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Staff Predictions: Ciryl Gane vs. Tai Tuivasa | UFC Paris

Staff Predictions: Ciryl Gane vs. Tai Tuivasa | UFC Paris

Ciryl Gane

The UFC heads to Paris, France, for the first time this weekend for UFC Fight Night 210. The event will feature France’s own Ciryl Gane as he competes against Tai Tuivasa in a five-round heavyweight main event bout.

Gane, the former interim heavyweight champion, was defeated by current champion Francis Ngannou when he challenged for the title in January this year. It was the first loss in Gane’s 11-fight career and he’ll look to bounce back here against Tuivasa. Tuivasa will enter this fight on a four-fight win streak with a recent knockout win against Derrick Lewis in February.

UFC Fight Night 210 (UFC Paris) will air at the special time of 3 pm ET this Saturday in the United States. Fans can subscribe to ESPN+ to watch this fight and all other UFC Fight Night events live.

Continue reading for our staff predictions, picks, and betting tips for Ciryl Gane vs. Tai Tuivasa.

Betting Odds

Ciryl Gane is a massive favorite heading into this weekend’s UFC Paris main event. The gap between the two fighters here has remained consistent since the odds were first released in May.

Staff Predictions

Braeden Arbour

This fight is a massive challenge for a fighter like Tai Tuivasa. Clearly, the greatest asset Tuivasa brings to the cage is his power, in a division where anyone can knock out anyone. He has 11 first-round KOs, including the likes of Derrick Lewis and Greg Hardy, two men particularly known for wanting to trade and test their power with just about anyone. That being said, power punchers like Lewis, and even Francis Ngannou have been unable to catch Ciryl Gane’s chin, and Tuivasa is likely going into the fight with a similar game plan to those men.

Tuivasa has very smooth punching combinations but not the range and footwork of Ciryl Gane. It will be important for him to try to get Gane’s respect early and make sure that Gane is the one backing up, which takes away Gane’s ability to dart in and out and engage only on his terms. It will also allow Tuivasa to slip and move his way into the pocket and invest in the body. While Gane should have a technical striking advantage in most areas, kicking is the largest and his experience going a full 25 minutes is something he holds over Tuivasa’s head. Cutting off the cage and boxing Gane in as much as possible takes away that range and going to the body helps mitigate some potential endurance advantages Gane may have.

On Gane’s side. He is one of the most prolific striker’s heavyweight as seen. He moves like a middleweight, always works behind his jab and feints his way in with constant leg and shoulder motion so as to hide his shots. His ability to flow in and out instead of utilizing heavy bursts allows him to maintain a good consistency in his pressure while moving away from counters. One of his best combinations is a beautiful switch-hitting technique, in which he throws a left kick from southpaw to gage his opponents reaction. He then utilizes the same motion of the leg to hide a stance switch step through and a right cross from his conventional stance.

The biggest takeaway from this fight I believe is going to be the aggressiveness and power of Tuivasa vs. the composure of Gane. Tuivasa as evident in his 11 first-round KO’s likes to get off first and fast and he isn’t worried about racking up points because they dont matter when one man is laying on the canvas. Gane has traditionally taken almost no risks in his early exchanges, he focuses almost solely on leg kicks, jabs, teeps and snap kicks in the first round to chip away with the goal of frustrating his opponents. Although these kinds of strikes are not high impact, they force desperation out of his opponents and force them to take risks that he can take advantage of, and ultimately score the knockout by drawing out their mistakes.

In terms of striking, I see Gane having most of the success, but the grappling in this fight is particularly interesting. The route to defeating Gane, if his most recent fight with Francis Ngannou is an indication, is to take him down and control him. Gane has great submission skills when we have seen him in awkward or dominant positions but off his back, there is obviously some work to do. That being said, the issue of being stuck on his back, has likewise been one hole in Tuivasa’s game, but for both men it’s the improvements since these issues that fans will be looking out for. Gane likely has the advantage in his arsenal of trips and dumps that he can chain onto the end of his striking combinations, but Tuivasa may look to force clinch exchanges more if Gane starts to pull too far ahead. Ultimately, heavyweights are unpredictable, anyone can knock anyone out on any given night, but I do see Gane picking Tuivasa apart and staying clear of the biggest shots.

Prediction: Ciryl Gane to win (-555 odds at MyBookie)

Michael Pounders

Ciryl “Bon Gamin” Gane, outside of maybe Tom Aspinall, might be the most well-rounded and technical heavyweight on the entire roster. Gane is 32 years old and only has a 10-1 record, but his skillset is on full display every time he enters the octagon. As the truly high-level fighters often do, Gane will often spend the first few minutes, maybe even a full round, downloading information, tendencies, and reads from his opponent. Then, from here, Gane will intelligently choose the easiest path to victory.

