Paid Members wandshogun09 Posted August 9, 2022 Paid Members Share Posted August 9, 2022 (edited) After years of red tape and political bullshit, the Octagon finally makes its first ever appearance in France with this lot… ESPN MAIN CARDCiryl Gane vs Tai Tuivasa Robert Whittaker vs Marvin Vettori Nassourdine Imavov vs Joaquin Buckley Alessio Di Chirico vs Roman Kopylov William Gomis vs Jarno Errens Charles Jourdain vs Nathaniel Wood ESPN+/FIGHT PASS PRELIMSDustin Stoltzfus vs Abus Magomedov Nasrat Haqparast vs John Makdessi Fares Ziam vs Michal Figlak Benoit St Denis vs Gabriel Miranda Khalid Taha vs Cristian Quinonez Ailin Perez vs Stephanie Egger I’m pretty certain there’ll be a few more fights added to this yet. Although they should probably get a move on, the show is less than a month away now and only 9 fights? I quite like most of what’s there though. Top two fights are very strong for a Fight Night double header and there’s a few points of interest on the undercard. Ciryl Gane vs Tai Tuivasa tops the bill. A fitting headliner for the first ever France card and I quite like it. I remember originally when talk started about main event options for this card, the rumour was we were gonna get Gane vs Curtis Blaydes. Obviously this is a much more favourable matchup style-wise for ‘Bon Gamin’. It’s the old classic technician vs slugger clash. Of course, this card is being built around Gane. He’s France’s own and actually fights out of Paris at the MMA Factory. I’m not sure how into MMA the French are in general but I’m sure the crowd that turns up will love the big man. I’m a fan myself. I’ve seen a lot of negativity towards Gane. Whether it be criticism about his style, a supposed lack of personality, whatever. I like him. In a division almost full of brawlers and fatties, I find Gane a breath of fresh air. His style is completely different to pretty much anyone we’ve ever seen in the UFC Heavyweight division. If you‘ve watched Heavyweight Kickboxing at the highest level then nothing he does is earth shattering but in a MMA setting, there isn’t really anyone else with his overall box of tricks when it comes to pure striking. I still think he’s got a ton of potential. People forget but he’s only 11 fights into his MMA career. He’s not the finished article. He came in as an undefeated Kickboxer (13-0) and after just 3 MMA fights he was making his UFC debut. In just his seventh fight he was beating former champ Junior Dos Santos. Then schooled Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Alexander Volkov in 5 rounders. He got criticised for those performances but he dominated and, again, these were only fights 8 and 9 in his MMA career. From there he stopped Derrick Lewis to become interim champion last summer and the big ‘friends turned foes’ collision was set for UFC 270 in January. And Gane suffered his first loss. It was a disaster for him, to be honest. It wasn’t a total shutout or anything. He was having some success on the feet and he won some rounds. But he definitely didn’t do enough to win the decision and all anyone really remembers is that he got outwrestled by a gammy kneed Francis Ngannou. Not good. Of course everyone shat on him after the loss and a lot of people seem to have completely written him off for good. Obviously there’s a lot of work to be done. But I think there’s much better to come. I remember the days when everyone turned on Ngannou after the terrible losses to Stipe and Lewis and that slump is barely mentioned these days. It can be done. Especially at Heavyweight. Even the Ngannou loss, I think a lot of Gane’s problem there was just the element of surprise. The last thing anyone saw coming was Ngannou going all Khabib later in the fight. He played a blinder really. So Gane’s 10-1 now and coming into this fight off the first loss of his fighting career. In MMA and Kickboxing, this was his first taste of defeat. As we often say, it’s always interesting to see how a fighter reacts and bounces back from their first loss. I get the feeling Gane can do it. Big Tai’s hoping to fuck the homecoming right up though. Over the last couple of years he’s really become one of the most popular Heavyweights on the roster. For one, his personality has gained him a following. He’s never short of something to say and he always just seems like he’s having fun and loving life. In the cage, during fight week, out of the cage, the lot. He’s easy to like. The ‘shoey’ thing is vile though. Drinking beer out of some random’s Air Max that they’ve had their sweaty foot in all night? Nah I’m alright. It gets people talking though. It’s basically the UFC version of Droz’s ‘Puke’ gimmick in late 90s WWF. It’s gross but it’s a talking point. And of course it helps that in the cage he brings it, he’s a proper heavy hitter and he’s not shy at all about letting the haymakers fly. Is it any wonder though when he’s spent a big chunk of his adult life trading bombs with this fucker… The legendary ‘Super Samoan’ Mark Hunt. The footage is out there and, yeah, they spar like fucking cavemen idiots. In the