Ciryl Gane

The UFC heads to Paris, France, this weekend with a UFC Fight Night card set to take place on Saturday, September 2.

Former interim UFC heavyweight champion Ciryl Gane will face off against Serghei Spivac in the main event. Before those two stand toe-to-toe, Manon Fiorot will meet Rose Namajunas in a women’s flyweight co-main event bout. You can read our Fiorot vs. Namajunas prediction here.

But now, let’s turn our attention to the five-round main event and take a closer look at the betting odds, as well as detailed fight analysis and breakdowns from our expert writers who also share their prediction and best bet for this heavyweight showdown.

Betting Odds

Gane, the former interim champ, enters this fight as the betting favorite with odds of -182 up against Spivac who is available as a +152 underdog.

  • Ciryl Gane: -182 (BetUS)
  • Serghei Spivac: +152 (BetUS)

Read on to find out who our experts are picking.

Special Offer: Sign up to BetUS today and get an exclusive sign-up offer worth up to $2,500

Fight Prediction

Braeden Arbour

Ciryl Gane vs. Sergei Spivac is a great fight between the best technical striker in the division and whom I believe to be the dark horse of 265 lbs. Gane sticks out as one of those rare heavyweights that moves like a middleweight and really highlights how slow other heavyweights are in comparison. This is no different with Spivac, but instead of contesting these strengths of Gane, Spivac in his grappling strength especially, really encapsulates the power that makes heavyweight what it is. Ultimately this fight will be decided by whether Gane can force space and sting Spivac from the outside, or whether or not Spivac can get a hold of Gane and stay on him.

In order for Gane to maintain that range and execute this game plan, two types of strikes are paramount. His jab, as always is a main weapon, as it is not too committal, while Gane’s still does evident damage. His jab allows him to keep floating and work his way in and out of range quickly. As he gets Spivac raising the guard and planting to use head movement or sit on a counter, Gane needs to mix between his jab and low kicks to chip away at Spivac’s base. He does not need to sit down on big heavy shots, all he needs to do is sting Spivac and get him chasing Gane, so that the power comes from Spivac overextending into counters, where Gane also has the option of an escape route. To do this he has to maintain good circling movement and get Spivac entering with a lot of space through the center of the octagon so that Gane can continually move.

While Gane wants Spivac to chase, Spivac needs to avoid this at all costs. Gane’s accumulative power is no joke, but Spivac cannot give him too much respect. Those who are too cautious more than not find themselves snowballing behind on the scorecards against Gane’s tag-like striking. It’s a better trade-off to risk eating a few to get to Gane than to play his game and act too wary. Like Jon Jones before him, Spivac needs to shut down the space around Gane, and between feints and cutting off the octagon instead of chasing he can do so. What Spivac does so well is attack takedowns that immediately clears the guard upon impact with the mat. Double underhook trips, judo throws and waist lock drags put Spivac into positions where guard passing is not an issue. This leads well with Gane, as his distance management makes it much harder to shoot at his legs than tangle up with him against the fence. Furthermore, although Gane is by no means a great grappler, he has been able to drop on opportunistic submissions to surprise opponents or create space and get up albeit against lesser grapplers. He does not have this safety net opposite Spivac, and even if he did, the ability to transition so quickly from takedowns to mount or side control leaves little opportunity for Gane to roll for anything.

The best way to describe Spivac’s style is like a laundry rotation, compared first by Laura Sanko. Once Spivac gets a hold of his opponents, he may not immediately keep them down but as they get up he is already in a process of returning them to the mat and with each up and down cycle, he finds more success and they get weaker, until he can seamlessly dominate them. Gane has to be at his very best working on the outside and stay disciplined with that for 25 minutes. I believe Spivac has to get a hold of Gane once, making him a very valuable underdog.

Pick: Serghei Spivac to win (+152 odds at BetUS)

Special Offer: Sign up to BetUS today and get an exclusive sign-up offer worth up to $2,500

Michael Pounders

Once considered a near-perfect prospect turned heavyweight contender, Ciryl “Bon Gamin” Gane, 33, has dropped 2 of his last 3 fights. Prior to his recent losses, Gane was undefeated and running through his competition with relative ease. He’s a massive 6’5, 250-pound athlete who moves like a 170-pounder. His light-footed and bouncy footwork are rare for the division because moving around a frame as large as his takes, typically, significant effort.

