UFC Fight Night Report: Ciryl Gane defeats Jairzinho Rozenstruik by decision
On Saturday night, the UFC held their final Fight Night event of the month at the Apex Facility in Las Vegas, Nevada. Originally, this card was set to be headlined by a fight between Dominick Reyes and Jiří Procházka, but Reyes was forced to withdraw due to an injury, and that fight was rescheduled for May 1st. In its place, a heavyweight matchup between Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Ciryl Gane, which was originally scheduled for three rounds on March 13th, was moved into the five-round main event position for this card. Both Rozenstruik and Gane were coming into this fight following second-round stoppage wins over Junior dos Santos, and this was perhaps the most sensible fight to make to see which of these fighters would move forward into title contention at heavyweight. In the co-main event, Nikita Krylov faced Magomed Ankalaev.
This card was hit hard by cancellations throughout the week. A rematch between Angela Hill and Ashley Yoder was canceled after one of Yoder’s cornermen tested positive for the virus. Alonzo Menifield was set to face William Knight, but Menifield tested positive for COVID-19 and the fight was scrapped. Alex Oliveira was originally supposed to face Randy Brown on this card, but Brown pulled out of the fight earlier in the week and was replaced by Ramazan Kuramagomedov, who then fell ill the day before the event, and the fight was removed from the card. Macy Chiasson was expected to fight Marion Reneau, but Chiasson was forced to withdraw due to an injury, and the bout was rescheduled for March 20th.
Jon Anik provided commentary for this card alongside Paul Felder and Michael Bisping. The lone Performance of the Night bonus on the card was awarded to Ronnie Lawrence, and Fight of the Night bonuses went out to Jimmie Rivera and Pedro Munhoz.
*Dustin Jacoby def. Maxim Grishin by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
*Ronnie Lawrence def. Vince Cachero by TKO at 2:38 of Round 3
*Alexis Davis def. Sabina Mazo by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
*Thiago Moises def. Alexander Hernandez by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
*Alex Caceres def. Kevin Croom by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-27)
*Pedro Munhoz def. Jimmie Rivera by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
*Montana De La Rosa vs. Mayra Bueno Silva resulted in a majority draw (28-28, 28-28, 28-27)
*Magomed Ankalaev def. Nikita Krylov by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
*Ciryl Gane def. Jairzinho Rozenstruik by unanimous decision (50-45 all)
MAXIM GRISHIN (31-8-2, 210.5) VS DUSTIN JACOBY (13-5, 204.5) – LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT
Grishin missed weight by 4.5lbs and was fined 30% of his purse.
The fighters exchanged heavy low kicks to begin the fight. Jacoby defended a takedown attempt from Grishin early in the round but was dropped by a jab moments later. Grishin followed him to the ground and took his back, but Jacoby did a good job of getting himself out of danger and back to his feet quickly. Jacoby partially connected with a head kick, but Grishin walked right through it and landed a spinning elbow. Grishin dropped Jacoby once more near the end of the round with a pair of hooks and landed some solid ground and pound before the round ended. 10-8 Grishin.
Somebody’s phone was ringing very loudly in the UFC Apex audience at the beginning of the second round. Jacoby continued to attack Grishin’s lead leg, and he mixed in some solid jabs to the body throughout the round as well. Jacoby tagged Grishin with a right hand that seemed to hurt him, and Jacoby defended a takedown attempt moments later. This was a much better round from Jacoby, and I thought he took this round.
Grishin was fighting aggressively to begin the third round, but Jacoby managed to avoid Grishin’s bigger shots. Grishin tagged Jacoby with a left hand, and Jacoby responded with a strong jab. Jacoby checked a leg kick from Grishin that caused Grishin to stumble backward, and Jacoby proceeded to close the distance with a flying knee. He pressed Grishin against the cage momentarily, but they soon broke apart. This round was razor close, but I ultimately gave the nod to Grishin, and I scored the fight 29-27 in his favor.
WINNER: Dustin Jacoby by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
I was surprised that not a single judge saw a 10-8 first round for Grishin, but I understood the decision. The last two rounds were very close, and Jacoby deserves credit for surviving that first round and then coming back to win the next two on the scorecards against an opponent who missed weight dramatically. Jacoby is now 2-0 in the UFC.
