Former interim heavyweight champion Gane took on rising prospect Tai Tuivasa in the headlining bout of UFC Paris, the promotion’s first show in France. Coming off a loss to Ngannou in Jan. at UFC 270, Gane faced the Australian fan favorite in his homeland. Tuivasa dropped “Bon Gamin” early in the bout. But Gane recovered quickly and fired back with some brutal kicks to the body that hurt Tuivasa before securing the finish with a flurry of punches in the third round.
Although he could not beat the reigning heavyweight champion Ngannou the first time, Gane has his eyes set on getting another chance at the title.
Following the entertaining display from both fighters, Ngannou, who was in attendance at the Accor Arena for the event, shared his thoughts on his last opponent’s performance during an appearance on the ESPN+ post-fight show. Having already beaten Gane earlier this year, Ngannou did not see anything particularly special from the 32-year-old Frenchman.
“I know he’s a great fighter,” Ngannou said via MMA Junkie. “It’s hard to respond to that question for the guy that I beat – if I’m impressed with him. He’s here for a reason. I fought him for a reason because he was probably the No. 1 contender. Yes, he’s good, but I’m the champ. Yeah, so it’s really hard to be impressed.”
You can watch Ngannou’s live reaction to the main event knockout below.
Ngannou Expected Gane To Be More Technical
Gane and Tuivasa each had good moments in an entertaining affair that could have swung in either direction, with both fighters recording a knockdown and putting the other in danger.
Ngannou praised both fighters for putting on a show for the fans and expected Gane to gain the edge by displaying a more technical performance, which he did more of as the bout went on.
“That fight was very electric, though,” Ngannou said. “There were good actions in the fight. At some point, you see the fight was half-half and then it switched back to Ciryl’s side, which is what I thought. As far as distance, he’s good at controlling that and he was able to apply that in the fight tonight. You can see the body (shots), that’s what got him the victory. It was just like strategic, technical type of fight.”
Ngannou Is Not Sure When He Will Return
Currently in recovery after undergoing surgery for an injured knee, Ngannou is not sure when he will be able to make his return to competition. He got linked to an outing with arguably the greatest mixed martial artist of all time, Jon Jones, for the heavyweight debut of the former UFC light heavyweight king, but no concrete developments have come as of yet.
While there were rumors that he could be back this year, it seems unlikely that it will happen as “The Predator” did not have many details to share.
“I don’t have any whispers right now,” Ngannou said. “I don’t have any timeline or exact timeline for the return. I’m going to see the doctor one week from now. I’m following up with the doctor to see how it’s going. But it’s going pretty good. But you have to give it some time. It’s not like it’s going to be great. It’s been five months. (I need to) kind of have some more time.”