The UFC makes its return to Paris for its second ever event in the city and headliner Ciryl Gane will be main eventing for the second time in his hometown.The card will see a battle at the top of the heavyweight division, former champions making debuts at new weight classes, and a whole host of new talent looking to make its mark in the UFC.
UFC Paris: Gane vs Spivak Fight Night Preview
The French will be out in full force at #UFCParis 👊🇫🇷
[ Saturday | 3pmET / 12pmPT Main Card | Live on ESPN+ ] pic.twitter.com/zigsIY1opg
— UFC (@ufc) September 1, 2023
Ciryl Gane vs Sergey Spivak
Big names on these resumes 📝
— UFC (@ufc) August 31, 2023
The main event of the evening will see Ciryl Gane take on Moldovan contender Sergey Spivak. Gane will be fighting for the second time in a UFC main event in his home country after knocking out Tai Tuivasa almost a year ago in Paris. The win over Tuivasa earned Gane a title shot at the heavyweight championship which had been vacated by Francis Ngannou. His opponent would be a returning Jon Jones who was set to make his Heavyweight debut. Jones would ultimately dominate Gane in a one-sided affair that lasted only 2 minutes and would end in Gane being submitted by guillotine choke. Among the best strikers, not only in the Heavyweight division but in the UFC overall, Gane was ultimately bested as Jones immediately dragged him into an area that he was uncomfortable with. That of course is grappling. While Gane’s opponents had been unable to find a way to deal with his striking ability in his initial 7 fight-win streak in the organization, his kryptonite would be discovered in his title challenge against then-champ Francis Ngannou who also managed to successfully implement grappling against the Frenchman. Gane will be looking to avoid any grappling exchanges against Spivak and utilize his superior striking to stake his claim at the top of the division once again.
Spivak on the other hand will be licking his lips at the prospect of getting Gane on the ground. With a background in combat sambo and seen using many forms of grappling techniques in his fights, borrowing from Judo, Wrestling, and of course Jiu Jitsu, Spivak is a threat to any Heavyweight in the UFC. 6-1 in his last 7 fights with the only loss coming to Tom Aspinall, Special has asserted himself as one of the top up-and-coming contenders in the division. A first-round submission win over two-time title challenger Derrick Lewis earlier this year saw him truly enter the conversation at Heavyweight and in matchups against opponents the status and profile of Gane became viable. Spivak will know that he has a real chance of upsetting the home crowd if he can take the fight down to the mat, while he is aware of his superiority on the ground he will likely be under no illusions about the striking capabilities of Gane and should attempt to avoid confrontation on the feet at all costs.
Manon Fiorot vs Rose Namajunas
The co-main event sees a clash at women’s flyweight that will have massive implications for the future title picture. Number 2 ranked Manon Fiorot will be welcoming former strawweight champion Rose Namajunas to the division in an attempt to truly stake her claim as the next woman to challenge for that Flyweight belt. Fiorot is 10-1 overall and 5-0 in the UFC after joining back in 2021. Losing her professional debut to current Bellator fighter Leah McCourt, Fiorot is undefeated since and no opponent has been able to find a match to her striking prowess. With six of her ten wins coming by way of knockout and the other four being decisions it is clear that Fiorot prefers to win on the feet. She has seen off the likes of Jennifer Maia and Katlyn Chookagian in her rise up the rankings of the division and will be looking to add the biggest scalp of her career to the CV following next Saturday in Paris.
Her opponent needs no introduction. Rose Namajunas has had a storied career in the UFC which has seen her going from run-of-the-mill Strawweight contender to stopping two of the most dominant fighters that division has ever seen. Her win over Polish legend Joanna Jedrzejczyk remains one of the biggest underdog stories in the history of the sport and no woman has ever stopped current champ Zhang Weili in her tracks the way Namajunas did with that thunderous head kick. After losing her championship in a heavily criticized fight with Carla Esparza, the two-time Strawweight champion announced her intention to move up a weight class and challenge for the 125-lbs. belt. She will receive no easy welcome with a matchup against Fiorot being among the most difficult she could have faced in the division, yet with the quality of her opponent and the achievements that already litter her career, a win should see her challenge for the belt in her next fight.
