UFC will hold only its second ever event in Paris on Saturday night, with UFC Fight Night’s five-fight main card at Accor Arena beginning at 3 p.m. ET and highlighted by France’s Ciryl Gane taking on Serghei Spivac in a heavyweight fight.
Gane (11-2) has won eight fights by stoppage as he seeks a third shot at the elusive heavyweight title. His previous two title shots ended in losses to Francis Ngannou and Jon Jones, two of UFC’s greatest fighters of the past decade.
“I’m really focused on this fight — not the past or the future,” Gane said. “My mindset maybe changed a little bit about that because I was focused on other people.
“I did a mistake, one time, and so I’m going to take off that sheet (of paper) and now I’m re-focused on my strengths. I know everything is possible this Saturday.”
Spivac (16-3) is the inferior overall athlete but he is a strong wrestler, and an opponent Gane must be very wary of after being taken down seven combined times in those two losses.
Gane said he learned valuable lessons from those defeats, and vows that he has taken the proper time to prepare in the gym. However, Spivac owns a 65.9 percent career takedown rate.
Prediction: Gane is the -175 favorite, having drawn 57 percent of the total bets and 59 percent of the money wagered on the fight at BetMGM. However, Spivac (+143) is riding a three-fight win streak and his clear strength is Gane’s weakness. Winner — Spivac
ROSE NAMAJUNAS vs. MANON FIOROT
Namajunas (10-5) makes her flyweight debut in a move up for the former strawweight champion. She’s doing so against one of the divisions top contenders in France’s Fiorot (10-1).
It’s Namajunas’ first time in the Octagon since losing to Carla Esparza more than a year ago. It’s a big jump to take on Fiorot, who has a 10-fight win streak and owns a two-inch height advantage.
Prediction: Fiorot is the No. 3 contender and her size will likely prove difficult for Namajunas. The Frenchwoman is the strong -200 favorite, having been backed by 80 percent of the fight money despite Namajunas drawing 66 percent of the total bets. Winner — Fiorot
BENOIT SAINT-DENIS vs. THIAGO MOISES
Saint-Denis (11-1) is the third French native on Saturday’s main card, and enters with a three-fight win streak. Moises (17-6) is riding a two-fight win streak of his own following consecutive losses.
Prediction: Saint-Denis does own a 2.5-inch reach advantage and should have the grappling edge. He’s the -165 favorite, having been supported by 76 percent of the fight bets and 54 percent of the money. Winner: Saint-Denis
VOLKAN OEZDEMIR vs. BOGDON GUSKOV
Oezdemir (18-7) is ranked No. 9 and has lost three of his past four fights, including a unanimous decision against Nikita Krylov his last time out. Meanwhile, Guskov (14-2) is making his UFC debut after winning all three of his fights in the MMA Series Russia in the past year.
Prediction: This is a difficult fight to call given Guskov making his debut on a main card as a +155 underdog. However, the Uzbekistan stands a good chance of pulling the upset given Oezdemir’s (-190) struggles of late. Winner — Guskov
YANIS GHEMMOURI vs. WILLIAM GOMIS
Ghemmouri (12-1) is also making his UFC debut in a featherweight fight against Gomis (12-2), who has won both of his two previous UFC fights. It’s not a lot of experience, but it’s more than Ghemmouri’s originally scheduled opponent, Caolan Loughran, who was set to make his debut as well.
Gomis is another French fighter, but the +210 favorite has received little support from the public. Ghemmouri has moved from +230 to +170 while drawing 91 percent of the bets and 97 percent of the money.
Prediction: Gomis is known for his striking and the 6-footer with a 73-inch reach has already scored solid wins over Jarno Errens and Francis Marshall. Winner — Gomis
–Field Level Media