Because his skillset is so completely well-rounded and truly elite, Gane can out-strike primary wrestlers, outpoint power punchers, and out-wrestle striking-only fighters. On the feet, “Bon Gamin” tends to strike strategically, feinting often to create openings and landing with precision. He is able to move with extreme athleticism, switch his stance fluidly, cut angles effectively, and land in combination with accuracy, and use a full arsenal of weapons to keep his opponent guessing. His striking is about as clean and crisp as it can get; but, the one knock on Gane, so far in the UFC, is his lack of power.

While Gane has four of his ten wins by knockout, his typical style is to be risk-averse, rarely over-extending. Bottom line, between his athleticism, footwork, and technical striking, Gane embodies the old adage- hit and don’t get hit in return. As far as grappling goes, Gane, thus far, seems to be a bit oversold. Ngannou is a freak of nature with extreme strength and solid fundamentals, so the champ controlling Gane is not surprising. What is surprising has been Gane’s inability to consistently wrestle and grapple himself. His skillset suggests that he can not only control fighters but also secure submissions when grappling. Yet, as he’s climbed the rankings, Gane has been inconsistent in his ability to implement offensive wrestling and grappling. Nevertheless, Gane is supremely talented and, outside of a loss in a championship fight, nearly flawless.

While Gane is the epitome of a new age heavyweight, Tai “Bam Bam” Tuivasa is the quindecennial old school heavyweight. He has deadly power, a nearly invincible jaw, and a willingness to stand toe to toe swinging heavy shots until someone drops. He is reminiscent of Mark Hunt, both in look and fight style, and, like Hunt, Tuivasa could be on the precipice of a title shot with a win Saturday night. Tuivasa has publically said he did not start taking his mixed martial arts training seriously until recently, if true, it would explain his impressive surge following three losses in a row. Tuivasa began his career 3-0, then went 0-3, and is currently 5-0 since 2020.

While Tuivasa has been streaky, one constant has remained: his top-tier power. No matter his opponent, Tuivasa tends to fight the same way. He walks forward, at times throwing leg kicks to help cut angles and create a stationary target, then, once he gets near the cage, Tuivasa unloads heavy combination after heavy combination. He ignores defense, relying on his granite chin and power advantage, as he is happy to take several strikes to return several of his own. Said simply, Tuivasa is an old-school heavyweight brawler. The fights in which Tuivasa has struggled have come against JDS, the only man to knock out Tuivasa out, and wrestlers. Fighters who can withstand or evade the blitzkrieg of power from “Bam Bam” have the opportunity to exploit his lackluster takedown defense and lack of a ground game. With his recent success, though, withstanding that barrage of power, even surviving it, is a significant challenge.

Gane is a -550 favorite for a reason, he is the more athletic and skilled fighter with multiple paths to victory. If I were to pick a fighter to win, I’d back Gane easily. However, odds need to be taken into consideration, and the odds are too wide for the truly difference-making power that Tuivasa possesses. Yes, Gane survived Ngannou, the only heavyweight with more power than Tuivasa, without being knocked out; however, Ngannou wrestled and rarely threw. One thing is for sure, Tuivasa is coming into Saturday night ready to throw down.

Tuivasa by knockout is a +700, which gives him winning by knockout a 12% chance. I don’t expect Gane to be able to knock out Tuivasa early, which gives “Bam Bam” at least a few rounds to catch Gane clean. If he does, Gane is going to sleep. I, personally, handicap a Tuivasa knockout as better than 12% chance of happening; so I’m backing Tuivasa to ruin Gane’s first hometown fight. Look for Tuivasa to trap Gane against the cage and tee off.

Pick: Tai Tuivasa to win by knockout (+700 odds at MyBookie)

Joe Pounders

Ciryl Gane is one of the most underappreciated fighters among casual fans, but, may also be one of the most overappreciated fighters among the die-hards and the UFC brass. Interestingly, the explanation as to why he fits both categories seamlessly, albeit polar opposites relative to outlook, is down to the style he employs in the octagon. Notably, Gane blends elite athleticism with highly technical skills, particularly footwork, to avoid the predominate threat when fighting in the heavyweight division – power punches. Having the ability to successfully do so fight over fight justifies the thesis of this breakdown, as casuals desire a heavyweight knockout while the more advanced viewer can appreciate the high-level skill needed to avoid the power threat associated with just about every heavyweight fight.

