While in some recoverable format, both heavyweight contenders couldnt become more different, they both end up facing a potential reality check at UFC Paris on Saturday: Is Gane a champion-in-waiting who simply faltered in his first shot at Francis Ngannou? Is Tuivasa the best threat to win a UFC title or is he just on an exciting win streak that’s destined to get rid of just lacking its destination?
Its unfair to both fighters to tie their future prospects so tightly to 1 fight, but considering that we are able to expect Ngannou, Stipe Miocic, and yes, Jon Jones to factor in to the title picture eventually not forgetting the perpetual chaos realm this is the heavyweight division whos to state how long it will require for either mans contender reputation to be restored as long as they suffer a devastating loss?
The smart money is on Gane, but given what lengths Tuivasa has come since nearly being tossed aside as a never-was, few things will be more MMA than Tuivasa getting a solution to take Gane out before a crowd of screaming Parisians.
In other main card action, Robert Whittaker fights Marvin Vettori in an extremely anticipated middleweight clash, slumping 185ers Alessio Di Chirico and Roman Kopylov seek a much-needed win, John Makdessi fights Nasrat Haqparast in a lightweight matchup with a sprinkling of bad blood, featherweights William Gomis and Jarno Errens make their UFC debuts, and Charles Jourdain and Nathaniel Wood both make quick turnarounds because they navigate the perilous featherweight division.
What: UFC Paris
Where: Accor Arena in Paris
Ciryl Gane (3) vs. Tai Tuivasa (5)
Your boy has been pushing the Tai Tuivasa is really a REAL contender wagon for some time now and theres no chance Im stopping now. That is it. This is actually the ultimate test of set up power of punching and positive thinking may take you completely to a title shot.
Tuivasa isnt exactly the same guy who was simply once on a three-fight losing streak and on the cusp of a release. Hes legitimately are more focused and disciplined and thats evident in his results. I understand it sounds somewhat condescending to state that Tuivasa improved because he started making a genuine effort, however when youre discussing a fighter along with his talent, that may make all of the difference.
Having said that, even the very best version of Tuivasa is probably not enough to obtain past Ciryl Gane. Sure, Gane fell short in his quest to become the undisputed heavyweight champion (for the present time), but hes still arguably the very best athlete in the division and an excellent technical striker with underrated power. He should win this fight. I obtain it.
Still, Im picking Tuivasa. Its not only that he could score a knockout at at any time (though thats an enormous factor), its he genuinely believes he is able to. That is my theory for what went wrong with guys like Derrick Lewis and Jairzinho Rozenstruik if they fought Gane. I dont think they believed they might knock him out. So that they froze. Tuivasa wont freeze. He could get rocked or *gaspsubmitted, but he wont freeze.
Or at the very least it wont take him long to thaw. Im predicting that Tuivasa struggles to create a technique to score against Gane in the initial round, then just goes bananas in Round 2 and catches Gane for a knockout win.
Shoeys are gross, but Tuivasa will earn his on Saturday.
Robert Whittaker (2) vs. Marvin Vettori (3)
You thought one knockout pick near the top of the card was shocking? What do you consider of Robert Whittaker becoming the initial fighter to complete Marvin Vettori?
I am aware Vettori comes with an unbreakable chin. Were talking Drew Dober-quality iron here. Ive just got this feeling that Whittaker may be the one who will get the off-switch. The Reaper hasn’t been known for raw punching power, but instead his speed and precision, and the ones traits are what you should put down a more impressive guy. Thats just what Vettori is, that is why is this fight so dangerous for Whittaker.
Since it could definitely go another way. Vettori isnt known for finishing with strikes, but hes become increasingly confident on your toes during his time with the UFC even though he wont win a pure striking battle, all it requires is one good shot from The Italian Dream to place Whittaker in big trouble. Neither man is near obtaining a third fight with Adesanya, so fans should anticipate this being truly a fun, loose, and occasionally wild banger.
I still expect Whittaker to pull it together and distance themself in the 3rd as he gets his combinations going and puts it on a wilting Vettori.
Whittaker by knockout in Round 3.
