The first narrative of UFC Paris all is determined by perspective. If it’s the principle occasion we’re speaking about, then Cyril Gane and Tai Tuivasa placed on one of many higher heavyweight headliners that we’ve had in a number of years. Gane operated along with his normal effectivity for a lot of the struggle, however Tuivasa discovered holes in Gane’s tight protection to drop the Frenchman and put him on the ropes. ‘Bon Gamin’ hung in there and was in a position to return to his typical exterior assault centered on the physique, carrying down the hard-hitting Aussie.
For followers extra within the enterprise facet of the game, UFC Paris was additionally an unmitigated success. The Paris crowd was loud from the curtain jerker to the ultimate struggle, giving the impression to many who France is likely to be a future MMA hotbed if their enthusiasm is any indication. I wouldn’t make that form of prediction but, however little question it was a rowdy bunch. Throw in that former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker appeared as sharp as ever in disposing of Marvin Vettori and it was a hell of a consequential evening.
These narratives will all get loads of consideration in numerous articles and web sites over the following week. For now, the Unofficial Awards are right here to give attention to the fast hits much less noticeable narratives that emerged, in hopes of giving a extra all-around have a look at the occasion. Let’s dig in:
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BIGGEST JUMP IN STOCK
Gane and Whittaker had extra spectacular victories, given they outclassed excessive stage opposition, however they had been already thought of to be 1a of their respective divisions (simply behind the champions) by most observers. Thus, I’ll go along with Nathaniel Wooden. The Englishman moved as much as the featherweight division earlier this 12 months and there have been issues about his probably being undersized, standing simply 5’ 6”.
Positive, he beat Charles Rosa earlier this 12 months with out situation, however any common UFC fighter ought to do the identical. That made Charles Jourdain a BIG step up in competitors—the Canadian himself coming off a controversial loss to a ranked opponent—and Wooden dismantled him. ‘The Prospect’ damage Jourdain a number of occasions and secured takedowns in each spherical as effectively. Jourdain doesn’t make use of a method the place he’d power his physicality on his opposition, so we’re nonetheless not completely positive how a lot Wooden’s lack of dimension will damage him. Regardless, the early returns are incredible—and have many believing Wooden will in all probability have a quantity earlier than his title after his subsequent contest.
BIGGEST FALL IN STOCK
Both one thing was improper with Vettori or Whittaker took away his want to struggle. For no matter purpose, the aggressive model that we’ve all change into exceptionally acquainted with was nowhere to be seen within the closing spherical (after providing simply temporary glimpses over the primary two). Vettori spent a lot of the struggle taking part in punching bag for the elusive Whittaker, providing little or no return hearth.
Had ‘The Italian Dream’ been in a position to no less than put forth a decent effort, shedding to the previous champ wouldn’t have actually broken his standing. As a substitute, not solely does it have him sliding down the middleweight ladder, his fame as a somebody unwilling to again down doesn’t seem as sterling because it was heading into the occasion. Vettori can rebound if he can knock the block off his subsequent opponent and regain some momentum, however KOs haven’t precisely been his forte. It’s potential Vettori has peaked.
Cristian Quinonez jumped out in entrance for this spot early, however Abus Magomedov sealed it up when he blasted by Dustin Stoltzfus in simply 19 seconds. Credit score must go to Stoltzfus for even surviving the preliminary entrance kick to the face from Magomedov, however the German wasn’t fooled by Stoltzfus’ poker face. He maintained the assault and landed a number of punches to place Stoltzfus away. It’s straightforward to overlook how a lot hype there was round Magomedov in 2018 given his exercise stage has been low these days—this was solely his third struggle in 4 years—however this was a hell of a reminder that he’s obtained lots to supply.
SAVED THEIR JOB
As soon as upon a time, Roman Kopylov was thought of to be one of many brighter prospects the middleweight division had seen shortly—again when he was signed to the UFC in 2019. Inactivity couple with losses in each of his appearances had most believing he was a bust. It might even be argued the inactivity allowed a few his prime years to go to waste. However, at 31-years-old, he’s nonetheless younger sufficient that he might start to place all of it collectively. The way in which he was in a position to put collectively his strikes in opposition to Alessio Di Chirico is a superb register that route. Placing away Di Chirico permits him to maintain his job and earn the chance to point out he’s obtained what it takes to hold round within the UFC.
START TYPING A RESUME
Six years is a hell of a very long time to remain on the UFC roster. Di Chirico had a number of good moments in that point—his head kick KO of Joaquin Buckley instantly involves thoughts—however a stretch of 5 losses in six fights makes it rattling close to unimaginable to keep away from the chopping block. It isn’t prefer it was a assassin’s row the Italian fell to in that point, both. If the UFC runs an occasion in Italy any time quickly (which it truly seems like they may), I might see the UFC signing him up given the shortage of huge time Italian fighters. Exterior of that, I’d say the 32-year-old has had his legacy cemented as one of many first Italians to make some noise on the UFC stage.
I’m not satisfied of Stoltzfus getting a pink slip given he was keen to take the struggle on brief discover—I respect the UFC not punishing fighters for stepping up in these conditions—nevertheless it’s not like luck wasn’t on his facet when the UFC stored him round after opening his UFC profession with three consecutive losses. He made good on that chance, however the 19 second loss to Magomedov makes his employment simply as precarious because it was earlier than his win over Dwight Grant. We’ll see….
