UFC Paris Results: Ciryl Gane stops Sergey Spivac in the second round, Fiorot defeats Namajunas
On Saturday afternoon, the UFC held a Fight Night event from the Accor Arena in Paris, France. This marked the UFC’s second card in France, and once again, former UFC Interim Heavyweight Champion, Ciryl Gane, headlined the event, this time facing the seventh-ranked Sergey Spivac. Gane last fought Jon Jones for the then-vacant UFC Heavyweight Championship, a fight in which Jones quickly won after taking Gane down and submitting him. Gane’s performance against Jones, coupled with his loss to Francis Ngannou (in which he was outwrestled by the injured striker), raised doubts as to whether Gane can deal with the top wrestlers at heavyweight, and whether this matchup against Spivac would provide answers to that question, given that Spivac is one of the divisions strongest wrestlers. While this was certainly an important fight for Gane to win in order to remain in title contention, this was also Spivac’s biggest fight to date, as a win over Ciryl Gane would move him into the division’s top five, and turn him into a legitimate title contender. In the co-main event, former UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion, Rose Namajunas, made her flyweight debut, facing Manon Fiorot, who had won ten consecutive fights leading into this one.
John Gooden provided commentary for this card alongside Paul Felder and Michael Bisping. Performance of the Night bonuses were awarded to Morgan Charriere and Ciryl Gane. Fight of the Night bonuses went out to Thiago Moises and Benoit Saint-Denis. The announced attendance for the card was 15,610, with a gate of $4M.
- Jacqueline Cavalcanti def. Zarah Fairn by unanimous decision (30-27 all)
- Farid Basharat def. Kleydson Rodrigues by arm triangle at 4:15 of Round 1
- Nora Cornolle def. Joselyn Edwards by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Ange Loosa def. Rys McKee by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
- Taylor Lapilus def. Caolan Loughran by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
- Morgan Charriere def. Manolo Zecchini by TKO at 3:51 of Round 1
- William Gomis def. Yanis Ghemmouri by TKO at 2:20 of Round 3
- Volkan Oezdemir def. Bogdan Guskov by rear naked choke at 3:46 of Round 1
- Benoit Saint Denis def. Thiago Moises by TKO at 4:44 of Round 2
- Manon Fiorot def. Rose Namajunas by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
- Ciryl Gane def. Sergey Spivac by TKO at 3:44 of Round 2
ZARAH FAIRN (6-5, 140) VS JACQUELINE CAVALCANTI (5-1, 139) – CATCHWEIGHT
Fairn pressed forward as Cavalcanti circled the cage, picking Fairn apart from the outside. Fairn’s offensive activity was very low throughout this first round, and whenever she did throw, her strikes looked somewhat slow and awkward, allowing Cavalcanti to avoid the majority of the shots. Cavalcanti did not seem to be doing significant damage with her strikes, but she had such a significant edge in terms of activity, that she was clearly winning this round regardless. A nasty eye poke to Cavalcanti resulted in a lengthy break in the action as Cavalcanti was given time to recover. When the fight resumed, Fairn was fighting more aggressively, but she did not land anything of substance before time expired in the round. 10-9 Cavalcanti.
The second round played out much like the first round. Cavalcanti was not doing serious damage with her offense, but she was the one landing, throwing out her jab as Fairn pressed forward, while throwing in the occasional right hand to the body, or a kick to Fairn’s lead leg. Fairn did not seem to have much to offer Cavalcanti in response and was only really able to generate offense when she threw caution to the wind and started fighting recklessly, but these occasions were few and far between. 20-18 Cavalcanti.
Cavalcanti connected with a solid one-two in the opening minute of the fight’s final round, one of her best combinations of the fight. Fairn continued to be unable to create offense for herself, and was thoroughly outworked by Cavalcanti, who was able to circle the cage and tee off on Fairn without fear of Fairn landing anything in response. In the fight’s final seconds, Fairn shot for a takedown, but Cavalcanti sprawled on the attempt and landed a short combination back on the feet before time expired. 30-27 Cavalcanti.
