This past Saturday in the main event of UFC Paris, we saw a big time showdown in the heavyweight division. France’s own and former interim heavyweight champion Ciryl Gane (12-2) was looking to halt the momentum of a surging Serghei Spivac (16-4).
On paper, this was about as textbook of a striker versus grappler matchup that you’ll ever get. Gane is one of the best strikers in the heavyweight division while Spivac is known for taking his opponents down and having a smothering top game. It was going to be a big chess match, but it became clear early who the match favored.
Spivac isn’t the most graceful grappler in the world and he’s also not explosive. That created a problem for him in fighting someone who fights as loosely as Gane does. Gane’s footwork kept him on the outside and Spivac was never able to track him down and get him to the ground. With that, Spivac became a sitting duck.
Throughout two rounds at UFC Paris, Gane just completely picked Spivac apart. Whatever he threw, he was landing. In the second round, he really turned up the pressure and started hurting Spivac badly. It wasn’t long before the ref had to step in giving Gane the TKO win in front of his home country.
What’s next after UFC Paris?
This win was huge for Gane in order to get back on track after the Jon Jones loss earlier this year. Gane said he wanted to make a statement and show everyone in the UFC’s heavyweight division that he’s still one of the very best the promotion has to offer. He did that and some on Saturday.
So, after this latest win, what’s next for him? Right now, the heavyweight division is in an interesting spot. Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic are fighting for the title at UFC 295. That said, both men have hinted that they might be retiring after the bout. If the winner doesn’t retire, I think Sergei Pavlovich is likely getting the next title shot.
If that were to happen, it opens the door for a massive European fight between Gane and Tom Aspinall. This is the fight that I think the UFC should target regardless because it makes a ton of sense and it would be huge for that market. However, if Jones and Miocic retire leading to a vacant heavyweight title, either Gane or Aspinall might be called in to face Pavlovich for the vacant belt.