically getting again on monitor following his solely profession defeat, a 5-spherical dedication in opposition to UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou in January. This victory areas Gane proper again inside the title picture, although it is a crowded picture with Jon Jones having the inside monitor to the champ. The Frenchman’s day will come (as quickly as extra), although, and after watching this stylish efficiency, i am unable to wait till it does.

And if Ngannou, who used to educate in Paris, stays to be in possession of the belt when Gane’s subsequent championship alternative comes, I hope they maintain the title fight inside metropolis of Lights. — Wagenheim


‘They should come again again’: Paris areas UFC on discover with an epic efficiency

PARIS — Benoit Saint Denis wished to pull himself collectively. He was the foremost French-born fighter to stroll out on the UFC’s first card in his residence nation and entered Accor enviornment to a hero’s welcome.

by the purpose Saint-Denis competed, the constructing was full and it was solely the third fight of the night. The followers had been on their toes, chanting his title and treating him like one in all many sport’s largest superstars.

by way of the foremost spherical, as Saint-Denis was slinging leather-based with opponent Gabriel Miranda, a rumble acquired here up from the stands that was borderline scary. It did not discover your self being ominous – it was simply the collective sound of better than 15,405 stomping and clapping in assist of their hometown UFC star.

“It felt a bit like a online sport, the foremost minute of the fight,” Saint-Denis mentioned. “it is enormous. The environment. it is tough in your mind to simply settle for that every these guys are cheering for you. it is important to deal with the [opponent], as a end result of clearly you’d possibly have a job to do. that is what counts.”

Saint-Denis mentioned when Miranda took him down inside the foremost spherical, he snapped out of the daze. simply sixteen seconds into the second spherical, Saint-Denis dropped Miranda and accomplished him with a flurry on the underside – as a end result of the followers right here turned unhinged with pleasure. It was as if Saint-Denis was Conor McGregor, Muhammad Ali and Rocky Balboa all rolled into one, reasonably than a 26-yr-outdated prospect in simply his third UFC fight.

Fares Ziam, William Gomis, Nassourdine Imavov and Ciryl Gane additionally acquired the royal remedy. Ziam mentioned the “vitality” of the group willed him out of an armbar and a foul place when Michal Figlak took his again. the group roared when Gomis escaped a deep triangle from Jarno Errens inside the third spherical and acquired a selection.

after which there was Gane. the group popped enormous all by way of his walkout and the loudest it was all night (as a lot as that time) was the foremost spherical, cheering Gane’s title and singing the French nationwide anthem in unison. When Gane knocked out Tuivasa inside the third spherical, it whipped the followers into an unbelievable frenzy. There was cheering, dancing, singing and leaping round, and a few followers gave the impression of they had been on the verge of tears. The environment was unmatched in MMA, save for some unreal playing cards in ireland and England by way of the years. maybe.

“no particular person on the planet anticipated this from the followers of France,” Gane mentioned in his postfight interview. “however bro, take a look at this. i am so joyful.”

The stands had been about seventy five% full for the foremost fight and loaded with vitality, a stark distinction to Las Vegas UFC reveals which do not start filling up till the foremost card begins. And the one purpose why the group wasn’t completely of their seats for the foremost bout in UFC France historic previous was that many had been nonetheless ready on prolonged traces exterior.

The UFC arrange a mobile UFC retailer to the side of Accor enviornment, adjoining to an limitless “UFC” signal and steps painted with the likenesses of Gane, Francis Ngannou, Georges St-Pierre and French women’s flyweight contender Manon Fiorot.

Berny Tamayo, born and raised in Paris, was shut to these outsized UFC letters earlier than the event, taking pictures and meeting up with buddies. Tamayo, sporting a Valentina Shevchenko fight package (his favourite fighter) and a Nate Diaz hoodie, mentioned he has been a UFC fan for ten years. but, he wasn’t constructive if the promotion would ever maintain an event in his hometown as a end result of the sport was illegal in France till 2020.

“I mentioned, ‘I actually should be right here – it would not matter what, regardless of the associated price,'” Tamayo mentioned when he found about UFC Paris. “it is so essential. For us, it is every little thing.

“we have now to level Dana White that Paris is the place in Europe for UFC reveals.”

simply on a ten-minute stroll to the Accor enviornment by way of the Bercy space, you cross the Nihon Judo dojo and the crew Zeitoun Thai boxing gymnasium. France has prolonged been a scorching spot for judo, karate and Muay Thai. And now it seems primed to be a mannequin new go-to establish for MMA, particularly after Saturday night.

“i do not see one other selection for [the UFC],” Saint-Denis mentioned. “They should come again again and again and again. Like they do London.” — Raimondi


Robert Whittaker is in all probability getting into all probability the biggest fighters on the planet

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Robert Whittaker grabs the win by way of dedication over Marvin Vettori in convincing vogue. (edited)

you already know what? i like my ESPN colleagues, and that i really feel we do some terrific work on this sport at ESPN. however I’ve acquired to take them to job for a minute. You guys should level some respect for Robert Whittaker. In ESPN’s current pound-for-pound rankings, solely two of the six voters have Whittaker contained in the very biggest 10. Going into this fight, I had him at No. 7, the very biggest-ranked non-champion on my itemizing.

i really feel some individuals are sleeping how particular of a fighter Whittaker is. This former champion is 12-2 since transferring as a lot as middleweight, and his solely two losses have come in opposition to a generational expertise in Israel Adesanya. And as quickly as they fought the latest time, two judges gave Whittaker two of 5 rounds in opposition to Adesanya. What he is doing is great. it is not as spectacular as what Adesanya has achieved, nonetheless it deserves recognition and to be valued for what it is.

i like that in his put up-fight speech on Saturday, he maintained that he is on an everyday basis gunning for that No. 1 spot and that he’ll on an everyday basis be “lurking” at 185. there have been some headlines earlier this week a few attainable transfer to mild heavyweight, however I hope that would not happen. Whittaker is world class as a middleweight — and belt or no belt, I recognize the extent of greatness he is appearing at. — Okamoto



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