UFC returns to Europe, this time taking place in Paris, France, for the first time ever. Before that, the premier Hispanic MMA sports franchise, Combat Global, puts on a five-bout event tonight. Here’s what you need to know.
UFC: GANE VS TUIVASA
Until 2016, mixed martial arts were banned in France. With a rising national star in heavyweight Cyril Gane, now is the perfect time to arrange the first ever UFC event in France. Topping the card, Gane takes on Tai Tuivasa. Gane is the #1 ranked heavyweight, while Tuivasa holds the third place following a recent 5-win streak, most recently defeating Derrrick Lewis. Tuivasa punches hard and has a 20lbs advantage over Gane. The Frenchman, on his part, is agile and moves like a light-heavyweight but strikes like a heavyweight. He has a home advantage and the odds favour him. Nevertheless, the matchup is exciting. If Tuivasa manages to bring a brawl he could very well take it, but on athletic merit, fighter IQ, and well-roundedness I’m going with Gane.
The co-main places #1 ranked Middleweight Robert Whittaker vs #2 ranked Marvin Vettori. The division champion has weighed in saying he favours Whittaker and bookmakers agree. But Vittori has better takedown statistics and is an effective striker. His fight against Paolo Costa was a real battle and he has proven himself to be a worthy title contender despite his loss against Adesanya. Whittaker has also lost against Adesanya, but is a faster striker than Vettori and has topped the ranks of the division for some time. The Middleweight division is interesting and welcomes relatively large fighters who have greater stamina than the heavyweights – with this in mind the fight could turn out to be a true epic. And yet, sometimes we get disappointments like Romero vs Adesanya. If the fighters bring the heat it will no doubt be a suspenseful fight that might go the distance. I’m going with Whittaker by decision.
Also on the card is Nathaniel Woods who fought at UFC London where he walked away with a win. He faces Canada’s Charles Jourdain in a Featherweight bout. The Canadian is favoured but seeing Woods’s last performance live I think his determination will land him the win. The two fighters are well-matched and this promises to kick-start the main card with fireworks. The only female bout on the card is the first bout of the evening when Swiss Stephanie Egger takes on Argentinas Ailin Perez.
Ciryl Gane vs. Tai Tuivasa (heavyweight)
Robert Whittaker vs. Marvin Vettori (middleweight)
Alessio Di Chirico vs. Roman Kopylov (middleweight)
John Makdessi vs. Nasrat Haqparast (lightweight)
William Gomis vs. Jarno Errens (featherweight)
Charles Jourdain vs. Nathaniel Wood (featherweight)
Abus Magomedov vs. Dustin Stoltzfus (middleweight)
Fares Ziam vs. Michal Figlak (lightweight)
Nassourdine Imamov vs. Joaquin Buckley (middleweight)
Benoit Saint-Denis vs. Gabriel Miranda (lightweight)
Khalid Taha vs. Cristian Quinonez (bantamweight)
Stephanie Egger vs. Ailin Perez (women’s featherweight)
This weekend’s MMA events kick off with a USA vs Mexico showdown in Combat Global. In an anticipated battle between two featherweights (145 pounds), American Justin ”Slick J” Vazquez (8-2) will take on Mexico’s Jair ”El Lupe” Perez (7-2). Vazquez describes his fighting style as a mix of ”Cuban Karate,” ”slick wrestling,” kickboxing and submission grappling, facing #3 ranked Featherweight Perez.
In the flyweight (125 pounds) co-main event, fan favourite ”Malicious” Michael Reyes (7-5) of Oxnard, California squares off with Martin ”The Last Inca” Davila (7-3) of Miami.
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