One half of the principle and co-main occasions of UFC Paris, respectively, the 2 are coming off of arguably essentially the most humbling setbacks of their careers. For Gane, it was a fast submission loss to Jon Jones wherein Jones made him look utterly out of his component. For Namajunas, it was a call loss to Carla Esparza that price her the UFC strawweight title and left followers questioning what her recreation plan was; neither she nor Esparza appeared significantly desirous about profitable the battle.
On Saturday, Gane has to show the wrestling protection that failed him in two heavyweight championship bouts is now not a problem as he takes on the bullish Serghei Spivac, and Namajunas has an opportunity at new life as she strikes up a division to face prime flyweight contender Manon Fiorot.
What: UFC Paris
The place: Accor Enviornment in Paris
(Numbers in parentheses point out standing in MMA Fighting’s Global Rankings)
Ciryl Gane (3) vs. Serghei Spivac (10)
The primary time Serghei Spivac shoots in for a takedown, Ciryl Gane followers will expertise some ugly flashbacks.
Sure, Gane seemed like a fish all the best way out of water with Jon Jones bearing down on him. And sure, he additionally seemed dangerous when defending takedowns towards famous non-wrestler Francis Ngannou. All of us noticed this stuff occur. All of us have eyes.
And but, I’m nonetheless choosing Gane on this striker vs. grappler matchup, even figuring out Spivac is precisely the type of wrestle-first, strike-later opponent that might utterly spoil Gane’s homecoming. Gane actually hasn’t given us plenty of causes to imagine he can take care of high-level grappling, so that is extra of a decide of religion and confidence in his crew do to the appropriate factor and drill takedown protection like there’s no tomorrow. As a result of in MMA, a run of losses could cause that vibrant future to dim actual quick.
Extra importantly, Gane continues to be one of many quickest, most athletic heavyweights on the planet, and that goes a great distance when your most important objective is to keep away from getting grabbed. Spivac will do his finest to chop Gane off, however he’ll discover “Bon Gamin” to be a slippery goal, and each failed try will depart him open to Gane’s strikes.
Frustration will set in for Spivac, and that’s when Gane will flip up the warmth, take his shot, and put Spivac down for the depend.
Manon Fiorot (5) vs. Rose Namajunas (5, SW)
Rose Namajunas is getting thrown into the deep finish right here, and I’ve my doubts about how she’ll navigate these waters.
In Manon Fiorot, they’ve not solely given her a stiff first check at 125 kilos, they’ve additionally given her an opponent with a tough, karate-based hanging fashion that has left a number of gifted girls unable to determine her out. She’s not precisely Lyoto Machida on the market, however Fiorot has a couple of rarely-seen strategies which are tough for anybody to arrange for.
Is Namajunas going up in weight for the appropriate causes? Have been the cuts simply getting harder? Did she merely really feel like she’d completed sufficient on the weight class after principally having success going by means of the Zhang Weili–Joanna Jedrzejczyk–Jessica Andrade rematch meat grinder? Does she see herself as a real menace to crash the get together that’s at the moment occupied by only a handful of credible flyweight contenders?
On her finest day, Namajunas can beat anybody. She’s confirmed that. However she’s giving up plenty of dimension to Fiorot, and she or he’s coming off a protracted layoff that one can both view as rejuvenating – or an indication of disinterest in a recreation the place she’s been competing on the highest degree for over a decade. I’m leaning towards the latter, and there’s nothing flawed with that if that’s the place Namajunas’ head is at.
Taking over a problem like this, although, Namajunas must be sharp, and I don’t suppose she’ll have the ability to determine Fiorot out rapidly sufficient to win this one. Fiorot leads the dance en path to taking a convincing choice win.
Benoit Saint Denis vs. Thiago Moises
This can be a battle of dark-horse light-weight contenders.
He’s been the B-side of some large matchups, so you possibly can’t be blamed for not noticing that Thiago Moises has put collectively a fairly stable UFC résumé. He’s 6-4 contained in the octagon with wins over guys like Bobby Green and Michael Johnson. He’s simply faltered towards prime names, however can we actually knock a man an excessive amount of for losses to Islam Makhachev and Beneil Dariush, the latter of which got here in Moises’ UFC debut? At 28, there’s nonetheless loads of time for the always-exciting Moises to make an affect.
