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MMA: the French Ciryl Gane and Manon Fiorot win during the UFC event organized in Paris

Six months after a crushing defeat against Jon Jones, French mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Ciryl Gane relaunched on Saturday September 2, easily defeating Moldovan Serghei Spivac at the Accor Arena in Paris , on the occasion of the second coming to France of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), the most prestigious MMA organization.

Favorite of the meeting, Gane, alias “Bon Gamin”, had to win to stay in the race for the UFC heavyweight belt. Livelier and more powerful than his opponent, ranked 7e rank of the category, Gane, pushed by the boiling public of the Accor Arena, won by KO during the second round.

This is his twelfth victory in fourteen fights, but he remained on an expeditious defeat against the American Jon Jones last March for the heavyweight belt.

“I accomplished my mission. I performed tonight to show the UFC that [la défaite contre Jones] was just a mistake and I need to get back into a fight for the belt”launched the standard bearer of French MMA, falling to third place in the heavyweight category.

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Fiorot ready for the world title

Spectators at the Accor Arena set the bar very high last year by producing an electric atmosphere when the UFC first came to France. But Bercy, once again full to bursting three years after the legalization of the discipline in France, was once again ignited.

The decibel level reached records, right from the first fight of the preliminary card, around 6:30 p.m. The 15,000 fans still had their breath more than five hours later to push Ciryl Gane.

Manon Fiorot (right) against Rose Namajunas, at the Accor Arena in Paris, September 2, 2023.

Meanwhile, the other spearhead of French MMA, Manon Fiorot, alias “The beast” (the beast) hit hard by winning against the American Rose Namajunas. Thanks to this victory, Fiorot should open the doors of a fight for the flyweight belt, currently held by the Mexican Alexa Grasso.

The Frenchwoman, bloodied on the scalp after hitting her opponent’s shoulder, won by unanimous decision against Namajunas, former double strawweight champion and who was fighting her first fight in the higher category. The American, who unsuccessfully tried to take the Frenchwoman to the ground, undoubtedly showed a power deficit against Fiorot, who now has six victories in as many fights in the UFC.


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“I beat a former champion, now give me a new champion!” It’s my turn ! », said Manon Fiorot. For her next fight, the 33-year-old Niçoise could therefore challenge the winner of the fight between Grasso and Valentina Shevchenko, who face each other in two weeks for the title.

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Seven French victories out of eight possible

A total of nine Frenchmen fought in the “cage” during this event on Saturday evening. Benoît Saint-Denis beat his toughest opponent so far, the Brazilian Thiago Moises. The former soldier, who has just signed a new contract with the UFC, set fire to Bercy and now has four victories in four fights. He ended the evening in the hospital due to a foot injury but still opens the doors to the top 15 in the lightweight category.

The first 100% French confrontation in UFC history, between William Gomis and Yanis Ghemmouri, ended in controversial fashion. During the third round, Ghemmouri interrupted the exchanges by complaining of an illegal blow to the lower abdomen. But the referee considered that Gomis’ middle kick was indeed valid and therefore declared Gomis the winner, a decision which caused incomprehension from the public.

For his part, Morgan Charrière made an explosive debut in the most prestigious MMA league in the world. The former champion of the British organization “Cage Warriors” delighted his fans by knocking out his opponent, the Italian Manolo Zecchini, in the first round. Taylor Lapilus fought a tough fight against the Irishman Caolan Loughran and won by unanimous decision.

For her UFC debut, Nora Cornolle, a kickboxing and muay-thai specialist, was taken to the ground several times by the experienced Panamanian Joselyne Edwards but she proved that she had resources by winning by unanimous decision. On the other hand, Zarah Fairn lost against the Portuguese Jacqueline Cavalcanti, fourteen years her junior at the opening of the evening. With now four defeats in as many fights, the former dancer sees her future in the UFC compromised.

The World with AFP

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