Ciryl Gane and Tai Tuivasa closed out UFC's debut in Paris in dramatic fashion. Gane punished and eventually put away Tuivasa in a thrilling Fight Night headliner full of momentum swings.
After a slow start to the opening round, the second and third rounds brought the action and then some. "Bam Bam" hurled a wild right hand that dropped Gane and appeared, at least for a moment, to have knocked out the hometown hero. Gane scrambled to his feet, dodged incoming blows and conjured a cruel body kick that sent Tuivasa into retreat. Gane advanced for the finish but was deterred by a left hook that stumbled him. The round closed out with Gane landing better offense, folding Tuivasa with body kicks and complimenting it with a heavy uppercut.
Gane committed to the body attacks in Round 3. The elusive kickboxer repeatedly hurt his foe with body shots to disguise a massive head kick that nearly nearly shut off Tuivasa. The Australian fighter tucked his otherworldly chin and swung back to keep Gane at bay. In the closing minute of the round, Gane threw multiple front kicks to the midsection that noticeably hurt Tuivasa. Gane pivoted off the back foot to get an angle on an advancing Tuivasa and unleashed a hellacious counter-right uppercut. The punch snapped Tuivasa's chin back at an uncomfortable angle and gave Gane a position outside of Tuivasa's vision from which to reign blows. Gane knocked down Tuivasa and followed with two hammer fists that separated his opponent from consciousness.
"Nobody on this planet expected this from the fans of France. It makes me so happy!" Gane said during the post-fight interview. "You may have London, England, but you also have Paris.
"No matter who, Dana [White], I want to go back to the [UFC heavyweight] belt. Please."
Gane bounced back from his only career loss to UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou at UFC 270 and improved to 11-1 since making his professional mixed martial arts debut in 2018. Gane remains the No. 1 ranked fighter in the division. Tuivasa fell to 14-4 overall and snapped a stellar five-fight winning streak, the best of his UFC tenure.
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