The UFC Paris main card is almost over, and so far we’ve gotten four decisions, and one lone finish.
The co-main event of the evening witnessed the UFC’s former middleweight champion, Robert Whittaker, let his strikes go to claim a unanimous decision over the #2 ranked, Marvin Vettori. Whittaker did a great job of managing the aggressive nature of Vettori, by picking his shots wisely, and steadily increasing his output. Aside from the UFC’s middleweight king, Israel Adesanya, who in the world can handle Robert Whittaker? So far the answer is NOBODY!
Before that, the UFC’s #12 ranked middleweight, Nassourdine Imavov, won a unanimous nod over a very game Joaquin Buckley. The first two rounds were all Imavov, however Buckley came on strong in the final act, doing everything in his power to try and force a finish. Imavov held on to get the win, but Buckley sure made him earn it. This makes three wins in a row for Nassourdine, who should be getting a ranked opponent in his next outing.
The first clean knockout of UFC Paris came when Roman Kopylov blasted Alessio Di Chirico with several unblocked punches in the third round. The fight was pretty close the whole way, until Di Chirico got caught with his hands down. After dropping his first-two UFC outings, Roman has bagged his first promotional win, and did so with style.
We got a double UFC debut debut in the featherweight division with William Gomis winning a majority decision over Jarno Errens. It was the takedowns of Gomis that was the real difference maker here, plus he showed off some serious submission defense when he escaped a seemingly tight triangle in the final minute of the fight. Two judges saw the fight 29-28, with the third official scoring it 29-29. Gomis extends his professional record to 11-2.
Kicking off the UFC Paris main card, Nathaniel Wood picked up a unanimous decision over Charles Jourdain. This fight was pretty cool with the bulk of it taking place in either the clinch, or the phone booth. Both men were delivering combos, but it was Wood who was delivering the better blows. Wood was also coming up with several trip takedowns to aid him in getting the nod, and the former bantamweight appears to be coming into his own at 145-pounds.
Robert Whittaker def. Marvin Vettori by unanimous decision (30-27 x2, 29-28): Middleweight
The middleweights got busy right away, with Whittaker chopping away at the legs, and Vettori flurrying forward with punches. Vettori kept pressing forward, and made his way into the clinch, but Whittaker quickly escaped into open space. Whittaker was content to sit back and wait for Vettori to come to him, but that also allowed Marvin to get some volume going.
The second round opened with both fighters missing big with head kicks. Whittaker started launching more kicks from range, mostly to the body. Vettori was throwing volume, but was just outside of where he needed to be to connect. Whittaker, however, was starting to connect cleanly with his strikes. The longer the round went on, the more Whittaker was coming forward. The right cross for Robert was doing the most damage, and it had Marvin backing up.
Vettori went back to pressing the action in the final frame. Whittaker was still picking him apart, and drew some blood under Marvin’s left eye. The head kicks from Whittaker also started to land, but credit to Vettori for eating them as well as he did. Robert was completely in the driver’s seat with two-minutes to go, and that’s when Marvin shot in for the takedown. The former champ did a fantastic job of defending it, and went right back to open space. Whittaker actually decided to blast his own takedown, and briefly planted Vettori on his back.
Nassourdine Imavov def. Joaquin Buckley by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x2): Middleweight
Buckley came out with a ton of footwork, trying to not stand right in front of Imavov. A nasty front kick to the face knocked out the mouthpiece of Buckley, and Imavov wasn’t happy about the referee stopping the action to allow Joaquin to put it back in. Imavov began popping his jab out there, while pressuring at the same time to keep Buckley from settling in. Buckley shot in for a takedown, but Imavov stuffed it and went right to full mount. A couple of punches got through before the round ended.
Imavov continued to be the aggressor to begin the seocnd stanza. An accidental eye poke from Imavov resulted in a pause in the action, but the bout quickly got back underway. Buckley went first upon the restart and threw a boxing combo, but missed every single one of the punches. The right cross of Imavov started to find a home, and then Nassourdine switched gears and snagged a takedown. He transitioned to the back, and started to threaten with an RNC. Buckley escaped several attempts, so Imavov elected to slap him for the remaining seconds of the round.