Depend me amongst those that was shocked to see Khalid Taha get one other struggle. The UFC was keen to miss his 1-3 document that additionally included a no contest that was initially a loss. Nonetheless, he was given as favorable of a struggle as he might get, with an opponent making their promotional debut on brief discover. Nonetheless, Taha couldn’t seal the deal. In actual fact, this struggle went down as his first official KO/TKO loss. Taha’s one-dimensional method appears as if it has change into straightforward to arrange for now that his opposition know what to anticipate. It could be a shock if he had been capable of finding his means again to the group.
BIGGEST ‘WOW’ MOMENT
Initially, I believed Magomedov had this locked up along with his entrance kick to the jaw of Stoltzfus. However the sequence in the midst of the second spherical, when Gane and Tuivasa got here ‘thisshut’ to placing away each other, stole all of it away. It began when Tuivasa delivered certainly one of his trademark haymakers that floored Gane. Someway, one way or the other, Gane discovered a means again to his toes and brutalized Tuivasa’s physique to the purpose he doubled over a number of occasions. Although the remainder of the struggle proved to be full of pleasure up till the end, it was that sequence that kicked issues off.
HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE
Whereas not everybody with a French connection emerged victorious (do French Canadians depend?), everybody combating out of France walked out of the occasion with a win. That listing ended up being Gane, Nassourdine Imavov, William Gomis, Fares Ziam, and Benoit Saint-Denis. It shouldn’t be an excessive amount of of a shock, because the countrymen of nations the UFC discover themselves both getting into for the primary time or after a protracted absence are inclined to discover a excessive diploma of success. UFC 134 is a incredible instance of that as phenomenon. That PPV was the UFC’s return to Brazil after 13 years. Of the eight contests that featured a Brazilian vs. Somebody from every other nation, just one Brazilian misplaced. Hopefully, the UFC doesn’t rush their return to France, for the reason that impact tends to put on off shortly if the promotion makes frequent journeys. Brazil misplaced that edge roughly a 12 months after the UFC return.
WORST BLOOD FEUD
It was anticipated there can be a hell of a struggle between Nasrat Haqparast and John Makdessi. In any case, they’re former teammates who didn’t precisely separate on the most effective of phrases. As a substitute, we obtained a tentative kickboxing match that extra intently resembled a sparring session. Haqparast was extra keen to let his energy present, however even that was solely in spurts. Makdessi was content material to only contact up Haqparast for everything of the struggle, by no means touchdown something that appeared to harm Haqparast.
Whereas realizing an opponent as intimately as these two knew one another can result in a fast end if they’re every conscious of the others’ holes, it could possibly additionally result in the kind of contests the place fighters fear about their opponent realizing them an excessive amount of. Given the infrequency of finishes from Haqparast and Makdessi, it’s honest to look again in hindsight and say we must always’ve anticipated this.
Everyone knows about fighters bettering their inventory in a loss. It’s solely pure that there can be fighters who reduce their inventory with a win. It seems to be like Imavov could fall sufferer to that phenomenon. Not that Imavov didn’t deserve the win or that he didn’t have some vibrant moments both. Hell, I’d even say it was in the end a enjoyable struggle. However, for somebody within the official UFC rankings, there have been a number of issues that didn’t bode effectively for Imavov.
For one, he gassed exhausting down the stretch, leaving him in survival mode. He additionally didn’t have the management from the surface that’s imagined to be his signature power. Maybe a extra practical view needs to be that Imavov remains to be solely 26 and this was simply his fifth UFC contest. Maybe his inventory was elevated a bit too quickly. I’d nonetheless count on him to be a longtime fixture within the middleweight rankings, however it could be that expectations needs to be tempered barely.
Technically, it’s the one return, as Ziam was the one fighter who has re-signed to the group for this occasion after a earlier stint. Nevertheless it deserves kudos nonetheless. For a lot of, it was a shock when the UFC didn’t re-up the younger Frenchman after his loss to Terrance McKinney this previous winter. In any case, many see McKinney as a rising star and Ziam was solely 24 on the time of the loss. Regardless, the UFC let him unfastened, solely to deliver him again for this occasion—when extra French expertise was required. It proved to be a clever transfer. Ziam turned in what was simply his greatest efficiency, displaying improved wrestling to go along with his sniping exterior placing. If the wrestling enhancements aren’t a fluke, Ziam seems to be like he could possibly be main power in a short while.
Whereas nobody will probably be shocked Tuivasa had a good quantity of Efficiency bonuses getting into the occasion—he picked up his fifth in 13 appearances right here—I get the sensation many will probably be shocked to be taught it was Gane’s third given his fame as a boring fighter. Magomedov and Saint-Denis each picked up the primary bonuses of their UFC careers, Magomedov doing so in his debut and Saint-Denis in his third look.
Imavov, Stoltzfus, and Ziam stay the fighters with probably the most appearances from this card with out a Efficiency Bonus so far, bringing their whole to 5 showings with out an additional $50K. Exterior of these with out bonuses, John Makdessi has formally gone the longest with out choosing up the additional cash, going again to July of 2018, paradoxically that being the one bonus in his 19-fight UFC profession. Nevertheless, by way of appearances, Makdessi’s inactivity leaves Jourdain with probably the most appearances since his final bonus with eight.