early days of MMA (or NHB back then), that kind of meatheaded training was all the rage. In 2022, I’m sure it still goes on a lot more than we’d like to think, but thankfully attitudes have changed a lot and at the highest levels, a lot of the top players in the sport train smarter these days. These two give no fucks though. Like Gane, Tuivasa has actually fought in Kickboxing (14-2 with 10 knockouts) and dabbled in Pro Boxing (5-2 with 3 knockouts). And while MMA is where he’s found his home, he’s pretty much just a striker in MMA gloves. I can’t remember him showing any kind of grappling but if there’s any division you might get away with being one dimensional in, it’s definitely Heavyweight. A sledgehammer right hand goes a long way in that circus. And Tai’s on a pretty strong run. He’s 14-3 now, 13 of his 14 wins came via KO and he’s currently on a 5 fight winning streak that includes knockouts over Greg Hardy (😊), Augusto Sakai and in his most recent fight he stopped Derrick Lewis with a brutal standing elbow. The stage is set. On paper, I think you’ve got to favour Gane pretty heavily here, right? He’s got all the advantages bar raw punching power. Tuivasa is always dangerous and he’s fearless and confident. He’s coming to knock heads off. But when you look at their styles, Tai’s really got a ‘puncher’s chance’ and that’s it. It’s basically Gane vs Lewis all over again and we saw how that went. Lewis barely laid a glove on him and got methodically picked apart and stopped. I think this’ll look similar but I hope Tai makes more of a fight of it than Lewis did. And you never know. The x-factor here could be that Gane’s confidence might be a little shook coming off his first loss. Plus he’s got the pressure of headlining the first ever card in his home country. Tuivasa’s strolling in with the pressure off and, as fun loving as he is, I get the feeling he’s gonna really embrace being the villain in this one. That’s all speculation though and I don’t see Gane crumbling. He comes across very cool headed. Purely going on the styles, I’m having a hard time seeing Tai getting much done. It feels like a matchup designed to send the French fans home happy. We’ll see. Robert Whittaker vs Marvin Vettori is a cracking co-main event. They could’ve easily had this headline a Fight Night itself. It would look right at home on a PPV main card as well. Really like this pairing. It was actually pencilled in for UFC 275 in Singapore originally but Whittaker pulled out. Glad they rescheduled it. It’s kind of a weird fight in a way. Both are sort of in limbo in the Middleweight division at the moment. They’re two of the most formidable 185ers on the roster but they’re also both 0-2 down to the champ Israel Adesanya. So they’re out of the title race for the time being. In Whittaker’s case, there was some debate over the decision against Izzy in their February rematch. A fair few had Bobby Knuckles winning, I don’t see it myself and I wanted Whittaker to win. Regardless, he’s gonna have a tough time getting a third fight. And Vettori got outclassed by Adesanya in their second fight last year. They’re in no man’s land. So really, there aren’t even any stakes to this. It’s just a fight to keep both ticking over. Fine with me. Should be good. Whittaker was on a strong run before that loss to Adesanya last time out. He beat Darren Till, Jared Cannonier and Kelvin Gastelum and looked better with each fight. And Vettori rebounded with a win in a cracking 5 round battle with Paulo Costa in October. That one kind of got forgotten when those crazy Gaethje/Chandler and Holloway/Yair fights went down shortly after but, for me, Vettori vs Costa was genuinely one of my favourite fights of 2021. Looking forward to this. Actually wouldn’t mind seeing this get extended to 5 rounds. Sod it. Nassourdine Imavov vs Joaquin Buckley. Could be good. I haven’t seen enough Imavov to really judge though. He was born in Dagestan but he’s French by nationality and lives and trains there. Teammate of Ciryl Gane. I know I’ve seen him fight but my memory is hazy. Looking up his record, he’s 11-3 with 9 inside the distance. Didn’t do much of note for the first 10 or so fights of his career and dropped a decision to Phil Hawes in early 2021. Since then though, he’s stopped Ian Heinisch and Edmen Shahbazyan. Not bad going. He’s got his hands full here with Buckley though. Yeah, I’ve posted it a hundred times. I’ll probably post it a thousand more. One of the craziest and most spectacular knockouts in MMA history. Maybe the best ever. For years it was the Barboza vs Etim spinning kick of doom for me. Silva vs Belfort was right up there as well. But as breathtaking as they were, we’ve seen similar knockouts since. But Buckley’s kind of modified enziguri was fucking ridiculous and will probably never be repeated. The only knockout that might beat it for me would be Yair’s elbow on the Zombie. For the KO itself plus the context of the way the fight played out, one second left etc. Anyway, Buckley’s more than just that one mad KO. He’s 15-4 with 11 knockouts