Buckley snuck in some heavy punches at the start of the final round, but Imavov was able to slip to the back and hit another takedown. Imavov wasn’t able to keep the fight there this time, and Buckley started to swing for the fences. Imavov was starting to slow down, with his output and aggression dwindling. This was Buckley’s chance to make something happen, but Imavov kept finding a way to clinch up. Buckley sprawled on a takedown, and then cleanly connected with a knee as Imavov stood up. It was quite the effort from Buckley, but he wasn’t able to come up with the finish he needed.
Roman Kopylov def. Alessio Di Chirico by KO at 1:09 of round 3: Middleweight
Kopylov was pressuring Di Chirico to get things going. Di Chirico was looking to counter punch and catch Kopylov coming forward, and mixed in some head kick attempts. Kopylove got through with some straights that snapped back the head of Di Chirico, and delivered some sneaky calf kicks to boot. The longer the round went on, the more comfortable Kopylov looked. Di Chirico dodged a big bullet as he shot in for a takedown, and Kopylov struck with a flying knee that almost hit its mark.
Di Chirico began to press forward to begin the second round, but Kopylov met him with more straight punches. Mixing things up, Di Chirico went for another takedown, but Kopylov displayed impeccable defense. Di Chirico would periodically land crosses, but Kopylov wasn’t sticking around for the followups. Kopylov started to attack the liver with kicks, but also started to show signs of fatigue.
Di Chirico started the final round with a slick combination that seemed to catch Kopylov by surprise. Then, Kopylov unloaded a brutal multi-punch barrage that caught Di Chirico with his hands down. The blows landed clean as day, and Di Chirico did a faceplant. No followup was necessary.
William Gomis def. Jarno Errens by majority decision (29-28 x2, 29-29): Featherweight
Errens was the aggressor right away, with Gomis sitting back making reads. Errens was connecting with solid body crosses, and Gomis was responding with body kicks. The fighters then locked up and Gomis came up with top position. A couple of elbows got through for Gomis, with Errens not getting back up until there was about 10-seconds left in the round.
The seocnd stanza saw some trading right off the bat. Both men were launching punch and kicks, with Errens having a bit more sting on his. Gomis then scored himself another takedown, but stood up after finding nothing there. Gomis went for another takedown, but Errens used the momentum to roll on top. Gomis instantly stood up and stayed attached in the clinch, and although Errens hit a toss, he still ended up on the bottom.
The fighters shared a hug to begin the final frame, and then quickly shared head kick attempts. Errens cracked with a big right cross to the body, but failed to follow it up with anything. Gomis kept launching kicks from range, and Errens seemed to become more focused on his hands. From the clinch, Gomis hit another takedown and delivered some punches to the body from inside of the full guard. Suddenly, Errens locked up a full-on triangle, but Gomis made all the right moves to escape.
Nathaniel Wood def. Charles Jourdain by unanimous decision (30-27 x2, 29-28): Featherweight
Jourdain got right in the face of Wood, who was willing to instantly start trading. Wood came up with a takedown, and controlled his opponent for a bit without doing any damage. Jourdain eventually stood up and started to tag Wood from range. An accidental cup check to Jourdain brought a brief pause to the match, and upon the restart, Wood clipped Charles with a hook that wobbled him. Wood then connected with another hook that seemed to get the attention of Jourdain before the bell.
Wood continued to lean into his striking fundamentals in the second round. This was preventing Jourdain to land cleanly with his unorthodox attacks. Jourdain was sneaking in some sneaky body punches, but ended up on his back after being tripped. After a warning from the ref for inactivity, the fight was stood back up. Some sweet striking exchanges went on, with both men connecting. Jourdain has his turn to snag a trip takedown, but Wood sprung right back up.
Just when it appeared as the pretty striking exchanges were going to melt into the third round, Wood hit another trip to instigate the grappling. Jourdain worked back up, but it wasn’t long before Wood hit yet another trip. Wood let Jourdain up this time, and the fighters labored away in the clinch and in the pocket. Jourdain was landing quality blows, but Wood’s attacks were just a bit better. The round ended with Wood snagging a last-second takedown to close out the fight in the dominant position.