VINCE CACHERO (7-3, 135.5) VS RONNIE LAWRENCE (6-1, 135.5) – BANTAMWEIGHT
Cachero countered a spinning back kick with a hook early in the first. Lawrence was successful with his first takedown attempt of the night, and he managed to rack up about a minute of control tie before Cachero scrambled to his feet. Lawrence connected with a brutal leg kick that Cachero clearly felt. Cachero defended Lawrence’s next takedown attempt but ate some knees to the body for his trouble. Cachero landed a hard right hand, but Lawrence immediately brought him back to the ground. Lawrence ended the round in top position. 10-9 Lawrence.
Lawrence threw several kicks and body shots to begin the second round, and Cachero began to press forward to reverse the pressure. Unfortunately for him, Lawrence was able to get Cachero back to the ground with a double leg, and he began to work from Cachero’s guard. Four times, Cachero made it back to his feet, but four times, he was taken right back down. 20-18 Lawrence.
Lawrence continued to ragdoll Cachero in the third round. We were informed that Lawrence had recorded eight takedowns throughout this fight, and this time, he had no intention of letting Cachero back to his feet, raining down countless unanswered ground and pound shots. The referee (Jerin Valel) gave Cachero a lot of time to get out of the position, but eventually, he decided to stop the fight.
WINNER: Ronnie Lawrence by TKO at 2:38 of Round 3
I thought the stoppage was pretty late in this one. Cachero ate a lot of unnecessary strikes before the fight was stopped. Regardless, this was a very impressive performance from Ronnie Lawrence, who just dominated this fight on the ground. This was his UFC debut, and he may very well be a prospect to keep an eye on in the future.
ALEXIS DAVIS (19-10, 135) VS SABINA MAZO (9-1, 135.5) – BANTAMWEIGHT
Mazo was lighting Davis up on the feet in the opening minute, but Davis quickly brought the fight to the ground after catching a kick and began to work from side control. Davis worked her way to Mazo’s back, and she began to search for the rear-naked choke. She didn’t find the choke, but she racked up nearly four minutes of control time throughout the round, and I thought that was more than enough to take the opening round.
Davis didn’t bring the fight back to the ground immediately in the second round, instead choosing to keep the fight on the fight. She was really beating up the lead leg of Mazo, and the striking discrepancy did not seem to be as large as it was in the opening minute of the fight. Mazo’s boxing was still strong throughout the round, I didn’t think it outweighed the impact of Davis’s leg kicks, and Davis ended the round with another takedown. 20-18 Davis.
Davis quickly racked up her third takedown of the fight to begin the third round. She worked her way to Mazo’s back, but Mazo managed to bring Davis back to her guard. Mazo attempted an armbar at one point, but Davis saw it coming, and worked her way back to her previous position, searching for the choke from Mazo’s back. Once again, Mazo defended herself well enough to avoid the choke, but couldn’t find her way out of the position, and I scored the fight 30-27 for Davis.
WINNER: Alexis Davis by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
Davis controlled the vast majority of this fight on the ground but held her own on the feet in the second round as well. Her kicks were the difference-maker on the feet, and whenever Mazo seemed to get comfortable, Davis took her down. This was Davis’s first win since 2017, and this win broke a three-fight losing streak for her. She is now 7-5 in the UFC.
ALEXANDER HERNANDEZ (12-3, 156) VS THIAGO MOISES (14-4, 155.5) – LIGHTWEIGHT
Hernandez was the aggressor early in this one, but Moises kept him at bay with solid calf kicks. Hernandez was landing some strong jabs to the body in turn, and both fighters occasionally went up high for a head kicks, and although neither was successful, it kept either of them from getting overly aggressive. They continued to exchange kicks to the body and legs, and neither man went for a takedown throughout the round. Moises caught Hernandez with a strong right hand to end the round. 10-9 Moises on my scorecard.
The action continued to be fairly even in the second round. Moises counterstriking was on point throughout this fight, and he was punishing Hernandez whenever he over-committed. Hernandez was throwing some solid leg kicks, but I thought Moises was landing the bigger shots whenever they exchanged in the pocket. Hernandez avoided a late flurry from Moises, although Moises did manage to partially land a head kick before time expired in the round. 20-18 Moises.
