Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) will stage its first event ever in Paris, France, later TODAY (Sat., Sept 3, 2022) as UFC Paris goes down from inside Accor Arena, featuring a Heavyweight fight between Ciryl Gane and Tai Tuivasa. In the co-main event, former Middleweight champion, Robert Whittaker, takes on Marvin Vettori.
Tuivasa has had somewhat of an odd run inside the Octagon. After starting off his UFC career at 3-0 to push his then-undefeated record to 9-0, the hard-hitting Heavyweight went on a horrid three-fight losing streak in the 10 months that followed, leaving his UFC future in doubt. After taking a year off to regroup, “Bam Bam” returned in Oct. 2020 with a vengeance, scoring a buzzer-beating knockout win over Stefan Struve in the first round. What followed was a path of destruction left behind by the heavy-handed Aussie to the tune of four consecutive knockout wins to extend his streak to five, catapulting him all the way to the No. 3 spot on the official rankings and is now seemingly one more big win away from his first-ever UFC title shot. Standing in his way, however, is a former interim champion who is hungry for a win after suffering the first loss of his career.
Gane burst his way into the Octagon just under three years ago, but in his short time with the promotion he was quick to make an impression, racking up seven straight wins, including taking out the likes of Junior dos Santos, Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Derrick Lewis, whom he defeated to win the interim title back in Aug. 2021. That earned him a title unification bout against current champion, Francis Ngannou, ultimately coming up short against his former training partner. Seven months removed from his first-ever defeat, “Bon Gamin” is out to get back on track and back into the thick of the title hunt. Both he and Tuivasa possess insane power, though Gane is a bit more tight and technical with his strikes. Tuivasa, on the other hand, can be a bit of a wild man when he starts unloading bombs, but that is exactly what has brought him to this point. The key factor here is Gane utilizing his leg kicks to tenderize Tuivasa’s tree trunks while keeping him at bay. So while everyone expects a barn-burner, don’t be surprised if it doesn’t pan out that way. The winner of this fight should get a shot at the title, assuming Jon Jones doesn’t come in and spoil the party for either one of them.
It seems as if main card placement no longer has to be earned. Take the fight between Alessio Di Chirico and Roman Kopylov, for example. Kopylov is winless (0-2) inside the Octagon, while Chirico is 1-4 over his last five fights. So why a fight between two struggling fighters is featured smack dab in the middle of the main card is mind-boggling. I’m sure the promotion could have picked two more worthy contenders to take this spot who were willing to take a trip to Paris.
Original Card Vs. Actual Card:
Katlyn Chookagian and Manon Fiorot were set to throw down at this event, but the bout was moved to UFC 280 after Chookagian bowed out of the event for undisclosed reasons. Zarah Fairn dos Santos pulled out of her fight against Ailin Perez and was replaced by Stephanie Egger.
Christos Giagos was forced out of his fight against Benoit Saint-Denis after tearing a ligament in his finger in a freak toilet accident. As a result, Gabriel Miranda agreed to step in to take the fight against Denis at Featherweight. Makhmud Muradov was forced out of his fight against Abusupiyan Magomedov with an undisclosed injury. Stepping in to take his place is Dustin Stoltzfus, who snapped his three-fight losing streak with a big win over Dwight Grant. Also, Taylor Lapilus suffered a broken hand and was forced out of his fight against Khalid Taha. As a result, Taha will now face promotional newcomer, Cristian Quinonez.
New Blood and ‘Prelims:’
Since all but one fight on the undercard features newcomers, we are going to be combining these two sections this time around.
The lone fight that does not feature UFC rookies will be a Middleweight bout between Nassourdine Imavov taking on Joaquin Buckley. Imavov is 3-1 so far inside the Octagon and is coming in having won two straight fights against Ian Heinisch and Edmen Shahbazyan, both via technical knockout. And since he loves to stand and bang, he will have a more than willing dance partner in Buckley, who has become a fan favorite thanks to his hard-hitting style of fighting.
Gabriel Miranda will make his UFC debut after stepping in to face Benoit Saint-Denis. Miranda is a 21-fight veteran as a professional and has spent some time fighting under the Pancrase and Brave FC banners. He is currently riding a three-fight win streak all via submission. In fact, 14 of his 15 wins have come by way of submission.
Winner of four straight, Quinonez got his chance to make his UFC debut after he agreed to step in to face Taha after Taylor Lapilus bowed out with an injury. Quinonez won his fight on Contender Series, but he did not earn a contract. Nevertheless, he will now look to make the most of his great opportunity.
Perez will make her UFC debut when she battles Egger. Perez has won her last two fights via technical knockout, and his 7-1 overall as a professional. Egger, meanwhile, is coming off a weird submission loss just last month against Mayra Bueno Silva.
Michal Figlak will step foot inside the Octagon for the first time to face Fares Ziam, who is coming off a loss to Terrance McKinney. Figlak is a Cage Warriors veteran and is undefeated at 8-0 in his young MMA career that started just four years ago. He’s a hard-hitting striker with a pretty well-rounded base that could make him a rising contender to keep an eye on.
Jarno Errens and William Gomis will face off against each other in what will be their UFC debuts. Errens is 13-3-1 in his MMA career, while Gomis is 10-2 overall and is currently riding a hot hand of eight straight victories. Also, as we touched on earlier, Abusupiyan Magomedov will make his UFC debut against Dustin Stoltzfus.
Who Needs A Win Badly:
Nasrat Haqparast started his UFC career with a decent 6-2 run, but he still failed to gain much momentum to crack the Top 15 at any point of his career. Now, the German-born fighter is riding a two-fight losing streak after back-to-back losses to Bobby Green and Dan Hooker, putting him on thin ice coming into the event. He will face off against John Makdessi, who is doing pretty good for himself as of late, going 4-1 over the last five contests inside the Octagon. Another loss likely won’t earn him his walking papers, but it will put immense pressure on him to get back on track or face getting cut.
Interest Level: 7/10
The co-main event of the evening is a doozy, featuring former Middleweight champion, Robert Whittaker, facing off against former title contender, Marvin Vettori. It’s a fight that could very well headline an event, and some might be crying for that if the bout turns out to be a good one and it only goes 15 minutes. Nevertheless, these are the cards they were dealt, and “The Reaper” and “The Italian Dream” will attempt to get right back into the thick of the title picture. Both have come up short against Israel Adesanya (twice), so they would love nothing more than another chance to take down “The Last Stylebender,” assuming Alex Pereira doesn’t get the job done first.
Another featured bout will be a Featherweight scrap between Charles Jourdain and Nathaniel Wood. Jourdain has been all over the place since first stepping foot inside the Octagon three years ago, racking up a 4-4-1 record in the span. That won’t do much to help him crack the Top 15, so he needs to get more wins in a hurry. As for Wood, he came into UFC with a ton of steam and hype, having been the owner of the Cage Warriors Bantamweight title, as well as a five-fight win streak. His UFC career started off on the right foot, winning his first three fights before he was knocked out by John Dodson, snapping his eight-fight win streak. He is just 2-2 in his last four fights and has struggled to get back the momentum he had. He is looking for his second straight win after defeating Charles Rosa, but Jourdain is also in need of a big win, as well. This should be a good scrap and an early “Fight of the Night” favorite.
Enjoy the fights!
UFC Paris Main Event On ESPN+:
265 lbs.: Ciryl Gane vs. Tai Tuivasa
UFC Paris Main Card On ESPN+ (3 p.m. ET):
185 lbs.: Robert Whittaker vs. Marvin Vettori
185 lbs.: Alessio Di Chirico vs. Roman Kopylov
155 lbs.: Nasrat Haqparast vs. John Makdessi
145 lbs.: Charles Jourdain vs. Nathaniel Wood
UFC Paris Main Card On ESPN+ (12 p.m. ET):
185 lbs.: Abusupiyan Magomedov vs. Dustin Stoltzfus
155 lbs.: Michal Figlak vs. Fares Ziam
185 lbs.: Joaquin Buckley vs. Nassourdine Imavov
155 lbs.: Benoit Saint-Denis vs. Gabriel Miranda
135 lbs.: Khalid Taha vs. Cristian Quinonez
145 lbs.: Ailin Perez vs. Stephanie Egger
145 lbs.: Jarno Errens vs. William Gomis
*Fight card, bout order and number of fights remain subject to change.*
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Paris fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” undercard bouts at 12 p.m. ET, followed by the ESPN+ main card start time at 3 p.m. ET.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC Paris news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive here. For the updated and finalized “Gane vs. Tuivasa” fight card and ESPN+ line up click here.