UFC Paris was a great event. The heavyweight headliner ended with a big (!) knockout, and the middleweight co-headliner saw a former champion put on a masterclass against a one-time title challenger.
The preliminary portion of the card saw Stephanie Egger submit Ailín Pérez with a rear-naked choke in the second round of their fight. That was the first-ever finish in France, so congratulations to Egger for etching her name in UFC history! Cristian Quiñónez earned his first win in the UFC with a first-round TKO of Khalid Taha. Though the ‘Problema’ got booed by fans for what appeared to be an early stoppage, the replay showed the ‘Warrior’ was badly hurt. Benoît Saint-Denis battered Gabriel Miranda en route to a second-round TKO in front of a raucous home crowd. The ‘God of War’ sat the ‘Fly’ down three times — twice in the first round and once in the second round — before finishing him off with some punches on the ground. Farés Ziam delivered a well-rounded performance against Michal Figlak for a unanimous decision. Nasrat Haqparast defeated John Makdessi by decision. Abusupiyan Magomedov entered the Octagon with a lot of hype and lived up to it with a 19-second KO of Dustin Stoltzfus. ‘Abus’ connected with a front kick that stunned Stoltzfus and went it with a right uppercut and left hook. Stoltzfus fell to the canvas and ate a few more punches before the referee stepped in and waved off the fight. That was the fourth-fastest debut in UFC middleweight history. WOW!
The main portion of the card began with an exciting fight between Charles Jourdain and Nathaniel Wood. There were plenty of fun exchanges on the feet and the ground throughout the allotted 15 minutes, but the ‘Prospect’ was sharper in all of them and was declared the winner by unanimous decision. William Gomis used his wrestling and grappling to control Jarno Errens, but it nearly cost him a win. Errens snatched up a triangle choke on Gomis, who slipped out of it as the horn signifying the end of the fight sounded. The newcomer won a majority decision. Roman Kopylov floored Alessio Di Chirico with a brutal combination for a third-round TKO. Nassourdine Imavov and Joaquin Buckley gave us a ‘Fight of the Night’ contender, which was expected considering their bad blood heading into Saturday. The ‘Russian Sniper’ left the Octagon with a win, but ‘New Mansa’ made him work for it. Robert Whittaker dominated Marvin Vettori over three rounds for a unanimous decision. The ‘Reaper’ reminded everyone he is the most dangerous fighter in the division, which is currently reigned over by Israel Adesanya.
Ciryl Gane tore the roof of Accor Arena with a third-round KO of Tai Tuivasa in an all-action affair. ‘Bon Gamin’ faced some early adversity after getting dropped, but he returned fire with vicious shots to the body that hurt ‘Bam Bam’ several times. The finishing sequence came after Gane stung Tuivasa with a counter right hand that froze his opponent in place. Gane followed up with more punches and put Tuivasa away for good. In his post-fight interview with Michael Bisping, Gane said he wants to fight for the belt again. That would mean a second meeting with Francis Ngannou, the current champion who he fell short to at UFC 270 this past January.
Performance of the Night: Abusupiyan Magomedov and Benoît Saint-Denis
Stephanie Egger def. Ailín Pérez by submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:54 of Round 2
Cristian Quiñónez def. Khalid Taha by TKO (punches) at 3:15 of Round 1
Benoît Saint-Denis def. Gabriel Miranda by TKO (punches) at 0:16 of Round 2
Abusupiyan Magomedov def. Dustin Stoltzfus by KO (front kick and punches) at 0:18 of Round 1
Roman Kopylov def. Alessio Di Chirico by KO (punches) at 1:09 of Round 3
Ciryl Gane def. Tai Tuivasa by KO (punches) at 4:23 of Round 3
Fight of the Night: Ciryl Gane vs. Tai Tuivasa
Farés Ziam def. Michal Figlak by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Nasrat Haqparast def. John Makdessi by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Nathaniel Wood def. Charles Jourdain by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
William Gomis def. Jarno Errens by majority decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-29)
Nassourdine Imavov def. Joaquin Buckly by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Robert Whittaker def. Marvin Vettori by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)