WINNER: Jacqueline Cavalcanti by unanimous decision (30-27 all)
This was a rather dull fight, as Cavalcanti out-struck Fairn with ease throughout the bout’s entirety, without really doing any damage, and without the threat of Fairn doing any significant damage in return. Fairn did not have any answers for Cavalcanti’s movement and seemed frustrated by the fight’s final round due to her inability to find her range offensively. This marked Fairn’s fourth loss in as many fights in the UFC, and I would have to imagine that this will be her final fight in the promotion for the time being, as she has not been competitive in any of these fights across two weight classes now. Cavalcanti has now won four consecutive fights, and this bout marked her UFC debut.
FARID BASHARAT (10-0, 136) VS KLEYDSON RODRIGUES (8-2, 136) – BANTAMWEIGHT
Rodrigues cracked Basharat with a head kick to start the fight, prompting Basharat to take the fight to the ground. Basharat quickly mounted Rodrigues, but Rodrigues successfully scrambled to his feet, where he landed a solid knee to the body before the fighters traded elbows. Basharat opted to take the fight back to the ground, where he started throwing down some sharp elbows from half guard. Basharat was soon locked in an arm triangle, and Rodrigues was forced to submit.
WINNER: Farid Basharat by arm triangle at 4:15 of Round 1
Basharat was matched up against a very tough opponent in Da’Mon Blackshear for his UFC debut, and while he got his arm raised in the end, it was certainly a very competitive fight against the skillful grappler. While Rodrigues is a dangerous fighter in his own right, Basharat really just ran through Rodrigues here, quickly taking him down and showcasing some impressive grappling of his own on his way to a first-round submission victory. After the fight, Basharat was asked how it felt to finally get a finish in the UFC, which I thought was humorous given that this was only his second fight in the promotion, but he made it clear that he is not a “decision” fighter, and improved to 2-0 in the UFC as a result of this win.
NORA CORNOLLE (6-1, 136) VS JOSELYNE EDWARDS (13-4, 136) – BANTAMWEIGHT
Cornolle fired off four leg kicks in quick succession, making her game plan clear in the fight’s opening minutes. Cornolle went high with one of her kicks, which prompted Edwards to close the distance and turn the fight into a wrestling match against the cage. Cornolle landed some solid knees with her back to the cage, but eventually, Edwards was successful in taking the fight to the ground. Edwards was not terribly active from top position, and Cornolle scrambled on top before time expired in the round. 10-9 Cornolle.
Cornolle cracked Edwards with a solid straight right hand early in round two. Edwards threw an axe kick to set up a takedown in impressive fashion, taking top position with just under four minutes to work. Cornolle used the cage to crawl back to her feet, and the fighters separated with two minutes remaining in the round. Cornolle seemed to be looking for a takedown of her own but was immediately taken back down by Edwards. This time, however, Cornolle was able to scramble onto Edwards’ back and ended the round threatening a rear naked choke. 19-19.
Edwards landed a strong right hand to start the fight’s final round. Cornolle responded with a solid combination that backed Edwards up but ultimately allowed Edwards to wrap her back up in the clinch. Cornolle landed some strong knees from the clinch but was eventually dragged to the ground once more. Edwards worked her way onto Cornolle’s back, where she began to look for a rear naked choke, but Cornolle escaped the submission and returned to her feet with a minute to work. Cornolle found a home for a heavy right hand before time expired, but I did not think it was enough to earn her the round. 29-28 Edwards.
WINNER: Nora Cornolle by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Cornolle was the more skillful striker, and Edwards quickly seemed to realize that her best shot at winning this fight would be to take the bout to the ground, where Cornolle is rather inexperienced. Cornolle was largely unable to defend Edwards’ basic takedowns, which was concerning considering that Edwards is hardly a wrestler, but once the fight went to the ground, Cornolle consistently did a good job of defending herself before scrambling into top position or escaping to her feet. I scored the final two rounds of the fight for Edwards, but you could certainly give the edge to Cornolle based on damage, and when she was announced by Bruce Buffer as the bout’s victor, the Paris crowd absolutely lost their minds. This fight marked Cornolle’s UFC debut.
ANGE LOOSA (9-3, 171) VS RHYS MCKEE (13-4-1, 171) – WELTERWEIGHT
Loose immediately began to pressure forward, cracking McKee with a heavy right hand before just unleashing a lengthy combination of wild strikes, looking to finish the fight quickly. McKee survived the flurry but was taken down by Loosa, who continued his attack once McKee escaped to his feet. Eventually, Loosa began to slow down, and McKee started to work his way back into this fight, picking a tired Loosa apart from distance. Still, Loosa’s early onslaught was more than enough to secure the opening round in his favor. 10-9 Loosa.
McKee really picked up the aggression in the second round, looking to capitalize on the previous round’s swing in momentum. Loosa was still packing a great deal of power into his punches, however, he was not throwing them in overwhelming volume anymore, and instead opted to utilize his wrestling, taking the fight to the ground. McKee used the cage to return to his feet, but he took an inhuman amount of brutal punches from Loosa in the process, who was absolutely unleashing everything he had in him in an attempt to finish the fight. Somehow, McKee managed to stay on his feet, and he made it out of the round, but he took an immense amount of damage against the cage here and was in desperate need of a finish going into the third round. 20-17 Loosa.
Loosa quickly took the fight back to the ground in the fights final round. Once again, McKee picked himself up along the cage, but this time, avoided the endless barrage of strikes he got caught with earlier. McKee was swinging back on the feet, trying to force a finish, but Loosa’s wrestling kept McKee from getting too aggressive. In the fight’s final minute, McKee hurt Loosa badly, and Loosa was having trouble staying on his feet, spinning around at one point, but he was able to weather McKee’s late flurry, and the fight went the distance. 29-27 Loosa.
WINNER: Ange Loosa by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
McKee took an insane amount of damage in the second round, and it was a wonder that he was able to survive Loosa’s flurry against the cage, but somehow, he was able to stay on his feet and came back to nearly secure a finish in the fights final minute. This would have been the comeback of the year if McKee secured that late finish, but he had sustained so much damage himself by that point in the bout that he was unable to capitalize, and Loosa recovered just enough to make it to the final horn. This was a very entertaining fight, and while he did not secure the finish he was looking for, I thought that Loosa looked very solid throughout this fight, looking dangerous on the feet, while showcasing some solid wrestling whenever he wanted to change levels. Loosa is now 2-1 in the UFC following this win.
TAYLOR LAPILUS (18-3, 135) VS CAOLAN LOUGHRAN (8-0, 136) – BANTAMWEIGHT
Loughran was the advancing fighter early in the fight, attempting to overcome the reach advantage of Lapilus. Lapilus tagged Loughran a number of times on his way in early, and when Loughran eventually did close the distance, Lapilus successfully defended his attempt to bring the fight to the ground. Lapilus was getting the better of Loughran on the feet as the round progressed, but Loughran was eventually successful in taking the fight to the ground. There was not quite enough time remaining in the round for Loughran to fully capitalize on his successful takedown, and Lapilus returned to his feet before time expired in the round. 10-9 Lapilus.
Loughran quickly took the fight to the ground in the second round, and this time, he was able to keep Lapilus down. Loughran attempted to climb up the back of Lapilus, but he slipped off as Lapilus used the cage to return to his feet, creating separation momentarily. Loughran gave him no room to work, and immediately started chasing after another takedown. Lapilus was able to remain on his feet but spent a considerable amount of time with his back to the cage. Lapilus won the final minute of the round on the feet, but I did not think that he did enough damage to take the round from Loughran. 19-19.
The final round began with an inadvertent low blow from Loughran, resulting in a short pause in the fight before the action resumed. Loughran quickly fought his way back into the clinch, where he attempted to take the fight back to the ground, but the takedown defense of Lapilus held up well. While Lapilus was fighting soundly defensively, I thought that he had slowed offensively to focus on his takedown defense, allowing Loughran to match him on the feet, where he had the clear advantage earlier in the bout. Loughran continued to hunt for takedowns, but they did not come, and the fight eventually went the distance. This was a very close round, but I gave the slight edge to Lapilus. 29-28 Lapilus.