However, Gane’s in-and-out movement, his speed, and the technical fluidity that which he moves is undeniably impressive. Beyond his athleticism and movement, Gane is an exceptional striker. With a Muay Thai and kickboxing style, Gane is able to switch stances when necessary and still land at a 59% clip with a more than 2x positive striking differential. Specifically, Gane lands 5 significant strikes per minute while only absorbing 2.2 and defending 62% of the attacks coming his way.

Gane accomplishes such an impressive statistical feat because of his footwork, long and intelligent jab, and well-schooled kicking game. Typically, Gane takes his time in the octagon. He’ll fight methodically and will ramp up the volume and damage as the fight progresses. Early on, Gane is content playing a little cat and mouse. He’ll move forward behind a jab or front kick, read how his opponent responds, and catalogs that read for later.

Then, he’ll happily let his opponent move forward where Gane can use his footwork, reactions, and defense to avoid getting clipped clean as he again reads his opponent’s tendencies and logs them for later. This is most evident by his recent fights against Tuivasa and Lewis, two of the heaviest hitters in the division. In both fights, Gane took the fight into the 3rd round, landed double the amount of strikes in round 3 vs round 1, and found the finish. That is Gane’s ideal fight.

However, as seen in both of his losses, Gane does have an extremely unideal fight which possess a unique stylistic question in this matchup: wrestling. Gane’s striking is world class, his cardio is top notch, his patience and killer instinct combination is excellent, and he even has a decent submission game when on top. However, Gane was possibly exposed to have a massive gap in his defensive wrestling game by Francis Ngannou and then that exposure was exploited by Jon Jones. In both of those fights, Gane was taken down multiple times and controlled for extended periods of the fight. Most concerning, though, was the ease to which the fighters were able to get inside of Gane’s range and get him to the canvas. Once down, Gane had no answer for the top pressure of either fighter, and eventually lost both fights.

“The Polar Bear,” Sergey Spivac is 28 and surging into and up the rankings during his 3-fight winning streak. He’s finished all 3 opponents in that time; and, outside of a loss to Tom Aspinall, has finished 4 of his last 7 fights. Spivac a wrestler with suffocating top pressure, a relentless motor, and the ability to find the finish once the fight hits the mat.

Just like his opponent, Spivac is not your dad’s heavyweight. He is the cookie cutter 6’3 and 260 pounds; but, he moves with impressive speed and pushes a high pace with impressive cardio. While Gane moves like a 170’er, Spivac wrestles like one. He averages 5 takedowns per fight at a 65% success rate. Anyone wrestling that much in a MMA has reliable cardio; but, considering Spivac does so while caring 260 pounds of his own weight, it is all that more impressive. Spivac’s wrestling is well-schooled and varied. He has the fundamentals to land single and double leg takedowns, entering from range while timing his opponent’s movement or strike. He has the athleticism to catch a kick, trip the back leg, and torque his body to land on top. And, he has the strength clinch against the cage and drag his opponent down with sheer force.

No matter the location of the fight, Spivac is looking to get it down and often does so successfully. On the feet, though, Spivac’s striking and generously be described as “improved.” He tends to lunge into his punches, leave his chin exposed for counters, and land with minimal power. His footwork is linear, he tends to over-extended on his strikes, and can be off balance when he misses his target. Spivac has also been knocked out twice. And, while his chin is solid, any prolonged punishment or clean shot at this level and this weight class can shut the lights out. As always, Spivac will look to get the fight down and do so quickly.

This fight will likely make half of the gamblers look like geniuses and the other half like fools within the first few minutes. If Spivac can secure the early takedown, he should be able to finish Gane on the mat. Even if he doesn’t, if he can continue to get takedowns, Spivac will ragdoll “Bon Gamin” until he gets the stoppage or the final round ends. However, if Gane has improved his 45% takedown defense and can stuff the early attempts, then this fight could go very similarly to Spivac vs. Aspinall, where Spivac went 0-11 on significant strikes and couldn’t keep up with or catch the superior striker en route to a finish.