The identical might be mentioned of Benoit Saint Denis, 27, who has surged within the 155-pound ranks since an ill-fated, short-notice debut at welterweight. He’s shredded his previous three opponents, none of whom have made it previous the primary spherical, and he’s residing as much as the pre-UFC hype that he constructed as a standout in Courageous CF.
The matchmakers knocked it out of the park with this one. It’s a few good a pairing as you may get exterior of the top-20, and the Paris crowd goes to go nuts for Saint Denis. These two will alternate on the ft and work their tails off on the bottom, with neither retreating for too lengthy. I’m pumped!
Residence courtroom benefit and barely higher standup provides Saint Denis the sting on the scorecards right here.
Choose: Saint Denis
Volkan Oezdemir (15) vs. Bogdan Guskov
Stepping in for Azamat Murzakanov, Bogdan Guskov enters the UFC with a status as a hard-hitting sniper. He’s affected person, is aware of methods to use his attain, and when he sees his opening, he presses ahead with large punches. Not a foul substitute opponent if the UFC is hoping to generate fireworks on quick discover.
Volkan Oezdemir was as soon as the mysterious newcomer with knockout energy, so he must be on his finest conduct to keep away from being the newest sufferer of the fight sports activities circle of life. I’m assured he doesn’t get caught because the hole in high quality of competitors between he and Guskov is as extensive because it will get. He could be threatened early, however Oezdemir’s counter-striking will get him out of bother and set him up for his personal spotlight.
“No Time” by first-round knockout.
William Gomis vs. Yanis Ghemmouri
William Gomis and Yanis Ghemmouri discover themselves going through off after a fight-week shuffle, with Gomis initially set to face Lucas Almeida and Ghemmouri scheduled to battle Caolan Loughran. Almeida bowed out with an damage, releasing up a spot for Ghemmouri (who strikes as much as 145 pouunds for this battle), whereas Loughran replaces Muin Gafurov (visa) towards Taylor Lapilus on the prelims. Bought all that?
Lengthy story quick, there’s loads of upset potential right here, with the damaging Ghemmouri discovering his of entirety in his previous two Courageous CF outings. Neither he nor Gomis are strangers to the scorecards, however count on Ghemmouri to come back out blasting with the objective of catching the taller Gomis off guard.
Gomis has hardly lit the octagon on hearth since making his debut in September 2022, however he’s 2-0 within the UFC and has received his previous 10 fights. He’s doing one thing proper. Considerably cynically, I’d evaluate his present kind to that of a younger Leon Edwards, which is to say efficient, if not at all times memorable. If Gomis has a profession like Edwards does, nevertheless, I doubt anybody would complain.
Give me the underdog right here, although. I simply really feel there’s one thing funky about this matchup, and the truth that each Frenchmen will probably be drawing power from the house crowd solely will increase the possibilities of one thing bizarre taking place. Wild guess, I’m saying Ghemmouri by knockout.
Morgan Charriere vs. Manolo Zecchini
This might be a captivating conflict of hanging types, or a humid squib, relying on how the extra skilled Morgan Charriere chooses to method this one. One knock on Charriere is that he tends to be hesitant to tug the set off, however that could be smart towards the unorthodox Manolo Zecchini.
The Italian newcomer makes use of loads of side-to-side motion to arrange his assaults and preserve his opponents off-balance, one thing Charriere and his crew should be nicely conscious of. Charriere has a relatively conventional method to the standup recreation, which permits him to seek for counters and arrange takedowns when he’s so inclined.
It’s the wrestling that may be a main query mark for Zecchini right here, as a result of Charriere is comfy controlling the battle from prime place when a takedown presents itself. Ought to Charriere power the motion, it is going to put Zecchini’s grappling protection and talent to take care of strain to the check.
As unpredictable as Zecchini is, Charriere shouldn’t have an excessive amount of issue figuring him out over the course of three rounds. I’ve Charriere profitable a call.
Taylor Lapilus def. Caolan Loughran