Seven fights into his professional career, Ciryl Gane will headline a UFC event. It speaks to Gane's talent and performance in his first first four fights in the UFC Octagon. But big opportunities come with big risks, and in this case, a fight with one of the heaviest hitters in the heavyweight division, Jairzinho Rozenstruik.
Many would agree the heavyweight division needs fresh title contenders. Just two fights ago, Rozenstruik was in a similar position to Gane, undefeated and placed in a high profile fight that could help establish him as an immediate contender to the championship. Things didn't go well for Rozenstruik that night, losing to Francis Ngannou by knockout in just 20 seconds at UFC 249. But a rebound TKO win over former heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos rebuilt some faith in the 32-year-old knockout artist.
Gane has yet to experience any such speed bumps in his young career. Gane won the TKO heavyweight championship in his first fight as a professional in August 2018. After two successful title defenses, he got the call to the UFC, rattling off three wins before being positioned across the Octagon from dos Santos. Gane scored a TKO win over dos Santos, doing so roughly one minute quicker than Rozenstruik.
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The fight promises to end inside the planned five rounds. Rozenstruik has only been to the judges' scorecards once in his career, scoring ten knockout victories. Similarly, Gane has only gone the distance once in his career, but has an even split between submission and knockout victories at three each.
This is decidedly not a very deep card, but it still carries some important and fun names looking to establish themselves. Look no further than the co-main event where rising 205-pound prospect Magomed Ankalaev takes on veteran Nikita Krylov. Ankalaev is coming off a pair of thrilling stoppages against Ion Cutelaba in the last year. In fact, he's won five straight -- four by KO/TKO -- since losing his UFC debut to Paul Craig by submission. Krylov, meanwhile, has traded wins and losses since rejoining UFC in 2018 with a 2-2 record.
Here's the fight card for UFC Fight Night with the latest odds from William Hill Sportsbook.
UFC Fight Night card, odds
Ciryl Gane -280
Jairzinho Rozenstruik +230
Magomed Ankalaev -360
Nikita Krylov +280
Mayra Bueno Silva -140
Montana De La Rosa +120
|Jimmie Rivera -150||Pedro Munhoz +125||Bantamweight|
|Alex Caceres -200||Kevin Croom +170||Featherweight|
UFC Fight Night viewing information
Date: Feb. 27 | Start time: 8 p.m. ET
Location: UFC APEX -- Las Vegas
Ciryl Gane vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik: The -280 odds for Gane don't really indicate how tough of a fight this is to pick. Gane is the better technical striker and also gets hit less than Rozenstruik. That combination of better technique and better striking, along with Gane being better at managing distance, should make him a fairly easy pick. But Rozenstruik possesses some of the most frightening one-punch knockout power in a division loaded with heavy hitters. Gane could control every second of the fight until one shot from Rozenstruik shuts out his lights. The only man in the UFC who hasn't fallen victim to that fate was Ngannou, and he simply took Rozenstruik out so quickly that the opportunity for that knockout shot never came.
This feels like a fight that will start slowly, likely with Gane controlling the early action working the distance and popping off kicks to try and soften up Rozenstruik. But the biggest overlooked factor in the fight could be the smaller Octagon that has been in use during the pandemic era shows in the UFC APEX. The smaller Octagon forces action and without much room to move around, Gane could eventually find himself in range for one of Rozenstruik's bombs. Pick: Jairzinho Rozenstruik via TKO2