and is currently riding a solid 3 fight win streak. Battered Albert Duraev to a doctor stoppage in June and bagged himself a POTN bonus for his efforts. He’s a big hitter and I love watching him but he’s one of those guys where I don’t really know what he’s got beyond the power. And I’m not familiar enough with Imavov to gauge whether he’ll be able to ask those questions of him. I’m intrigued though. Definitely a fight I’ll be watching with interest. Alessio Di Chirico vs Roman Kopylov. Not doing much for me this. Always been pretty indifferent to Di Chirico. Aside from the big headkick knockout win over Joaquin Buckley a while ago, he’s had a rough old run. He’s 13-6 overall, has lost 4 of his last 5 and even the one bright spot in the Buckley KO, he tasted his own medicine and suffered a headkick KO himself in his very next fight when Abdul Razak Alhassan volleyed his head off in just 17 seconds! Good job Vettori is around to rep Italy. Paulie Walnuts wouldn’t claim this jabroni. Barely remember Kopylov. He came into the UFC unbeaten but has gone 0-2 since, losing to Karl Roberson and Albert Duraev. I probably saw both fights but nothing is jumping out in my memory. William Gomis vs Jarno Errens. Not a clue. Both are making their UFC debuts and I’m not familiar with either. Gomis is French, 10-2 with 7 finishes and currently riding an 8 fight winning streak. He was briefly scheduled to fight the shell of Renan Barao on an Ares show in June but Barao pulled out of the fight. Errens is Dutch, 13-3-1 with 8 finishes and will be the first fighter from Holland to compete in the UFC since Alistair Overeem left the promotion last year. This fight doesn’t sound like a bad addition to the undercard and at least it gets another French fighter on there. With the Doumbe thing falling through, the Lapilus return going tits up, and Fiorot and Fairn having fights fall off the card, it’s been far from ideal getting French fighters on this one. Hopefully this fight stays intact. Quite interested to get my first look at both now actually. Charles Jourdain vs Nathaniel Wood is ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** and sounds like an absolute banger on paper. This just got added with 3 weeks to go until the show. A pleasant surprise. Obviously they were gonna have to add a few fights but I never expected anything of this quality this late in the day. I never even considered Jourdain for this card when we were trying to think of fighters that would make sense for it a while ago. But with him being French-Canadian, from Montreal, it fits. Got to be the front runner for FOTN now. Jourdain has been a bit hot and cold results-wise but, win or lose, he’s been a lot of fun to watch. He’s coming off a close decision loss in a tremendous fight with Shane Burgos in July. Before that he’d literally choked Lando Vannata out of his shorts. He’s also had really entertaining fights with Andre Ewell, Marcelo Rojo and the Korean Superboy during his UFC stint. At just 26 years old it would seem he’s got a lot of potential but I’m not sure he’ll ever quite get over the hump, just because he’s so wild and not consistent enough getting the wins. Nathaniel Wood is back. It’s been a rough couple of years. He came in with a fair bit of hype a few years back, Cage Warriors champ and looked the business on the UK scene. Submitted his first 3 opponents in the UFC and everything was going well. Losses to John Dodson and Casey Kenney in 2020 derailed him a bit but worse than that, he had a disaster 2 year layoff following that. After a bunch of planned fights falling through, he finally got back in there on the London card in July. It was a fresh start in a new division, he went up to Featherweight and never looked better. Beat Charles Rosa on points in one of the real standout performances on that card. He’d said going in that he was done with cutting to 135 and felt like he’d be better and have more energy at 145. He really looked at home at Featherweight in that Rosa fight. He’s being thrown right into a firefight with Jourdain here as well so this could be chaos. I think Jourdain might bring out a different side of Wood. Great fight. Dustin Stoltzfus vs Abus Magomedov. Not a clue. Can’t really remember much of Stoltzfus. Looking at his record to refresh my memory, him getting subbed by Gerald Meerschaert and Rodolfo Vieira is my only real point of reference. So not the best. He’s 14-4 overall and did snap his losing streak recently, taking a points win off Dwight Grant on the Ortega vs Rodriguez card in July. That was only a few weeks ago. How have I already got zero recollection of it? And I’ve never seen this Magomedov chap. Sherdog tells me he’s Dagestani/German and 24-4-1 with 19 finishes. Doesn’t sound too shabby but looking at the opposition he’s faced, there’s not a great deal to go on. He’s already been scheduled to make his debut a couple of times and it’s been scrapped due to visa issues. Hopefully he finally makes it to the cage this time. Nasrat Haqparast vs John Makdessi. Not a bad fight by any means but it’s not