After the UFC made its debut appearance in Paris last fall, an early September visit to the French capital is on the calendar as the Octagon once again touches down at Accor Arena this weekend for a show capped by a fascinating heavyweight pairing and featuring some exciting new arrivals making the walk for the first time.
Similar to last September, French heavyweight Ciryl Gane competes in the main event, facing off with surging contender Serghei Spivac in a fight that will have an immediate impact on the landscape at the top of the big boy ranks, while contender Manon Fiorot welcomes ex-strawweight queen Rose Namajunas to the flyweight division for the first time in the co-main event.
It’s another excellent card rich with European talents and compelling matchups, and we’ve got all the info you need to know about every fight and fighter on Saturday’s show here for your enjoyment in the latest edition of the Fight-By-Fight Preview.
Main Event: Ciryl Gane vs. Serghei Spivac
Location: Accor Arena — Paris, France
Where to Watch: ESPN / ESPN+
Other Main Card Matches:
- Manon Fiorot vs. Rose Namajunas
- Benoit Saint Denis vs. Thiago Moises
- Volkan Oezdemir vs. Bogdan Guskov
- William Gomis vs. Yanis Ghemmouri
- Morgan Charriere vs. Manolo Zecchini
- Taylor Lapilus vs. Caolan Loughran
- Ange Loosa vs. Rhys McKee
- Nora Cornolle vs. Joselyne Edwards
- Farid Basharat vs. Kleydson Rodrigues
- Zarah Fairn vs. Jacqueline Cavalcante
Main Event: Ciryl Gane vs Serghei Spivac
For the second consecutive year, ranked heavyweights headline in Paris, as Ciryl Gane faces off with Serghei Spivac.
Saturday marks Gane’s first appearance since his UFC 285 loss to Jon Jones, where he lasted just over two minutes against the longtime light heavyweight ruler, falling short in his second bid to claim the undisputed UFC heavyweight title. Last year, Gane was in a similar position and rebounded with a big stoppage win over Tai Tuivasa, but it’ll be interesting to see if the freshness of fighting at home has worn off and the pressure of trying to bounce back once again starts to wear on him here.
Spivac began his UFC run with two losses in his first three starts, but since then, the 28-year-old has gone 6-1, posting three wins on either side of a loss to British contender Tom Aspinall. Over his last three outings, the Moldovan “Polar Bear” has taken things up a notch, registering stoppage wins over Greg Hardy, Augusto Sakai, and Derrick Lewis by playing to his strengths on the ground and attacking his opponents with confidence.
Stylistically, this is a gripping matchup, as Gane’s only two losses have come in bouts where he was thoroughly out-wrestled, and Spivac is at his best when he looks to get inside and get his adversaries on the canvas.
How much has “Bon Gamin” improved since his last outing and can he keep Spivac from turning this into a wrestling match? Will the streaking mauler continue running roughshod over the competition or does Gane represent a level Spivac hasn’t quite reached just yet?
It’s a fascinating matchup to close out the show.
Other Main Card Fights
Manon Fiorot vs Rose Namajunas
Top contender Manon Fiorot returns to defend her place in the contender’s queue at flyweight in a tantalizing matchup with former strawweight champ Rose Namajunas in Saturday’s penultimate pairing.
Unbeaten in five UFC starts and having won 10 straight overall, Fiorot cemented her standing as one of the top title threats in the 125-pound weight class last October with a unanimous decision win over Katlyn Chookagian. A knee injury forced her to the sidelines, where she watched as Alexa Grasso unseated Valentina Shevchenko from the flyweight throne, making a rematch between the two an inevitable engagement and forcing her to fight on in order to maintain her place in the pecking order.
After making each of her first 16 professional appearances at strawweight, Namajunas moves up to flyweight for the first time. It’s her first outing since dropping the strawweight strap to Carla Esparza last May at UFC 274, and an immediate opportunity to get a clear read on not only where she could potentially fit in the division, but also where she’s at from a drive and motivation standpoint as well.
