The UFC took the action to Paris, France for the first time ever and it delivered in spectacular fashion. The main event headlined by Ciryl Gane and Tai Tuivasa did not disappoint and neither did the co-main event between Robert Whittaker and Marvin Vettori. The fans got to experience a great main card in Paris as this was a historical night for the UFC. Let's recap the first ever UFC Paris main card.
UFC Paris enjoyed a fantastic main event as their hometown kid gets it done in the third round. Ciryl Gane got the knockout victory over Tai Tuivasa in an insane fight. The first round started with Gane picking his shots and staying on the outside. Tuivasa was looking to explode at moments and get his shots in but couldn't quite get the timing down, although he was getting closer. All of that came in the second round which could be in contention for round of the year when the year 2022 is over. The second round had everything a fan would want. Gane was jabbing Tuivasa with some powerful shots and it led to some bleeding and bruises. It became a real war for Tuivasa as he was getting hurt with the jab and also Gane's body kick up the middle. Tuivasa, who is all bloodied up and hurt, comes back with a burst and nearly knocks out Gane on the feet. In the post-fight speech, Gane mentioned that Tuivasa indeed put his lights out. Nonetheless, Gane battled through it and eventually got back up and got his senses back. Tuivasa poured it on and was willing to do anything to end the fight. In the third round, Tuivasa tried to replicate the same ending to round two but Gane was too much. The body kicks and jabs of Gane were the difference maker and it led to Gane getting a clean knockout shot on Tuivasa for the third round win. Gane is now back in the winning column and talking to Michael Bisping after the fight, he stated that he is ready for the belt.
Robert Whittaker displayed a great performance against one of the top contenders in the Middleweight division, Marvin Vettori. Whittaker has been the number one contender in the division for the longest and showed again that there are levels in his division. The patience and fainting from Whittaker gave Vettori a lot of problems in the octagon. The set-ups and traps that Whittaker was baiting Vettori into were working and made the difference in this fight. Vettori couldn't get anything going offensively as he only landed 39 significant strikes throughout the duration of the fight. The defense of Whittaker was also on point as Vettori only landed at a 28% rate. Whittaker picked his shots when needed in the first two rounds and in the third round, he hurt Vettori with powerful blows. With this fight, Whittaker is now back in the win column and will continue to be the rightful number one contender in the Middleweight division.
In a fight that had a lot of bad blood, Nassourdine Imavov gets the unanimous decision win in front of his home crowd. Joaquin Buckley was causing havoc throughout the duration of the fight but, Imavov got off to a great start in the first two rounds. Imavov did a great job at managing distance and staying away from the power of Buckley. He was effective at countering Buckley the first two rounds and was doing so in dominant fashion. Buckley knew going into round three that he needed a finish and he gave it his all. While being wild and throwing at a crazy pace, Buckley left it all out in the octagon. He was landing big shots on Imavov in the final round of the fight which made things interesting, but in the end, Imavov got it done and earned the decision win. That makes it three in a row for Imavov and he could be in the top ten of the Middleweight rankings come next week.
In what was trending to be a fight that goes to the judges, Roman Kopylov wakes up the audience with a walk-off knockout win against Alessio Di Chirico. Two out of the three judges had Kopylov up two rounds going into the third but Kopylov didn't let it go to the scorecards. He pressured Di Chirico to the back of the fence and threw a beautiful combination to end the fight. This was an important win for Kopylov after he dropped his first two fights in the UFC. Kopylov now has a record of 9-2 and will look to continue this positive momentum going forward.
The hometown hero, William Gomis, earns a decision victory in his UFC debut against Jarno Errens. In what was a closely contested bout, Gomis did more in the judge's eyes to get the nod. In total strikes, Gomis landed twice more than Errens. It got dangerous for the crowd favorite as Errens had Gomis in a triangle submission attempt in the third round. It appeared that the submission was getting tighter and tighter by the second, but Gomis snuck out and ended on top. It was a great UFC debut win for Gomis and a performance he will always remember.
The main card opener was between Charles Jourdain and Nathaniel Wood and it did not disappoint. From the start of round one, both men were going at it. Jourdain was getting the better of the exchanges in the beginning of the round until Wood got a takedown to slow things down. When getting the fight back to the feet, Wood was the one that was getting the better of the exchanges. Wood had Jourdain hurt as well towards the end of round one. Rounds two and three were contested in a "phone-booth" type of fight. Both fighters standing in the middle of the octagon and exchanging strikes in the clinch. As Yoel Romero would say, "dirty boxing." The difference in this fight was Wood have success with inside trips in. Wood would attack the body and throw some nice elbows as well in the clinch. This would have Jourdain guarding up and Wood would take advantage with the inside trips for the takedowns. Wood got the approval of the judges and earned a unanimous decision win against a tough opponent in Jourdain. Wood now has a professional record of 19-5 with back-to-back wins on his resume.