Former interim UFC heavyweight champion Ciryl Gane showcased his remarkable rise with a brilliant third-round knockout of Tai Tuivasa on home soil at UFC Fight Night 209 in Paris, France.

Headlining the UFC’s first event in France, Gane rose to the occasion as he delivered the biggest, best, most important performance of his career to finish Tuivasa to claim victory in thrilling fashion at the Accor Hotels Arena as a raucous Parisien crowd roared its approval.

After a cagey first round, all hell broke loose in the closing moments of the second. With a minute and a half left in the round, Tuivasa dropped Gane hard with a big shot, but the Frenchman rallied and hurt the Australian badly to the body with a salvo of kicks. Then, with Gane closing in looking for a finish, another huge shot from Tuivasa sent Gane stumbling back across the cage. It lit the touchpaper for a wild third round that eventually finished with Tuivasa down and out as Gane claimed a marquee win in front of his own fans.

Gane continued his attack on the body before a huge kick put Tuivasa in big trouble. But, just as referee Marc Goddard moved into position to get a closer view, Tuivasa exploded back with huge punches that forced Gane back again. Gane was picking Tuivasa apart with well-selected strikes to the head and body, but Tuivasa’s sheer stubbornness was keeping him in the round until more jabbing front kicks to the midsection forced Tuivasa back again. Then, with the Aussie half-turned to avoid the front kicks, Gane connected with a flurry of huge punches that sent Tuivasa to the canvas as the arena exploded.

After the fight, Gane paid tribute to his opponent, and admitted he was “knocked out” by Tuivasa during the first knockdown, before stating his desire to go for the UFC heavyweight title once again. After a victory like that, it seems difficult to imagine anything other than a title shot for the Frenchman next.

Whittaker delivers punch-perfect performance

Former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker showed the world that he’s still the best 185-pounder on the planet not named Israel Adesanya as the Australian comprehensively outstruck Italian contender Marvin Vettori over three rounds in their co-main event matchup.

Vettori looked to walk down Whittaker with constant forward pressure, but “The Reaper’s” ability to crack the Italian with strikes before Vettori could get his shots off proved crucial as he consistently popped shots off “The Italian Dream’s” face throughout the 15-minute duration.

But, as we’ve seen many times before, Vettori’s ability to take power shots and keep moving forward, undaunted, meant that even Whittaker’s best, most perfectly-timed shots couldn’t put his man on shaky legs as the fight went all the way to the judges’ scorecards.

The result was never in doubt, with Whittaker taking the win via unanimous decision with scores of 30-27, 30-27, 29-28 to keep him right at the sharp end of the UFC middleweight division.

Imavov bests Buckley in wild war

Bad blood was spilled as France’s Nassourdine Imavov and America’s Joaquin Buckley went toe to toe in a thrilling middleweight battle that had the crowd on the edge of their seats throughout the full 15 minute duration.

Imavov held the upper hand through the first two rounds, with his clinical counter-striking proving to the perfect response to Buckley’s high-intensity blitz attacks. But, spurred on by an impassioned piece of cornering advice, Buckley left it all in the octagon in a breathless final round that saw the American connect on Imavov’s chin on numerous occasions. Despite a much-improved round, it wasn’t enough for Buckley to earn the judges’ decision, with the home favourite claiming the unanimous decision victory with scores of 29-28, 29-28, 30-27.

Kopylov’s late show stuns Di Chirico

Roman Kopylov’s middleweight bout with Alessio Di Chirico went all the way to the final round, but the Russian prospect’s hands were still lethal late in the fight as he put together a sizzling combination to send the gritty Italian face-first into the canvas.

Former Fight Night Global champion Kopylov started well enough, but Di Chirico upped his game in a more evenly-contested second stanza to put the fight on a knife edge heading into the final frame. And, with both men looking to claim a decisive finish, it was Kopylov who made the breakthrough with a beautiful multi-punch combination that flattened his opponent to give the 31-year-old the biggest win of his career.

Gomis makes winning start

French featherweight William Gomis announced his arrival in the UFC with a majority decision victory over fellow debutant Jarno Errens in their main card matchup. Gomis looked the more accomplished striker, but had to be wary of Errens’ power up close as the pair battled all the way to the scorecards. Errens also put Gomis in danger in the dying moments of the fight as he locked up a triangle choke and attempted to lock up an armbar to force the buzzer-beater finish.

But, as the scores were announced, there was little surprise from either man when Gomis was announced the winner, with scores of 29-28, 29-28, 29-29 giving him a victory on home soil.

Wood looks at home at 145

Former Cage Warriors bantamweight champion Nathaniel Wood moved up to featherweight for his London clash with Charles Rosa in July and looked outstanding on his divisional debut. In Paris, “The Prospect” continued that winning start to life at 145 pounds as he outstruck Charles Jourdain in a thrilling featherweight clash.

Wood showed a solid chin at the higher weight class as he dealt with everything Jourdain could throw at him, while hurting the Canadian with heavy shots of his own. The Brit even added some crafty trip takedowns to his game to send “Air” to the canvas five times during the course of the bout.

In the end, the scorecards reflected Wood’s comfort level in his new weight class as he ran out the unanimous decision victor, 30-27, 30-27, 29-28.

Prelim recap

The preliminary card also delivered a host of finishes, including a dynamite debut from Germany’s Abus Magomedov, who needed just 19 seconds to finish Dustin Stoltzfus via TKO. There were also popular victories for French fighters Fares Ziam and Benoit Saint-Denis, who defeated Michal Figlak and Gabriel Miranda via unanimous decision and second-round TKO, respectively.

UFC Fight Night 209: Official Results


  • Ciryl Gane def. Tai Tuivasa via knockout (punches) – Round 3, 4:23
  • Robert Whittaker def. Marvin Vettori via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
  • Nassourdine Imavov def. Joaquin Buckley via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
  • Roman Kopylov def. Alessio Di Chirico via knockout (punches) – Round 3, 1:09
  • William Gomis def. Jarno Errens via majority decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-29)
  • Nathaniel Wood def. Charles Jourdain via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)


  • Abus Magomedov def. Dustin Stoltzfus via TKO (front kick and punches) – Round 1, 0:19
  • Nasrat Haqparast def. John Makdessi via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
  • Fares Ziam def. Michal Figlak via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
  • Benoit Saint-Denis def. Gabriel Miranda via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 0:16
  • Cristian Quinonez def. Khalid Taha via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 3:15
  • Stephanie Egger def. Ailin Perez via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 4:54