Moises landed a strong counter right hand, and another head kick to being the third round. He followed it up with a left hook, but Hernandez caught him with a head kick of his own when it looked like Moises was trying to bring the fight to the ground. Moises landed that counter right hand a few more times throughout the round, but it wasn’t until the final minute where things really got going. Moises started trash-talking, dropping his hands, marching forward, and while he didn’t land anything game-changing, it was a good look to end the fight. 30-27 Moises.
WINNER: Thiago Moises by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Hernandez and his corner seemed shocked by the decision, and while it was a close fight, it also had a clear winner. This wasn’t always an action-packed, fast-paced fight, but these guys were throwing with heat, so the tension was always there, and I thought this was ultimately a pretty entertaining fight. I thought this was probably the best Moises has looked yet in the UFC, and he is inching forward, towards ranked competition. Moises is now 4-2 in the UFC.
ALEX CACERES (17-12, 1 NC, 146) VS KEVIN CROOM (21-12, 1 NC 145.5) – FEATHERWEIGHT
Caceres opened up with a pair of kicks to the body, and Croom responded by bringing Caceres against the cage. It didn’t take Caceres long to separate, and he caught Croom with some solid shots as Croom attempted to close the distance once more. Caceres spent the next couple of minutes defending takedown attempts against the cage, but as a result, Croom was able to rack up a decent amount of control time against the cage. Eventually, Croom just tried to drag Caceres to the ground, but Caceres ended up on top, and he landed some solid ground and pound before Croom got back to his feet. Caceres defended another takedown before the round ended, and I thought he took this opening round.
Croom immediately shot for another takedown, but once again, Caceres defended the attempt. Caceres landed a short right hook and defended another takedown. Fortune finally turned in Croom’s favor, however, as he was finally successful in bringing this fight to the ground, and he began to work from the guard of Caceres. Caceres threw up a triangle choke, and he managed to lock it in quickly. Things looked bad for Croom, but Caceres abandoned the attempt (for reasons beyond me) and made it back to his feet. This was actually a tough round to score, but considering the only real moment of significance was Caceres’s triangle attempt, I gave him the round. 20-18 Caceres.
Croom was really getting lit up on the feet in the third round. He looked exhausted, and every time Caceres landed, it looked like it hurt. Despite his exhaustion, Croom was still managing to close the distance, attempt takedowns, and keep Caceres from getting too comfortable. Caceres finally went for a takedown of his own, but he wasn’t able to do much with it, and they soon returned to the feet, as he continued to showcase his takedown defense. Caceres racked up another takedown later in the round and locked in a body triangle from Croom’s back. He tried to lock in a rear-naked choke but was unsuccessful, and this one went the distance. 30-27 Caceres.
WINNER: Alex Caceres by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-27)
Honestly, this wasn’t a great fight. Croom was very tired by the end of the first, and Caceres was just unable to create the separation he needed to keep the fight in striking range. Nonetheless, Caceres has now won four fights in a row, which ties the longest win streak of his professional career. Caceres asked for a ranked fighter in his post-fight interview. Edson Barboza and Bryce Mitchell come to mind as sensible matchups, if indeed he gets a ranked opponent next.
PEDRO MUNHOZ (18-5, 1 NC, 135.5) VS JIMMIE RIVERA (23-4, 135.5) – BANTAMWEIGHT
This was a rematch of a fight from November of 2015. Rivera won their first fight by split decision.
Munhoz immediately threw several leg kicks, and they traded some strong hooks in the pocket. Munhoz tagged Rivera with a strong left hook, but it didn’t phase Rivera, and he swung a heavy hook of his own that evened the score. Both of these guys were swinging hard in this opening round, and it felt like it was only a matter of time before someone went down. The leg kicks were adding up for both men, and Rivera started to mix in his combinations to the body as well. Munoz’s next leg kick dropped Rivera momentarily, and it was hard to imagine Rivera fighting on that leg for another two rounds. I scored the first round 10-9 for Munhoz.