WINNER: Taylor Lapilus by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
Loughran really played up the heel role going into this fight, trashing French mixed martial arts repeatedly, and this audience was very much in-tune with the pre-fight shenanigans, as they absolutely showered Loughran with boos here, while giving their wholehearted support to Taylor Lapilus, who felt like the biggest star in the sport in front of this Paris crowd. Loughran did his best to take the fight to the ground throughout the bout, and while Lapilus largely did a good job of defending takedowns and staying on his feet, the control time against the cage really started to add up for Loughran, making for a very close fight despite Lapilus clearly being the more skillful striker. In the end, I thought that Lapilus did just enough damage to earn two of the three rounds, and the judges agreed, much to the crowd’s delight. This marked Lapilus’s return to the UFC after an eight-fight stint outside of the promotion, and he is now 4-1 in the UFC.
MORGAN CHARRIERE (18-9-1, 146) VS MANOLO ZECCHINI (11-3, 146) – FEATHERWEIGHT
The fighters traded right hands throughout the fight’s opening minutes. Charriere threw a solid one-two before cracking Zecchini with a right hand over the top at one point, one of his best sequences of the opening round. Zecchini was doing his best to throw back in combination but was missing his target whenever he really loaded up. A trio of kicks to the body put Zecchini on the retreat, and then a pair of front kicks to the body from Charriere finished the fight.
WINNER: Morgan Charriere by TKO at 3:51 of Round 1
These fighters wasted very little time before they started trading quick strikes, with Charriere clearly holding the slight edge in terms of striking ability. Charriere did an excellent job of avoiding Zecchini’s heavy combinations, before resetting and getting back to work with his own offense, but eventually, it was his attack on the body of Zecchini that produced a quick stoppage. The five kicks to the body that Charriere landed at the end of the bout were all quite brutal, and this was an impressive finish for Charriere to kick off the main card here in his UFC debut.
WILLIAM GOMIS (12-2, 146) VS YANIS GHEMMOURI (12-1, 146) – FEATHERWEIGHT
The fighters exchanged leg kicks early in the fight, with both men sneaking in the occasional head kick as well. The bout was rather slow-paced, with neither fighter offering much more than the occasional leg kick. The crowd, which had been so excited and supportive all night, was finally quieted by this fairly even battle of leg kicks, and it was impossible to fault them. In the final seconds of the round, Gomis threw a combination with enough aggression to wake the crowd back up, and his slight edge in activity may have been enough to earn him the round.
Gomis started the second round off strongly, putting power into each of his shots, and now focusing his attack on the head of Ghemmouri instead of the lead leg. Ghemmouri attempted to take the fight to the ground, but Gonis countered with a standing guillotine choke attempt, which allowed Gomis to take the dominant position. The two wrestled against the cage for a considerable portion of the round, trading shoulder strikes. In the final ninety seconds of the round, the fighters separated, and Gomis seemed to get the better of their leg kick battle until the round’s conclusion.
Ghemmouri pushed Gomis up against the cage to start the fight’s final round, in search of a takedown. Gomis defended the attempt, keeping the fight on the feet. Gomis hit Ghemmouri with a kick to the beltline, and Ghemmouri started to walk off assuming he was being given a timeout, but the referee ruled the strike as a legal kick to the body, and he called the fight, ruling it as a TKO win for William Gomis.
WINNER: William Gomis by TKO at 2:20 of Round 3
This was a very controversial decision by referee Loic Pora. The kick appeared to land below the beltline, and even if that was not the case and it was a legal blow, Ghemmouri was able to continue fighting, and only walked off in the first place because he thought he was fouled. Now, fighters should not be able to call their own fouls in the sport, and this was a clear mistake from Ghemmouri, but not a mistake that should have resulted in the fight immediately being ruled as a TKO win for his opponent. It was a poor decision by Loic Pora, and it added an asterisk to Gomis’s win, which is unfair to Gomis as well, considering that he was well on his way to earning a comfortable decision win. Regardless, Gomis improved to 3-0 in the UFC as a result of this win.