This has the potential to be a captivating contest as both women are excellent strikers with good power, clean technique, and a willingness to engage. How will Namajunas navigate the move up in weight and what does Fiorot look like after nearly a year on the sidelines? These questions and many more will be answered Saturday evening at Accor Arena.
Benoit Saint Denis vs Thiago Moises
Benoît Saint-Denis Gets Epic TKO In Front Of His Home Crowd | UFC Fight Night: Gane vs Tuivasa
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Benoît Saint-Denis Gets Epic TKO In Front Of His Home Crowd | UFC Fight Night: Gane vs Tuivasa
Benoit Saint-Denis and Thiago Moises face off in an all-action pairing in the lightweight division on Saturday’s main card.
The 27-year-old Saint-Denis is 3-0 since returning to the lightweight division following his debut loss up in weight against Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos. The former paratrooper and judo black belt has earned dominant victories and stoppages in each of those three outings, most recently submitting Ismael Bonfim in the first round at the start of July.
Moises is one of those competitors that flits in and out of the Top 15 in the lightweight division based on what else is happening around him. He was ranked prior to consecutive losses to Islam Makhachev and Joel Alvarez, but remains without a number next to his name despite consecutive stoppage wins over Christos Giagos and Melquizael Costa that elevated is record to 5-2 over his last seven appearances.
Saint-Denis is a marauder who throws heavy shots and looks to bulldoze his opponents, while Moises is much more of a tactician, preferring back-takes to knockout blows. It’ll be interesting to see who is able to dictate the terms of engagement here and which of these two talents will continue moving forward in the loaded lightweight division.
Volkan Oezdemir vs Bogdan Guskov
Top 15 staple Volkan Oezdemir makes his return this weekend, welcoming newcomer Bogdan Guskov to the Octagon for the first time.
A fixture in the light heavyweight division since his short-notice debut win over Ovince Saint Preux way back in February 2017, Oezdemir arrives in Paris off a loss to Nikita Krylov at UFC 280 last October and having earned just one win in his last four outings. He’s quite literally only faced ranked opposition, so his 6-6 record under the UFC banner is a little misleading, but the 33-year old has dropped six of nine since his hot start and could use a strong showing here to get things moving in the right direction again.
Born in Uzbekistan and representing Russia, Guskov is a 30-year-old debutant with a 14-2 record forged against largely unheralded competition. He’s done his part by dispatching each of the 14 men he’s beaten inside the distance, but it’ll be interesting to see what he brings to the table as he takes a major step up on short notice here.
Originally slated to face Azamat Murzakanov, Oezdemir will need to reset his focus and prepare for a fighter with nothing to lose, while Guskov steps into an all-upside proposition: win and you potentially rocket yourself into the light heavyweight rankings, but lose, and you’ve fallen to a divisional fixture on short notice while securing yourself a place on the UFC roster.
William Gomis vs Yanis Ghemmouri
William Gomis makes his second appearance in Paris as he faces off with Yanis Ghemmouri in this featherweight main card fixture.
Gomis looked tentative and slightly overwhelmed while edging out Jarno Errens in their shared promotional debuts last September, but turned in a much more confident and impressive showing in beating Francis Marshall in April. He’s now won 10 straight and appears to be settling into life on the UFC roster, so it’ll be curious to see if he can deliver a more dominant showing in his second chance to compete in front of the partisan Parisienne crowd.
A training partner of UFC lightweight Fares Ziam, the 28-year-old Ghemmouri owns a 12-1 record and nine-fight winning streak heading into this weekend’s event in Paris. “The Desert Warrior” has been amassing wins under the Brave CF banner as of late, but faced limited competition prior to those efforts.
Morgan Charriere vs Manolo Zecchini
A battle of UFC freshmen closes out the prelims, as well, as Morgan Charriere faces off with Manolo Zecchini.
“The Last Pirate” briefly held the Cage Warriors featherweight strap and drops anchor in Paris on a three-fight winning streak. Zecchini has earned back-to-back victories and has wins in four of his last five, but the level of competition the 26-year-old Italian has faced pales in comparison to those Charriere has shared the cage with thus far.