Alessio Di Chirico vs. Roman Kopylov
A few of you could be inclined to ask, what’s this bout between two middleweights with a combined 4-8 UFC record doing on the primary card when theres a perfectly good middleweight bout between top 15-ranked Nassourdine Imavov and fan favorite Joaquin Buckley just sitting there on the prelims? I dont have an excellent answer for you personally.
What we do have this is a handful of fighters hungry for a win, this means theyll either be inspired to put up a fiery performance to silence the doubters, or theyll fight safe to preserve their jobs. The good thing for fans longing for the former is that Alessio Di Chirico has gotten over his inability to pull the trigger, for good or for bad. His more assertive style has led to two first-round head kick knockouts in his past two outings; unfortunately for him, he was on the receiving result in his latest fight.
Can he put the pressure on Roman Kopylov? If that’s the case, that is easy work with Di Chirico. Kopylov just hasnt shown the finishing ability that made him an intriguing signing in 2018. So when things begin to go badly for him, they worsen in a rush.
Theres reason to trust that the very best is yet ahead for Kopylov, but Im skeptical that it happens in the UFC, therefore i need to lean towards Di Chirico here.
Pick: Di Chirico
John Makdessi vs. Nasrat Haqparast
It is a bounce-back chance for Nasrat Haqparast, nonetheless it may be his last fight in the UFC if hes not careful. He cant let his emotions obtain the best of him here, because while Makdessi doesnt fit the physical profile of Haqparasts past two opponents (Bobby Green and Dan Hooker), he could be a veteran striking specialist and Haqparast has already established issues coping with that kind of challenge previously.
What I love for Haqparast in this matchup is he includes a size advantage over Makdessi, which can make all of the difference for the still-developing 27-year-old. Makdessi is really a brilliant striker who has already established the misfortune to be a tweener. Hes definitely on the short side for a lightweight, but much too thickly muscled to drop to 145. So Haqparast should log off to an instant start here and make things uncomfortable for Makdessi.
So long as Haqparast will keep Makdessi on the trunk foot, he is able to take control. The final thing he wants would be to give Makdessi space and present him a chance to unleash his dazzling spinning attacks. I’ve Haqparast advancing intelligently and cutting off the cage on the way to a choice nod.
William Gomis vs. Jarno Errens
A few of you may be inclined to ask, what’s this bout betweenyou know very well what? Weve done this dance already. Imavov and Buckley ought to be on the primary card.
But since thats false, lets appreciate the chance being directed at fresh faces William Gomis (a Frenchman who’s sure to truly have a significant cheering section) and holland Jarno Errens. Predicated on their brief careers up to now, there is prospect of this to be a thrilling striking battle, so its placement isnt a whole mystery.
Both fighters are tall featherweights who use a lot of movement to create their attacks. Gomis is more ready to mix it up inside, while Errens mixes bursts of aggression with prolonged periods of counter-striking. This will be considered a standup duel, but Errens has already established problems with grappling defense and that might be a location that Gomis targets if merely to change the pace.
Gomis more methodical style gives him the edge here when i dont expect him to help make the sort of mistake that Errens can capitalize on in virtually any meaningful way, nor do I see Errens dictating the action. That one would go to Gomis on points.
Charles Jourdain vs. Nathaniel Wood
I love Nathaniel Wood at featherweight. I dont such as this matchup for him.
Charles Jourdain is a lot more than only a striker, however when he targets that facet of his game, few are better at 145 pounds. Hes a plus-athlete, hes creative, and he knows how exactly to pick his spots. On Woods side, hes plenty athletic aswell and hes got an awful streak which should lead to a compelling contrast once he and Jourdain start exchanging. Wood includes a diverse arsenal and wants to throw with volume and from unexpected angles.
Thats nothing Jourdain cant handle. Hes super sharp from the technical standpoint and his striking defense will frustrate Wood. As that frustration builds, hell make more mistakes, and that may create openings for Jourdain to visit work. Simultaneously, Wood wont disappear completely easy, which explains why this is a perfect main card starter and a front-runner to win the Fight of the night time award.
It wouldnt surprise me if both of these meet again somewhere later on. But this first meeting belongs to Jourdain.
Nassourdine Imavov (14) def. Joaquin Buckley