The UFC is filled with a number of large personalities, but none, perhaps, are larger than the third-ranked heavyweight challenger Tai Tuivasa – literally and figuratively. This Saturday afternoon at UFC Paris, he adds to the top-loaded Fight Night card in the main event opposite No.1 Ciryl Gane, a Frenchman fighting for his home crowd. It is a bout that he further believes should serve as an interim title match. An early afternoon card for fight fans in the United States, the co-main event is just as big, featuring the top middleweight contender Robert Whittaker as he takes on the second-ranked Marvin Vettori inside Accor Arena in Paris, France.
A quality card throughout, UFC Paris took a hit with a pair of fight cancellations. On the preliminary card, featherweights Ricardo Ramos and Danny Henry were scheduled to fight as both fighters announced injuries leading into fight week. This blow to the card follows the rescheduling of Manon Fiorot’s main-card bout against Katlyn Chookagian to UFC 280 instead of this weekend as well. Taking that fight’s place is French featherweight William Goms who will make his debut in front of a home crowd against Jarno Errens.
Gane vs Tuivasa Preview
Across all sports, home-field advantage can play a big part in the end result. In combat sports, the energy of the crowd can provide a big boost, and it is wondered if the judges score local fighters more favorably too. Entering UFC Paris on Saturday, the crowd is just one advantage Gane will have as he looks to rebound from his failed title attempt in January against Francis Ngannou. Gane is taller (6’4”) and longer (81-inch reach) than his opponent Tuivasa (6’2”, 75-inch reach), and has title experience as well.
Though he lost to Ngannou by unanimous decision, Gane went five hard-fought rounds with the champion after winning his previous seven fights in the Octagon. Now he hopes to hold his position atop the division to land a rematch. First, he has to stop the momentum of the animated Tuivasa, who, after a rough start to his UFC career, has won each of his last five contests, and all by early knockout.
Gane has shown a propensity to absorb heavy punches and can deliver them with the best as evidenced by his UFC 270 contest against Ngannou. He delivered more strikes and significant strikes in that contest and found a number of submission opportunities. This, combined with his other endurance displays, is likely why he is such a favorite to defeat Tuivasa with a -560 moneyline designation. With everything stacked in his favor, there’s almost too much to lose. If the night ends with Tuivasa chugging a beer out of a shoe, however, it would be quite the disappointment for fans in France.
UFC Paris Fight Card and Odds
#1 Ciryl Gane (-560) vs #3 Tai Tuivasa (+430) – Heavyweight
#1 Robert Whittaker (-210) vs #2 Marvin Vettori (+180) – Middleweight
#12 Nassourdine Imavov (-240) vs Joaquin Buckley (+200) – Middleweight
Alessio di Chirico (-105) vs Roman Kopylov (-115) – Middleweight
William Gomis (-225) vs Jarno Errens (+190) – Featherweight
Charles Jourdain (-135) vs Nathaniel Wood (+115) – Featherweight
Abus Magomedov (-295) vs Dustin Stoltzfus (+245) – Middleweight
John Makdessi (+195) vs Nasrat Haqparast (-230) – Lightweight
Farès Ziam (+165) vs Michal Figlak (-195) – Lightweight
Benoît Saint-Denis (-300) vs Gabriel Miranda (+250) – Lightweight
Khalid Taha (-115) vs Cristian Quiñonez (-105) – Bantamweight
Stephanie Egger (-265) vs Alin Perez (+225) – Women’s Featherweight