Can Charriere show why he was a beloved fan favourite under the Cage Warriors banner or will Zecchini spoil his debut while claiming victory for himself?
Taylor Lapilus vs Caolan Loughran
Taylor Lapilus takes on Irish prospect Caolan Loughran in the featured prelim.
Still only 31 years old, Lapilus went 3-1 in his first tour through the UFC and has gone 7-1 since, including wins over Josh Hill, Nate Maness, and Wilson Reis.
FREE FIGHT: Ciryl Gane vs Tai Tuivasa
Highly regarded and sporting an 8-0 record as a professional, Loughran is the latest Irish prospect to touch down inside the Octagon. Training out of Team Kaobon in Liverpool, the confident and powerful Loughran has blown through his last four opponents in Cage Warriors, besting former champ Luke Shanks before toppling Dylan Hazan to claim the vacant bantamweight title in his most recent outing.
Someone’s lengthy winning streak will end this weekend, while the victor will immediate establish himself as the next in a growing list of talented young fighters looking to make waves in the robust bantamweight division.
Ange Loosa vs Rhys McKee
Ange Loosa broke through with his first UFC win last time out, and now Rhys McKee is back for a second stint on the roster, searching for a similar experience this weekend in Paris.
Loosa dropped a competitive fight to surging welterweight contender Jack Della Maddalena on Dana White’s Contender Series, and was recalled to the UFC after a win on the regional circuit, falling to Mounir Lazzez before winning a war of attrition against AJ Fletcher last summer in Salt Lake City. McKee was thrown in with Khamzat Chimaev in his short-notice debut a couple years back on Fight Island, and then dropped a spirited battle with Alex Morono, resulting in his release. He’s won three straight since to earn a call back, and will look to maintain his run of finishes when he faces off with Loosa here.
Can “The Last Ninja” earn a second straight victory or will “Skeletor” finally break through?
Nora Cornolle vs Joselyne Edwards
French Muay Thai stylist Nora Cornolle makes the walk to the UFC cage for the first time in Paris, stepping in with veteran Joselyne Edwards in a bantamweight engagement.
FREE FIGHT: Serghei Spivac vs Derrick Lewis
The 34-year-old Cornolle only transitioned to MMA in the summer of 2021, losing her debut to Cavalcanti before rattling off six straight victories, all by stoppage. Seven years her junior but significantly more experienced in the cage, Edwards has earned three straight wins, to extend her record to 13-4, though her last two victories were each hotly debated split decisions.
Cornolle is sure to have the crowd behind her and has exhibited an aggressive, attacking style thus far, so it’ll be incumbent on Edwards to keep her at distance, test her grappling if she gets in close, and lean on her experience to carry her through.
Farid Basharat vs Kleydson Rodrigues
Business kicks off in the bantamweight division, with Farid Basharat taking on fellow DWCS alum Kleydson Rodrigues.
Unbeaten in 10 professional outings, Basharat earned a unanimous decision win over Da’Mon Blackshear in his promotional debut earlier this year, a win that has aged nicely given Blackshear’s recent efforts. Rodrigues missed weight for consecutive flyweight assignments and now moves up to the 135-pound ranks, looking to tap into the form that produced eight wins in 10 starts thus far.
Basharat, like his older brother Javid, shows a ton of promise, but Rodrigues is a fiery, explosive fighter that is not to be trifled with either. This should be an outstanding way to kick things off at Accor Arena.
Zarah Fairn vs Jaqueline Cavalcanti
Zarah Fairn missed out on the opportunity to compete in Paris last year, but gets her chance here as she matches up with promotional newcomer Jacqueline Cavalcanti on Saturday’s prelims.
The 36-year-old Fairn battled vigilantly against Josiane Nunes in January at UFC 283, only to land on the wrong side of the results for the third consecutive outing. Cavalcanti arrives in the UFC with a 5-1 record, most recently having claimed the LFA bantamweight title with a unanimous division win over Melissa Croden.
UFC Fight Night: Gane vs Spivac took place live from the Accor Arena in Paris, France on September 2, 2023. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!