Benoit Saint-Denis vs Thiago Moises
Fighting on home soil for the second time in his relatively short career in the UFC Benoit Saint-Denis will be looking to make a big statement on Saturday night, currently on a three fight win streak in the UFC’s Lightweight division after losing his welterweight debut to an opponent who later tested positive for steroids, Saint-Denis’s recent wins have all come by finish whether that be submission or knockout. With a background in grappling it is clear that the Frenchman prefers to submit his opponent rather than keep the fight on the feet, the opposite of his headlining countryman. With the chance to extend his winning streak to four, ideally all by finish, Saint-Denis will be hoping to hear the ovation of the home crowd for a second time on Saturday night. A win over a name like Moises will be hugely beneficial to his career and likely propel him to the fringes of the rankings.
Fighting on home soil for the second time in his relatively short career in the UFC Benoit Saint-Denis will be looking to make a big statement on Saturday night, currently on a three-fight win streak in the UFC’s Lightweight division after losing his welterweight debut to an opponent who later tested positive for steroids, Saint-Denis’s recent wins have all come by finish whether that be submission or knockout. With a background in grappling, it is clear that the Frenchman prefers to submit his opponent rather than keep the fight on the feet, the opposite of his main eventing countryman. With the chance to extend his winning streak to four, ideally all by finish, Saint-Denis will be hoping to hear the ovation of the home crowd for a second time on Saturday night. A win over a name like Moises will be beneficial to his career and likely propel him to the fringes of the rankings.
Volkan Ozedemir vs Bogdan Guskov
Volkan Ozedemir makes his return to the UFC after almost a year of absence following his defeat to Nikita Krylov. Once the brightest prospect in the division and challenging for the belt against Daniel Cormier, Ozedemir has fallen on harder times since then. Going 3-5 since losing the title bout against Cormier, Ozedemir needed that 11-month break off to reset himself and mount another climb towards the top of the rankings. Currently sitting at number 9 in the pecking order, Ozedemir has produced displays where he beat the likes of Paul Craig and Aleksander Rakic yet has failed to find that consistent vein of form that brought him to his only challenge for the belt. He will have the chance to rediscover this form on Saturday as he takes on promotional newcomer Bogdan Guskov.
While it is unusual for a prospect to get a ranked fighter in their first fight in the UFC, but Bogdan Guskov is an exception. Standing at 6 feet, 3 inches tall, and currently on a 4-fight win streak, Guskov has amassed a record of 14-2 and has established himself as one of the top light-heavyweights outside of the UFC. Twelve of his fourteen wins have come by way of knockout with the other two by submission. In a division that is constantly in need of fresh talent, shoe horning Guskov into a fight that will immediately garner him name recognition may not be a bad move by the UFC.
William Gomis vs Lucas Almeida
A featherweight matchup sees French prospect William Gomis make his third step to the UFC cage. Thus far 2-0 with the promotion, Gomis will be looking to turn this run of form into a streak with a third win on Saturday night. The 26-year-old has not lost a fight since 2016 and the UFC will be hoping that they have a genuine prospect on their hands that could potentially rejuvenate a fairly depleted featherweight division.
His opponent, Lucas Almeida, has already proven himself to be a solid addition to the roster at 145-lbs. and has gone 2-1 in the promotion so far. Losing his last fight to Pat Sabatini, Almeida will be looking to get the win on Saturday night and possibly then rematch young prospect Daniel Zelhuber who previously bested him on an edition of Dana White’s Contender Series.
Yanis Ghemmouri vs Caolan Loughran
Many Irish MMA fans will be excited about this fight. Former Cage Warriors champion Caolan Loughran will take on Yanis Ghemmouri in the opening bout of the main card. Loughran is undefeated as a professional and dethroned then undefeated Dylan Hazan to win the Cage Warriors Bantamweight Championship.
Ghemmouri is a 12-1 prospect who is undefeated in his last nine fights. Alongside having the hometown advantage, he will also have the height and reach aspects in his favor. Both fighters will be making their debuts with the UFC and will likely be eager to put on a top tier display.