Despite a valiant effort, Aussie Tai Tuivasa (15-4) ultimately came up short in his title eliminator fight against Ciryl Gane (11-1) after getting stopped in the third round.
In the UFC’s inaugural event in Paris, Tuivasa took on former title challenger and hometown hero Ciryl Gane, who had only recently come off a close defeat to Heavyweight Champion Francis Ngannou (17-3).
Despite coming into the fight riding the longest active finish streak in the division, many experts believed that the world-class technical kickboxing of Gane would be a stylistic nightmare for the Aussie, but it proved to be an action-packed war with ‘Bam Bam’ having his moments.
The fight started off very slow, as the Frenchman controlled the octagon by using his six-inch reach advantage to keep Tuivasa at bay.
The Aussie tried his best to back Gane against the cage by moving forward and throwing leg kicks, but the former interim champion was too slick and was able to move away.
The second round started off the same way with Gane dictating the pace, but Tuivasa was able to find success landing leg kicks and lead left hooks.
Just as it looked like Gane had the fight under control, Tuivasa landed a huge right hook that sent Gane to the canvas.
The Aussie went for the finish but Gane was quick to get to his feet and land some vicious kicks to the body that backed Tuivasa up.
The Frenchman continued his onslaught on the body in the third round. Along with the body kicks, Gane was able to use his power jab to good effect before connecting with a huge head kick that staggered Tuivasa.
The Aussie tried to fight back but was eventually caught coming into range by a right cross, before Gane unloaded with a flurry of punches that prompted the referee to stop the fight to a roar from the French crowd.
During his interview with Michael Bisping, Gane gave credit to Tuivasa’s punching power.
“Honestly Tai hit me so hard” Gane said, “he knocked me out, he put the lights out”.
“I fell down but I had to be a warrior, I got up and that’s what I did, I came back even stronger and I got the win”.
The victory for Gane takes him one step closer to a rematch with Current Heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou.
For Tuivasa, the loss is a minor setback, however he did a lot better than most experts and fans expected. If he can get a few more wins under his belt, we may see ‘Bam Bam’ back into the title picture very soon.
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