VOLKAN OEZDEMIR (18-7, 205) VS BOGDAN GUSKOV (14-2, 205) – LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT
Oezdemir landed a short hook and started pressuring forward in the fight’s opening minute, but Guskov quickly started firing back, which led to Oezdemir lifting Guskov up into the air before dropping him to the ground. Guskov escaped to his feet, where Oezdemir landed a series of leg kicks that seemed to be having an effect on Guskov. A left hook from Oezdemir hurt Guskov, and Oezdemir capitalized, swarming Guskov with hooks until he dropped Guskov. Oezdemir followed his opponent to the ground, where he locked in a rear naked choke, forcing Guskov to submit.
WINNER: Volkan Oezdemir by rear naked choke at 3:46 of Round 1
Guskov clearly had power in his hands, but he did not have much else to offer Oezdemir here. Oezdemir fought intelligently on his feet, landing some solid short counter hooks as Guskov pressed forward, while quickly damaging Guskov’s lead leg with repeated low kicks. Oezdemir mixed in some wrestling to great effect as well, taking Guskov down after his lone moment of success on the feet, and ultimately securing the finish on the ground, marking just the second submission win of Oezdemir’s career. Oezdemir’s UFC record now stands at 7-6, and he successfully defended his ninth-ranked position in the light heavyweight rankings.
BENOIT SAINT-DENIS (11-1, 1 NC, 156) VS THIAGO MOISES (17-6, 156) – LIGHTWEIGHT
An accidental low blow to Moises quickly brought a pause to the action. The fight resumed, but Saint-Denis caught Moises a bit low yet again, and there was another break in the action as Moises was given time to recover. When the action resumed, Saint-Denis started pressuring forward like a madman, and his pressure was troubling Moises. Saint-Denis was throwing wild hooks, and he was catching Moises repeatedly, but he was getting caught with enough regularity from Moises as well, who was throwing back with considerable power. Eventually, Saint-Denis took the fight to the ground, and while Moises did his best to generate offense off of his back, Saint-Denis landed strong ground and pound strikes, cutting Moises open, and he threatened a heel hook to return the fight to the feet. The fighters spent the final seconds of the round trading strikes wildly, with both men landing heavy shots before time expired. This was a fun round.
Saint-Denis quickly brought the fight back to the ground in the second round. Moises escaped to his feet, where the fighters returned to their striking battle, although they were fighting at a much more sensible pace here in the second round. Moises secured a takedown of his own, but Saint-Denis popped right back to his fight, where the fighters exchanged elbows before Saint-Denis recorded another takedown. Saint-Denis moved to the back of Moises, and he threw down right hands as Moises shelled up, eventually forcing the referee to stop the fight.
WINNER: Benoit Saint-Denis by TKO at 4:44 of Round 2
Unsurprisingly, this was a very entertaining fight. Saint-Denis came out swinging, looking for an early finish, and while Moises seemed to be overwhelmed momentarily, it did not take long before Moises started firing back with serious power, looking to catch Saint-Denis in the middle of one of his wild flurries. Both fighters found success throughout these exchanges, but the pace seemed to favor Saint-Denis, who proceeded to wear Moises out on the feet, before taking the bout to the ground, where he eventually secured the finish. It was an excellent performance from Saint-Denis against a tough opponent, and this marked his fourth consecutive win since moving down to lightweight. Saint-Denis has secured a finish in each of those four wins, and after defeating a fighter like Moises in such convincing fashion, Saint-Denis is likely closing in on a fight against a ranked opponent at 155lbs.
MANON FIOROT (10-1, 125) VS ROSE NAMAJUNAS (11-5, 125) – FLYWEIGHT
Namajunas was active throughout the opening minutes of the fight, but Fiorot was doing a good job of working from her preferred range, easily shrugging off a takedown attempt from Namajunas. The commentary team was speculating that Namajunas may have injured her right hand, and they may have been onto something, as she was not throwing it with any regularity as the round wore on. Still, Namajunas did a good job of switching stances to keep her striking fluid and was finding her mark more as the round wore on. Fiorot defended another takedown late in the round, and her jab was doing significant damage, quickly causing bruising near Namajunas’s right eye, and opening a small cut below her left one. This was a competitive round, but I gave the edge to Fiorot. 10-9 Fiorot.
