He’s not winning many fans along the way, but it can’t be denied that Ciryl Gane is a force to be reckoned with. Though there were times when Alexander Volkov offered some competition - the first and fourth rounds were particularly close - Gane controlled the pace for almost the entirety of the contest with a stiff jab that frustrated Alexander Volkov to no end. However, many UFC Vegas 30 viewers were frustrated by Gane’s lack of killer instinct, the former kickboxer contest to just pick apart the big Russian rather than looking for a finish. The lack of drama frustrated the fans hoping for the type of brute violence that typically marks heavyweight MMA.
There’s probably a degree of frustration from the UFC brass too. Gane is blazing a path to the title, but he’s making it difficult to sell him to the casual viewers that make up the PPV buys they hope to gain in the process. It could be sold that he deserves the next title shot but I doubt it happens. Look for Derrick Lewis or Jon Jones to get the next shot while the UFC hopes Gane can produce fireworks in one more contest.
Volkov is going to have a hard time working his way back into the title picture given he has losses to the likes of Lewis and Curtis Blaydes, the other names that tend to hover around the top of the division. Regardless, expect him to cut some weight as he didn’t have the stamina to push the same pace he has been known to do so for five rounds.
As for the rest of the fights....
- For about 80% of the contest between Ovince Saint Preux and Tanner Boser, it looked like OSP didn’t realize he was in a fight. He did get a takedown and look for a submission, but allowed Boser to piece him up the rest of the time. When Boser climbed back to his feet, he landed a knee and a series of punches that put OSP away. Boser put himself back on the winning track while OSP remains without a win at heavyweight.
- The Twitterverse referred to Raoni Barcelos and Timur Valiev as the People’s Main Event. It took a while for them to warm up, but they lived up to the billing. Valiev touched up Barcelos with a variety of strikes as the Brazilian waited for the right time to strike. When Barcelos finally unloaded late in the second, he nearly decapitated Valiev… but the Russian survived. Both were exhausted as the final round came, Valiev’s volume again making the difference in the judges’ eyes. Brilliant performance from both.
- Few things suck worse than a fighter looking better than ever only for a win to escape their grasp due to an inadvertent mistake. Andre Fili was piecing up Daniel Pineda with slick boxing and vicious kicks to the body only for an eye poke to stop the action just before the midway point of the second round. Pineda was unable to let the referee know how many fingers he was holding up, resulting in a no contest.
- The younger version of Tim Means would have gone for the finish. The older, more mature, and present version of Means opted to take the safe route. The busier and more technical fighter through two rounds, Means was forced to clinch up for safety reasons when Nicholas Dalby rocked him early in the third. Means did what he needed to do to survive, riding his way to a decision win. That’s three wins in a row for the Dirty Bird.
- Renato Moicano found out what happens when he plays to his strengths. The few moments the fight was on the feet, Jai Herbert found some success. When Moicano took the fight to the mat, Herbert looked like a fish out of water compared to the slick Brazilian. Moicano softened him up with ground strikes before finding the RNC. Moicano has the talent to be a contender… if he fights intelligently.
- As soon as Kennedy Nzechukwu realizes a fight starts when the referee says “FIGHT!”, he’s going to be a real problem. Though Danilo Marques had long periods of control in the first two rounds – almost the entire first round – Nzechukwu woke up in time to lay the lumber on the lanky Brazilian, securing a standing stoppage early in the third. If he can just get past those slow starts….
- Once everyone was able to get past the size discrepancy between Shavkat Rakhmonov and Michel Prazeres, the prospect put on a hell of a clinic. After getting a feel for Prazeres in the opening round, Rakhmonov let his arsenal fly in the second, landing high impact strikes and takedowns before a RNC produced the first time anyone finished Prazeres. More than just a top prospect in the division. Rakhmonov is one of the better prospects in the sport.
- By all appearances, it looked like Jeremiah Wells was going to be screwed if he didn’t finish Warlley Alves in the opening round. Alves weathered an early storm and looked like he was going to onload on the newcomer. As the second round began, Wells had enough left in the tank to land a booming right hook to end the contest. Look for Wells to get a push; he’s a newcomer, but he’s already 34.
- The fight didn’t start how Marcin Prachnio wanted, but it sure as hell ended perfectly. Enduring an early storm from Ike Villanueva, Prachnio started to get back into the fight by working over Villanueva’s lead leg. The end came with a crushing kick to Villanueva’s liver from the Pole, crumpling Villanueva instantly. Shout out to Bas Rutten!
- The lone women’s fight on the card was as violent as expected, neither Julia Avila or Julija Stoliarenko backing down from the other. Both had their moments in all areas of the fight, but Avila started pulling away after a busted nose on Stoliarenko made it difficult for the Lithuanian to breath. A RNC from Avila late in the fight gave the exciting prospect a signature win.
- It was well publicized that Justin Jaynes bet his entire purse on himself to win. It’s a bet he shouldn’t have made. Not that he was blown out of the water, arguably taking rounds one and three against Charles Rosa behind his power punches, but a poorly timed takedown when he seemed to have Rosa on the ropes late may have sealed his fate as the judges preferred Rosa’s ground work.
- The UFC knew what it was doing when they paired Damir Hadzovic and Yancy Medeiros to open the card. Hadzovic brutalized Medeiros over the first two rounds, depleting his gas tank to the point he was in survival mode for most of the last round. Medeiros had him in an RNC as the clock ticked away, but Hadzovic held on to take the barnburner of a fight.