Expanding on this thesis, beyond Gane’s ability to avoid being finished, is that he often fails to get a finish himself – 3 of his last 5 wins have come via decision. While an expectation to win by finish seems like an unfair ask, the skills that Gane possesses justifies such an expectation. Particularly, Gane uses a nice blend of Muay Thai with more new-age MMA striking, whereby he lands traditional Muay Thai kicks, knees, and elbows, with a snappy jab and fluid movement. Having a well-rounded striking skill-set that is routed in technique and speed over haymaking power makes Gane a new-age heavyweight fighter. Parlay this with an ability to have success on the mat when facing a sub-par grappler – as many heavyweight fighters are – and Gane has the makeup of a champion.

Having a championship pedigree was seen in his fight against Francis Ngannou, as Gane had moments of success. Moreover, Gane was able to avoid the most powerful heavyweight to have ever stepped foot in the octagon, as such, the proof is in the pudding whereby his style has success in combating power. But, the reason why Gane is fighting as the number one contender contrary to fighting as the champion is that Gane got outwrestled by the Predator, Francis Ngannou. While Ngannou has underrated grappling, Gane’s failure stemmed from mild technical deficiencies on the back along with difficulty in overpowering an equally athletic Adonis. Luckily, for him, is that Tuivasa, and many other heavyweights, do not match the size or ground skills that Ngannou has in the octagon. For this reason, he should be able to revert back to his main style of predominantly fighting safely on the feet and mixing in an offensive takedown of his choice contrary to needing to combat a takedown from an athletic freak.

Having natural, world-class athleticism may be attributable to Gane, but, is far from a classification associated with Tai Tuivasa. While lacking this along with having a somewhat undersized 6’2” stature, Tuivasa rarely looks at a disadvantage in any of his fights from a physical standpoint. Perhaps this is due to only a handful of heavyweights who possess an elite athletic makeup, none of which have faced Tuivasa to date, but, I foresee his physical makeup as being one where he understands that fighting results have little correlation to natural physical gifts.

I emphasize the physical construct of Tuivasa to illustrate there will be a clear difference in an athlete when he and Gane enter the octagon, but, similarly to Tuivasa’s youthful inspiration of Mark Hunt, he will not be fazed by an athletic differential or high-end techniques possessed by his opponent.

Mark Hunt, a trademark image of what a tough island fighter is, is a strong comparison to Tai Tuivasa. Both men have shown an ability to wear a punch from hard-hitting heavyweights and both possess elite power themselves. As with many athletes that learn from the ones prior, additional techniques are added to evolve the older style that came before them. This is no different with Mark Hunt’s evolution taking shape in the form of Tai Tuivasa, as Tuivasa, having his bread and butter be a strong chin and the massive right-hand does possess additional skills that make him a legitimate contender in a rapidly talented heavyweight division.

By far and away the best skill that he has added to the island-inspired fighting style is a very nice leg lick. Throwing this kick is often quite dangerous in this division, given if you do not throw anything in front of the kick, the opponent can step in and land a massive overhand somewhat easily. But, for Tuivasa, his speed of strikes parlayed with an understanding of when to throw the kick justifies the belief it is one of the best in the division. The other attribute that Tuivasa has is an improving gas tank, as he routinely emphasizes cardio in his fight camp. This emphasis proved dividend in his last time around, as he was weathering a big storm by Derrick Lewis, and after wearing heavy blows, Tuivasa had enough in his gas tank to inflict power on the tired Lewis to earn himself his biggest win to date.

While Tuivasa deservingly has a ton of positives being thrown his way, he does need to show improvement in keeping the fight standing, as his 50% takedown defensive rate is far less than impressive, particularly when knowing the heavyweight opponents he has faced are by far and away from solid wrestlers. If he does not improve upon this, Gane has a relatively easy path to victory, but, if Tuivasa can keep the fight standing, his elite power and underappreciated speed give him every chance to upset the French fighter in his own backyard.

Tai Tuivasa reminds me of Bill Murray speaking to Lee Harvey in the movie Stripes – I want to party with you. His celebrations at the end of a win are second to known, and the man knows how to enjoy life and exude happiness that is quite infectious. While a Tuivasa win is always desirable, I see little way he does so beyond a righthand landing. This method is indeed a popular one in the heavyweight division, but, given Gane has evaded all power threats to date – he lasted 5 rounds against Francis Ngannou – and Gane is able to focus solely on defending against strikes contrary to thinking about a takedown as well, he should continue to evade the harm stemming from elite power. If done, Gane can use his impressive frame and footwork to piece Tuivasa up from the outside, and if he so desires, has the skills necessary to take it to the mat. Even though I am confidently taking Gane in this matchup, choosing a method to negate the price associated with his line is quite difficult, so, I would advise putting him in several parlays as an anchor.

Pick: Ciryl Gane to win (-555 odds at MyBookie)

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