I’m expecting the latter to play out on Saturday. Gane has only lost to Jon Jones and Francis Ngannou. He was out wrestled by Jones because Jones can out wrestle everyone and Gane simply wasn’t good enough. He lost to Ngannou because Ngannou’s wrestling was unexpected and the threat of the biggest power puncher in the world left Gane to still respect the striking of Francis and resulted in him being unable to swing freely and deter the wrestling. In this fight, Gane should be able to push forward, swing more aggressively, and strike as the hammer rather than the nail because Spivac is not a threat on the feet. I expect this forward pressure and volume to push Spivac back enough to help Gane defend the early takedowns. Then, as the fight enters round 2 or 3, I think Gane will find the chin and the finish.

Best Bet: Gane to Win (-165 at BetUS)

Special Offer: Sign up to BetUS today and get an exclusive sign-up offer worth up to $2,500

Joe Pounders

Sergey Spivac is a great case study of how a fighter can greatly improve as they find their footing in the UFC. Over his first three fights, Spivac was just 1-2 and had no significant hype as a result. Since then, he is 6-1 with his one defeat coming at the hands of the highly touted championship contender, Tom Aspinall. While Spivac has certainly cemented himself as a ranked heavyweight, he is still needing that signature win to propel himself into near-title contention, and Ciryl Gane would be just that.

From a tactical perspective, Spivac’s game plan is known – wrestle. Often, when fight fans discuss who the best heavyweight wrestler is, the first name to come to mind is the GOAT Jon Jones, and if he is disallowed in the thought exercise, then Curtis Blaydes is the next man up. While I will not argue against either, Sergey Spivac has shown time in and time out that he deserves consideration for this divisional tag, particularly when knowing he relies on it as much as he does accompanied by the success he has with it in nearly every fight. Both reliance and successful implementation of wrestling will be instrumental to victory here as Spivac’s striking is far from that of Gane’s, but the same can be said for the differential in grappling. So, if Spivac can safely shoot a takedown, secure Gane to the mat, then his heavy top game, ruthless ground and pound, and a dangerous arsenal of submissions can give him a multifaceted path to victory here.

Taking Gane to the mat has been the recipe for defeat. We saw this come to ultimate reality when Jon Jones made quick work of him by landing a takedown and securing a submission victory. Moreover, we saw grappling get the better of Gane in the Francis Ngannou fight where Francis was able to implement wrestling to win a somewhat close victory. While losing by way of grappling is a massive concern, particularly when fighting the Polar Bear, Sergey Spivac, it is perhaps less of a concern to note that Gane’s only two defeats have come at the hands of the GOAT of MMA and perhaps the most feared heavyweight to have step foot in the octagon.

Knowing grappling defense is an inherent need here, Gane has likely repeatedly trained since his defeat last time around to Jon Jones. On paper, this fact may leave some believing significant improvement is on the horizon, but when you add the fact that he was doing this same grappling improvement defense following the Francis fight in the lead-up to Jones, then the belief begins to dwindle. If, however, his grappling defense does allow him to stuff the initial takedowns and get up off the mat if taken there, then the striking acumen of Gane will greatly advance the success he will have compared to Spivac given Gane will have the footwork, speed, and technical advantage over him.

This fight, similar to what we saw in Sterling vs. Suga Sean O’Malley, is the ultimate striker vs. grappler affair. Knowing this, trust in choice lessens as we have seen the striker get the better of the grappler in the past and vice versa.

While stylistic matchup makes picking a fighter difficult, the strength of opposition accompanied by recency bias on line value makes choice far easier. The latter is what I want to focus on, and that is, Gane would be a far bigger favorite in this matchup if it were not for his defeat to the GOAT of MMA in his last fight. This overcorrection in the market, while perhaps justified given the reasoning for defeat aligns with what Spivac does well, results in value on him here. Because of that accompanied by the belief in his footwork, speed, and general grappling improvement will allow him to keep the fight standing long enough to land his elite striking, I am taking Gane here. And because the longer the fight ensues the greater likelihood Spivac will secure a takedown, I am trusting Gane will enhance his intensity and look to find a finish.

Bet: Gane to win by KO (+120 at BetUS)

Special Offer: Sign up to BetUS today and get an exclusive sign-up offer worth up to $2,500

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *