French Fighters Provide Fireworks at UFC in Paris

November 15, 2023
4 months

The buildup to UFC Fight Night: Gane vs. Spivak saw a lot of fighter changes due to injuries and visa issues. But the final lineup of 11 fights would produce plenty of strong moments for the crowd at Accor Arena in France. In the main event, No. 3 ranked heavyweight Cyril Gane dominated No. 7 Sergey Spivac to stay in the heavyweight title picture.

Over the course of the main card at UFC in Paris, five of the six bouts ended via finish. Here’s a look at the most notable events from the course of the entire card and how they will impact things moving forward.

Gane Didn’t Leave Door Open for Wrestling 

Gane was embarrassed in his last fight. When fighting Jon Jones for the heavyweight title last March, Gane was taken down early and quickly submitted by Jones. When Spivac attempted to take Gane down in the first round, Gane quickly pushed down on the back of Spivac’s head with his arm to force him in another direction.

Gane was able to dominate Spivac by throwing a variety of strikes his way. In the second round, Gane trapped Spivac against the cage and finished him with a barrage of punches. The win gave Gane his sixth career knockout and improved his record to 12-2.

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Gane will now have to wait to find out what is next. Jones and Stipe Miocic will fight for the heavyweight championship in November. It is possible, regardless of the result of that fight, that either, or possibly both, of those men will retire following the bout. Gane will be one of several fighters who may be contenders for the belt going forward.

Fiorot Puts Name in Hat for a Title Shot

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French women’s flyweight Manon Fiorot has won 11 straight fights, but it wasn’t until her decision victory over former strawweight champion Rose Namajunas that she made a major statement for a title. Fiorot won a comfortable victory at UFC in Paris by outstriking Namajunas, who was fighting up a weight class.

Previously, Fiorot (11-1) had collected two victories over former UFC title challengers Katlyn Chookagian and Jennifer Maia. Beating a former champion in Namajunas likely puts Fiorot in line to fight the winner of the championship bout between Alexa Grasso and Valentina Shevchenko at a later date.

Fiorot is the No. 3 contender behind Erin Blanchfield and Shevcehnko. Blanchfield also picked up a victory against a former title challenger, Taila Santos, recently. However, Fiorot’s performance against Namajunas was much more impressive. Blanchfield eked out a narrow decision victory.

A Sour End for Thug Rose

“Thug” Rose Namajunas has talked about possibly retiring before making the decision to step up in weight and fight Fiorot at the UFC in Paris card. Namajunas now has an 11-6 record in her career and has lost her last two fights. While Namajunas has two victories over current strawweight champion Zhang Weili, both of those victories came over two years ago.

Namajunas, a former two-time strawweight champion, may be headed toward retirement following this loss. However, following two lackluster performances, Namajunas wants a shot to go out on a positive note with a victory.

Saint-Denis Ready For Number Next to His Name

French lightweight Benoit Saint-Denise spent his pre-UFC tenure serving in the French Army Special Force Command. He saw combat in Mali and in West Africa battling terrorists. Saint-Denis scored an exciting finish over Brazilian veteran Thiago Moises to give the UFC another exciting momentum at a fight card held outside the United States. 

Saint-Denis opened up Moises with a vicious elbow on the ground in the first round. Moises struggled to keep up with several wild exchanges in the fight. Saint-Denise was able to force Moises to the ground and finish him with ground-and-pound with 16 seconds left in the first round.

Was it Low or Not?

William Gomis was on his way to a decision victory over Yanis Ghenmouri when a weird sequence occurred in the third round of their bout at UFC in Paris. Gomis threw a front kick at Ghenmouri that landed around his belt line. The kick bounced off Ghenmouri’s upper leg and appeared to make contact with his cup.

When Ghenmouri reacted, he dropped his hands over his groin, turning away and wincing in pain. The referee waved an end to the fight to score a technical knockout for Gomis. Ghenmouri disputed the stoppage, but the referee ruled that the kick wasn’t a low blow. 

While it is possible Ghenmouri may appeal the result, it can only be overturned to a no contest. This was the first stoppage victory for Gomis during his three-fight UFC career. Once a fight is waved off in the UFC, it can’t be restarted for any reason. 

The Last Pirate Lands KO with Body Kicks

French fighter Morgan “The Last Pirate” Charriere got the main card off to a good start by landing a knockout thanks to a strong body kick. Charriere landed several body kicks against Italian fighter Manolo Zecchini that put him in a world of hurt. After Zecchini was doubled over by a kick, Charriere rushed in with another body kick that put Zecchini down for good.

Charriere was making his UFC debut. He has a 19-9-1 career record. Charriere has been fighting professionally since 2014. His knockout of Zecchini was the 11th knockout victory of his career.

Oezmir, Basharat also Pick Up Finishes

There were five undercard fights in addition to the six on the main card. Here are the results of the other flights not mentioned above:

  • Light heavyweight: Volkan Oezdmir submits Boigdan Guskov by rear naked choke, 3:46, Round 1.
  • Bantamweight: Taylor Lapilus defeats Caolan Loughran by decision (29-28, 29-28-29-28).
  • Welterweight: Ange Loosa defeats Rhys McKee by decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28).
  • Women’s bantamweight, Nora Cornolle defeats Joselyne Edwards (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).
  • Bantamweight: Farid Basharat submits Kleydson Rodriguees by arm-triangle choke, 4:15, Round 1.
  • Catchweight: Jacqueline Cavalcanti defeats Zarah Fairn (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).

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