Rivera began the second round with a straight right hand that he followed up with a takedown, but Munhoz threatened a heel hook and made his way back to his feet. They continued to trade leg kicks, but it was clear that Rivera’s lead leg had taken the brunt of the damage. Still, Rivera was far from out of this fight, as he landed strong combinations that kept Munhoz from getting too comfortable with his leg kicks. Bisping was jokingly suggesting banning calf kicks by the end of the round. 20-18 Munhoz.
Rivera came out swinging to begin the final round. Munhoz went for another leg kick and caught Rivera in the cup. The fight was paused momentarily, but Rivera got back out there quickly, and he landed an uppercut when the action resumed. Unfortunately, Munhoz landed low yet again, but once again, Rivera took almost no time to recover. Munhoz connected with another leg kick, and Rivera looked like he could hardly walk on that leg, but he continued to move forward and throw heavy hands. Rivera landed a heavy left hand late in the round and gave everything he had left in search of the finish, but he couldn’t get it, and this one somehow went the distance. 30-27 Munhoz.
WINNER: Pedro Munhoz by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
They compared the swelling on their respective legs after the decision was read. This was a fantastic fight, and this was a great win on the resume of Pedro Munhoz. I don’t think anyone would complain about the prospect of a trilogy fight between these two down the road, but there is no shortage of exciting fights for Munhoz or Rivera in the talent stacked UFC bantamweight division. Munhoz called out T.J. Dillashaw in his post-fight interview.
MONTANA DE LA ROSA (11-6, 125) VS MAYRA BUENO SILVA (7-1, 125.5) – FLYWEIGHT
De La Rosa was landing some nice combinations early but pursued the takedown after eating a head kick. Bueno Silva defended the attempt, but was unable to create separation, or get a takedown of her own, and thus found herself with her back to the cage for some time. Eventually, Bueno Silva blatantly grabbed the cage to stop a takedown attempt, and she lost a point as a result. When the action resumed, De La Rosa continued to get the better of their striking exchanges, and she brought the fight right back to the cage. Bueno Silva connected with a hard knee to the head, and De La Rosa backed off momentarily as a result. 10-9 De La Rosa, and 10-8 with the point deduction.
Bueno Silva came out firing with heavy shots to begin the second. De La Rosa went for a takedown, but Bueno Silva defended it and got a takedown of her own. Michael Bisping stated that if De La Rosa takes another hard shot, she might be “De La Toast-a”. De La Rosa did make it back to her feet; however, she ate a hard knee to the face from the Thai clinch. De La Rosa was successful on her next takedown attempt, and she was looking for an arm triangle. De La Rosa wasn’t able to lock it in, but she still ended the round in a good position. 20-17 De La Rosa.
Bueno Silva threw a pair of head kicks to begin the third round. De La Rosa worked her way through Bueno Silva’s attack, and she pursued a takedown against the cage once more. De La Rosa was bleeding heavily from her nose, and Bueno Silva tagged her with a hard combination after defending the takedown attempt. Still, De La Rosa stuck with the takedown attempt and gave Bueno Silva no room to create her own offense. She successfully took the fight to the ground with thirty seconds remaining and ended the fight in this position. 29-27 De La Rosa.
Result: Majority Draw (28-28, 28-28, 28-27)
Scores were all over the place for this one online, and I understood why. Bueno Silva’s offense was significantly more effective, but De La Rosa did enough to keep the fight competitive with her grappling, and even won the fight on my scorecard. The point deduction further complicates things, and thus this fight resulted in a draw. I thought it was a fairly entertaining fight, although I wouldn’t have complained if we got a finish at this point on the card. Following the result of this fight, De La Rosa is now 4-2-1 in the UFC, and Bueno Silva is now 2-1-1 in the promotion.
NIKITA KRYLOV (27-7, 205.5) VS MAGOMED ANKALAEV (14-1, 205.5) – LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT
Krylov closed the distance and tried to drag Ankalaev to the ground to begin the fight, and despite a fence grab from Ankalaev, Krylov was successful. Ankalaev picked himself up, and they separated with half the round remaining. They exchanged right hooks, and Krylov connected with a head kick. Krylov landed a right hand, and Ankalaev responded with a body kick. Krylov defended a takedown to end the round. 10-9 Krylov.
