Ciryl Gane inflicts a K.-O. to Tai Tuivasa at UFC Paris

They had come, they were all there, the French MMA fans. Well, no, not all of them. Only the 12,000 who had rushed to the ticket office, from 10 a.m. on June 24. Before 12 p.m., the Accor Arena was full. Nearly 200,000 requests had been registered. Happy couple.

Enthusiasm for a sport banned from the city for more than 20 years in France? Real development of the practice in France, driven by the success, in particular, of Ciryl Gane, the number 1 heavyweight? The arena was full and the UFC could rub their hands for this coming on hexagonal soil. At 5:00 p.m., an already compact crowd, stretched over several hundred meters, wrapped around the enclosure. Young people, mainly, but not only, families too, who came to discover the UFC phenomenon, the world’s largest MMA organization. The Minister of Sports, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, had also made the trip, sitting in the front row and grimacing in particular on the ground strike phases.

Ngannou and Usman present in the room

She did not stay until the end and will have missed part of the French festival: five fighters engaged and as many successes. In the forefront of which the headliner of the evening, the n°1 heavyweight, Ciryl Gane (32 years old, 10 wins, 1 loss, 6-1 UFC), opposed to n°3, the Australian Tai Tuivasa (29, 14-3, 11-3 UFC).

Francis Ngannou, the reigning world champion and Kamaru Usman, former welterweight champion, also present, will have enjoyed the show. That of an Arena which sings in chorus La Marseillaise during the first recovery, which chants “Ciryl! Ciril! A Gane who does what he knows how to do best: touch without being touched, trying to avoid the power of his opponent… until 1’30” from the end of the 2nd round… Where Gane is knocked down, which Francis Ngannou had failed to do.

The fight then becomes wild, titanic. The Frenchman has in front of him a tree, a rock, a mountain that takes the blows of flinching. Gane understands that he must change his strategy: it will be war and a power development that he never delivered for a huge knockout. in the 3rd round. Unbelievable ! “I have no words to describe how incredible the audience is: thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you! »

Grand slam for the Blues

Benoît Saint-Denis (26, 10-1, 2-1 UFC), had lit the fire first, entering to the sound of NTM, “Seine Saint-Denis style”, of course. Ovation for the former special forces soldier. Generous, as usual, the lightweights delivered without a second thought. Saved in extremis by the gong in the first, the 2nd recovery would not go further than the first 20 seconds, his opponent was struck on a hook. “I am hard as a rock, you will soon realize that. I hope to give you much joy in the future. You are great ! »enthused Saint-Denis.

Fares Ziam imitated him, winning by decision, just like William Gomis, after 15 minutes of combat and attempted triangle from his opponent. “I would rather die than let go. And I heard this audience, I couldn’t let go! We are in Paris ! » In addition to Ciryl Gane, we also expected a lot from Nassourdine Imavov, n°12 in the middleweight category. Facing Joaquin Buckley, Imavov had announced his intention to finalize. The two men fought a war. More powerful, more precise, more determined, carried away by the crowd chanting his first name, Imavov did not conclude. But defeated. ” Thanks a lot ! You sent me a lot of messages, of support. Thank you for being there, thank you for coming! »

What will remain of this first evening of the UFC in France? Convincing French successes, an incredible atmosphere, unfailing support for the French fighters. A downside no doubt, the absence of French… See you next year.


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