really grabbing me by the bollocks either. They’ve both had their moments but my main memories of both are of them being on the losing end. Haqparast comes into this fight off a couple of decision losses to Dan Hooker and Bobby Green. In fairness, I think that’s a bit too high a level for him anyway. And he had just lost his mum during his camp for the Hooker fight. He’s still only 26, which is nuts to me because it seems like he’s been on the roster forever. In theory he’s got some time. But I just don’t see it. Pretty much every time he’s stepped up a level he’s come unstuck. As for Makdessi, he’s knocked about a bit. 37 years old now, 18-7 record. Does actually have a few notable wins over blasts from the past Sam Stout, Daron Cruickshank and Ross Pearson. But the first thing I think of when I see the name Makdessi is him getting spin kicked into oblivion years ago by Lando Vannata. He did have an absolute belter against Ignacio Bahamondes last time out though, and he took a split decision win from that. So there’s still some ammo left there. I don’t know. Maybe this’ll be better than I’m making it sound. Fares Ziam vs Michal Figlak just got chucked on this card. Ziam’s 25 years old, 12-4 and coming off a quick submission loss against Terrance McKinney in February. He was released after that but they’ve brought him back already, just because he’s French and the card is in France, I suppose. To be fair to him, I thought they were harsh letting him go when they did anyway. McKinney made short work of him but Ziam was coming off 2 wins before that. Very unusual these days for a fighter to get binned off one loss. And when you see Sam Alvey getting 6th, 7th and 8th chances, where’s the justice? It’s the UFC debut of Michal Figlak that makes this worth your time though. He’s Polish but fights out of England, undefeated at 8-0 with 4 knockouts and has been on a bit of a roll in Cage Warriors. I’ve completely lost track of CW the last few years, which is unfortunate because I always enjoyed their shows when I used to follow them. But I’ve heard good things about Figlak so I’m looking forward to this. Didn’t even know he was signed, or that Ziam was back, but here we are. Benoit St Denis vs Gabriel Miranda. Late addition here. St Denis was supposed to face Christos Giagos on this card but Giagos picked up an injury. Bit hazy on St Denis to be honest. He’s French, 9-1-0-1 and has fought twice in the UFC now, lost his debut against Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos in October but then dropped to 155 and rebounded with a submission over Niklas Stolze in June. My only real recollection of him was the beating he took in the Dos Santos fight where the ref just stood around waiting for someone to die. Don’t know Miranda. He’s Brazilian, 32 years old with a record of 16-5 and all 16 wins came inside the distance. This’ll be his UFC debut. Khalid Taha vs Cristian Quinonez. This was supposed to be Taha welcoming France’s own Taylor Lapilus back to the UFC but Lapilus dropped off the card with a broken hand. In steps Octagon newcomer Quinonez. He’s Mexican, 26 years old and has a solid record of 17-3, 12 inside the distance. He’s gone 5 rounds before and he won a fight on DWCS last October. Taha’s nothing special from what I remember. 13-4-0-1 and has gone 1-3-0-1 during his dismal run in the UFC. He’s also managed to squeeze a weight miss and a drug test failure in there. Full house! Ailin Perez vs Stephanie Egger. Not the best. This was supposed to be Perez against Zarah Fairn but Fairn’s out. Another French fighter off the card. Perez is making her Octagon debut here. She’s Argentinian, 27 years old and she’s 7-1 with 5 finishes. Hasn’t beat anyone of note yet. She’s now up against Egger, who I’ve never really rated. She’s Swiss, 34 years old and 7-3. She’s had a funny old year so far. Made short work of Jessica Rose Clark with a first round armbar in February. Then in August she got subbed by armbar herself, even quicker, by Mayra Bueno Silva. She tried to deny she tapped after, which didn’t reflect well on her. She’s out to redeem herself with a quick turnaround here. Complete mystery though because I don’t know how good Perez actually is. So that’s that for now. Like I say, not bad at all. The main and co-main are ace, I think. Then you’ve got Buckley, the sure fire FOTN in Jourdain vs Wood, the return of Taylor Lapilus, the debut of Abus Magomedov, hopefully the debut of Cedric Doumbe. The only noticeable omission really is rising French Flyweight contender Manon Fiorot. She was scheduled for this card but planned fights with Chookagian and Andrade fell through. She’s fighting Chookagian at UFC 280 in October now. I think this is a solid card so far. Could do with some Jerome Le Banner though. And I’m not even joking. And Cheick Kongo should do a run in and knee someone’s ballbag up into their stomach for old time’s sake. Au revoir, cocksuckas. Edited September 3, 2022 by wandshogun09 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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