Both men landed right hooks early in the second round. Ankalaev was having more success with his offense early in this round, and he connected with a powerful knee up the middle. Ankalaev was continuously finding a home for his counter right hook, and he managed to take Krylov down with two minutes remaining in the round. Ankalaev ended the round in this position. 19-19, heading into the final round.
Ankalaev began the third round with a teep kick to the leg. He proceeded to defend a takedown attempt from Krylov, and he went for one of his own against the cage. Krylov defended it well, but Ankalaev was ultimately successful, dragging Krylov to the ground. Ankalaev controlled Krylov against the cage for the remainder of the fight, and he took this final round. 29-28 Ankalaev.
WINNER: Magomed Ankalaev by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
I had pretty high expectations going into this fight, and I’m afraid I was left somewhat disappointed. This was a very close fight, that came down to the final round, but Ankalaev had a bit more left in the tank, controlled the grappling, and ultimately get his hand raised. He is now on a six-fight win streak, since his lone loss to Paul Craig. He will be ranked in the top ten of the light heavyweight division when the rankings are updated, and while this wasn’t his most impressive performance, he remains perhaps the top prospect at 205lbs.
JAIRZINHO ROZENSTRUIK (11-1, 254.5) VS CIRYL GANE (7-0, 247) – HEAVYWEIGHT
Gane began the fight with a solid jab. Rozenstruik flurried forward with a combination about three minutes into the round, but it didn’t phase Gane much. Gane started to pick up the activity late in the round, and he shot in for a takedown that Rozenstruik defended. Gane pressed him against the cage for about a minute, and then he ended the round with a successful takedown. 10-9 Gane.
The feeling-out process continued into the second round. Both men landed powerful low kicks. Unfortunately, three minutes into the round, the action had yet to pick up. Gane recorded another takedown, and he tried to climb Rozenstruik’s back in search of the rear-naked choke, but Rozenstruik made his way back to his feet and shook him off quickly. Gane was the more active fighter, and thus he took this round as well.
Gane landed another strong jab. He tried to mix it up to the body, but Rozenstruik threw some threatening hooks to discourage that. Rozenstruik landed a right hand as he briefly moved forward, but neither man committed too much in the minutes following. Herb Dean warned both fighters that they needed to pick it up, although I have no idea how he would penalize them for both being non-committal. Gane did land a nice combination late in the round, and Rozenstruik complained about an alleged eye poke. 30-27 Gane. This was not a good fight.
Herb Dean gave Ciryl Gane a stern warning for his outstretched fingers to begin the fourth round. Unsurprisingly, the fight continued at a very slow pace, as Rozenstruik refused to move forward, and every now and then Gane threw out his jab of some leg kicks to ensure he was still up on the scorecards. Gane eventually committed to a heavy knee to the body, but Herb Dean thought it landed low, and the fight was paused momentarily. Gane landed a left hand when the action resumed, perhaps the best shot of the fight to that point. 40-36 Gane.
Gane was a bit busier to begin the final round, really letting his jab go. Gane closed the distance and went for a takedown, but Rozenstruik defended the attempt. Rozenstruik caught Gane with a counter hook as he worked his way inside, and he proceeded to defend Gane’s following takedown attempt. Gane held Rozenstruik against the cage until the end of the round, and mercifully, the fight was over. 50-45 Gane.
WINNER: Ciryl Gane by unanimous decision (50-45 all)
I thought this was one of the worst five-round fights in UFC history. Gane was (understandably) content to slowly pick Rozenstruik apart from the outside, and Rozenstruik just never turned it on to take the fight to Gane. Regardless, Gane is now 8-0 professionally, and 5-0 in the UFC. This was a dominant shutout victory against a top-ranked opponent, and he has officially transitioned to a genuine contender at heavyweight. While this certainly wasn’t an entertaining fight, it remains impressive to watch Gane’s work, as his movement, fluidly and overall well-roundedness make him quite an outlier at heavyweight. I would like to see him face Derrick Lewis or Alexander Volkov next, and I do think one of those fights is likely what we’ll see from him next.