A short combination from Fiorot knocked Namajunas off balance at the start of the second round, and she attempted to secure a takedown as Namajunas picked herself back up. Namajunas defended the attempt but ate a short combination on the break, a combination which included a strong knee to the body. Namajunas landed a pair of quick kicks to the head as the fighters separated, and Fiorot slipped as she threw a sidekick, allowing Namajunas to shoot in for a takedown attempt. Fiorot was able to defend the attempt, but a clash of heads led to a significant cut opening up on the side of Fiorot’s head. Fiorot landed a few more side kicks to the body of Namajunas before time expired in the round, as well as a short right uppercut. 20-18 Fiorot.
Namajunas started the third round off aggressively, throwing both hands despite the earlier injury to her right hand. Fiorot defended another two takedown attempts from Namajunas, keeping the fight on the feet, where she was largely outstriking her opponent. Fiorot was doing a good job of catching Namajunas with her lead hand whenever she stepped forward, but Namajunas was countering well with short hooks as well, keeping Fiorot on the backfoot. I thought that this was the closest round of the fight, and actually gave the slight edge to Namajunas, who I felt landed the bigger shots, but it really could have been scored either way. 29-28 Fiorot.
WINNER: Manon Fiorot by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Namajunas injured her hand early in the bout, but she did not let the injury bring her offense to a complete stop, instead utilizing her forward pressure and stance switches to create paths to success. Fiorot remained a step ahead of Namajunas however, just outworking her in terms of general activity, keeping her distance to force Namajunas to initiate the exchanges, where she would then step in and land her own shots before retreating. Namajunas attempted to take the fight to the ground multiple times, but Fiorot’s takedown defense held up, and she easily defended Namajunas’s attempts to take the fight to the ground. It was a solid performance from Fiorot against an accomplished opponent, and after her win, Fiorot made it clear that she would like to challenge for the UFC Flyweight Championship in her next fight. While it is possible that the UFC will go with Erin Blanchfield instead, Fiorot is now 6-0 in the UFC, and I imagine she will be challenging for the title in her next fight, even if it is Blanchfield who gets the first shot at the winner of Grasso/Shevchenko 2.
CIRYL GANE (11-2, 250) VS SERGEY SPIVAC (16-3, 256) – HEAVYWEIGHT
Gane wasted little time in getting to work, as he started attacking the lead leg of Spivac while attacking the head and body of his opponent with jabs. Spivac responded with heavy hooks, before shooting for a single leg. Gane defended the attempt and caught Spivac with a knee on his way up. Gane really attacked the body of Spivac back on the feet, mixing in the occasional heavy jab as well. As the round progressed, Spivac seemed to freeze offensively, offering Gane very little, while Gane circled around his opponent, doing significant damage with his strikes.
Gane continued to piece Spivac up on the feet in the second round, attacking the head and body of his opponent in combination. Spivac did his best to generate offence by flurrying forward with heavy hooks, but Gane avoided the shots with ease, before going right back to attacking the body of Spivac with brutal right hands. Eventually, Gane’s onslaught became too much for Spivac to withstand, and he started to cover up with his back to the cage. Gane punched through his guard and just overwhelmed Spivac with clubbing shots until the fight was stopped.
WINNER: Ciryl Gane by TKO at 3:44 of Round 2
This was a masterful performance from Ciryl Gane. There were a lot of doubts going into this fight regarding Gane’s wrestling ability, but he eased those concerns by easily stuffing a takedown attempt from Spivac early, before getting to work on the feet, just lighting Spivac up with heavy jabs to the head and body. It was not long before Spivac started to freeze offensively, like so many of Gane’s prior opponents have, and this just allowed Gane to move in for the kill, attacking Spivac relentlessly against the cage until he finally crumbled. Gane will need more than this win to earn himself another shot at UFC gold, but this was as good of a start as he could have asked for, and he felt like a considerable star in front of this Paris crowd. In all likelihood, Gane will be matched up against Tom Aspinall next, which will be a fight that could very well earn the victor a title fight coming out of it.