UFC Paris – Constructing the Inaugural French UFC Card

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Simply put, UFC Paris has to happen. There is no better time to construct a UFC Paris card than now, with a wealth of French and European talent ready to take over the game. Dana White and the UFC are always looking to break into new areas and while their rivals, Bellator put on a show in Paris last year, the UFC are, for once, playing catch-up.

MMA was only passed as legal in France at the beginning of 2020 and as a result of the pandemic, the MMA leader is yet to move into the market. With things trending in the right direction with regards to ‘on the road’ UFC cards, UFC Paris could become a real possibility. We construct the inaugural UFC Paris card.

UFC Paris

Main Event – Ciryl Gane vs. Francis Ngannou for the Heavyweight Title

Could the headliner be anything else? A fight for the UFC heavyweight title and ‘the baddest man on the planet’ would, without doubt, bring plenty of eyes to Paris. After Ciryl Gane captured the interim heavyweight strap at UFC 265 this past weekend, it set up an undisputed title bout with former teammate, Francis Ngannou. Both men trained out of MMA Factory Paris in their early UFC careers, with Gane continuing to train out of the gym when he captured the belt.

The Fight is going to happen next, there is no question about it. It makes a lot of sense to put it on the inaugural UFC Paris card. Both men speak fluent french, the fight would certainly sell and would likely be a banger once it goes ahead.

Co-Main Event – Leon Edwards vs. Jorge Masvidal (5 round non-title fight)

Again, like the main event, this one needs to happen. The fight itself is long overdue after Jorge Masvidal attacked Leon Edwards backstage at UFC London in 2019. The two competed on the card in separate fights, however, the two have never clashed horns themselves (in a sanctioned bout anyway).

This fight makes a lot of sense as both are ranked highly in the welterweight rankings and there is clearly a lot of needle between the two of them. Masvidal is coming off a savage knockout loss to the champion, Kamaru Usman and has taken a big step back in his title aspirations. On the other hand, Edwards is more than deserving of a title opportunity, however has never had the shot. Edwards is ranked #3 and Masvidal is at #7 so the fight itself would be a logical next step for both men.

We know Masvidal isn’t afraid to travel and with the flight from the UK only being short, there will be plenty of Edwards’ fans at this one.

Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. winner of Marina Rodriguez and Mackenzie Dern

The former champion, Joanna Jedrzejczyk hasn’t competed in Europe since 2015 and the Polish native is certainly due a return. She rarely competes in three-round bouts, just one since 2014, however, this one would be a three rounder. Having lost four of her last six, she needs to make herself a contender again and a win over a highly ranked opponent would do that.

Marina Rodriguez and Mackenzie Dern are scheduled to lock horns in a main event slot in October, with the winner positioning themselves in a strong position at 115lbs. The winner of this will likely have to prove that they can hang with the elite at strawweight, which is why the Jedrzejczyk fight makes sense.

Ilia Topuria vs. Movsar Evloev

In a clash of top 15 featherweights, Ilia Topuria and Movsar Evloev are on a collision course at some point in their careers. So, why not make it at UFC Paris when both men could have some local support. Topuria was born in Germany but fights out of Spain, allowing the travelling Spaniards to see one of their biggest stars live. Evloev fights out of Russia, allowing Russians to make the relatively short trip to France also.

At 11-0 and 15-0, these two are two of the most exciting featherweight prospects in the UFC, invite them onto a PPV card and let them shine.

Manon Fiorot vs. Gillian Robertson

Monon Fiorot has burst onto the UFC scene with two TKO victories in two fights. Standing at 7-1, Fiorot hasn’t tasted defeat since her debut back in 2018. She’s scheduled to face Mayra Silva at UFC 266, but if she can get a victory there, she needs a step up in competition to see if she can really become a contender at 125lbs.

Gillian Robertson is out of form as of late, however, has previously been ranked at 125lbs. With multiple finishes and impressive performances, she’s still extremely relevant at flyweight. Her ground game is elite and if it goes there, Robertson could test Fiorot on the ground. Robertson travelled to Liverpool to face Molly McCann in her debut, so we know she isn’t afriad to go up against a hometown favourite. With Fiorot fighting out of Nice, France, she’d certainly have the crowd on her side.

Tom Aspinall vs. Sergey Spivak

Opening the main card we could see Tom Aspinall and Sergey Spivak clashing for a top 10 heavyweight ranking. This one could easily be the opener to the main card.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – OCTOBER 11: Tom Aspinall of England poses for a portrait backstage during the UFC Fight Night event inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on October 11, 2020 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

We haven’t seen too much of Aspinall’s ground game, but the black belt is likely to be tested on the ground as a result of Spivak’s game. This one was scheduled for October of 2020, however, Spivak had to withdraw from the bout. Both of these men have been on a tear with six wins in their combined last six UFC bouts. Aspinall is scheduled to fight in September, but if he can get through this one, the Spivak fight makes sense.

Other Fights on the UFC Paris Card

  • Casey O’Neill vs. Priscila Cachoeira
  • Marc Diakese vs. Joel Alvarez
  • Nicolas Dalby vs. Danny Roberts
  • Mike Grundy vs. Sean Woodson
  • Veronica Macedo vs. Liliya Shakirova
  • Fares Ziam vs. Mason Jones

The key with a potential UFC Paris card is to fill it with big, well-known names, especially those from Europe. Market the card correctly and it could be without a doubt one of the most successful cards in UFC history. With a wealth of European talent, bring the UFC to Paris and break into a new climate, as of yet, untouched by the leading MMA promotion. This is the perfect time to do it, make it happen!

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Frazer Krohn has been with MMASucka for nearly 5 years. He is the host of the MMASucka podcast, which is released every Monday. He's the author of a series of six books about MMA, which were published in 2023.

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