Ciryl Gane and Tai Tuivasa had the Accor Arena on their feet when the pair put on a slugfest in the main event of UFC Paris. However, UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou isn’t convinced with Ciryl Gane’s performance.
The French crowd erupted after Ciryl Gane knocked out Tai Tuivasa in the third round last night, which concluded a perfect night for the home fighters going (5-0). His former opponent and teammate Francis Ngannou was in attendance and indicated that’s how he had envisioned the fight going down.
Ngannou handed Gane his first loss by unanimous decision when they clashed in a heated contest back in January of 2022. The Cameroon-born identified the skill-set Gane displayed on the night but found it difficult to get fired up due to the outcome of their last meeting.
Francis Ngannou on UFC Paris Main Event
“I know he’s a great fighter,” Ngannou said on the ESPN+ post-fight show (via MMA Junkie). “It’s hard to respond to that question for the guy that I beat, if I’m impressed with him. He’s here for a reason. I fought him for a reason, because he was probably the No. 1 contender. Yes, he’s good. But, I’m the champ. So, it’s really hard to be impressed.”
With that being said, Ngannou was pleased with the entertainment Gane and Tuivasa provided.
“That fight was very electric, though,” Ngannou said. “There were good actions in the fight. At some point, you see the fight was half-half and then it switched back to Ciryl’s side, which is what I thought. As far as distance, he’s good at controlling that and he was able to apply that in the fight tonight. You can see the body [work], that’s what got him the victory. It was just like strategic, technical type of fight.”
Gane will now remain in the No. 1 spot on the UFC heavyweight rankings. The Frenchmen’s next opponent is up in the air, with Ngannou still being side-lined after undergoing an operation on his knee. Ngannou did give an indication of the current state of his recovery and a timeline for when we can see him back.
“I don’t have any timeline or exact timeline for the return,” Ngannou said. “I’m going to see the doctor one week from now. I’m following up with the doctor to see how it’s going. It’s going pretty good, but you have to give it some time. It’s not like it’s going to be great, and It’s been five months. I kind of [need] some more time.”
Ngannou’s future with the UFC is still in doubt, with his contract set to terminate in Jan 2023. The 35-year-old has put forward his interest in testing free agency and, more specific, the world of boxing.
Gane, on the other hand, may have to get by one more challenger before being granted a rematch with the champion, with many suggesting Curtis Blaydes as the worthy opponent.
Featured image credits to Embed from Getty Images