UFC Paris takeaways: Ciryl Gane gives a masterclass, Robert Whittaker reminds how dangerous he is at 185
For the first eight minutes of Saturday's UFC main event in Paris, you could have fit the Arc de Triomphe in the space between Ciryl Gane and Tai Tuivasa. That's the way Gane wanted it.
For a round and a half, he was showing off why he's considered the most technical heavyweight striker on the planet. With the Frenchman controlling distance while landing crisp jabs to the face and kicks to the body, Tuivasa kept coming forward and throwing huge punches but couldn't touch Gane.
Then Tuivasa did find him with a winging right-hand midway through Round 2, and Gane fell backward to the canvas, stiffened.
"Honestly, Tai hit me so hard he knocked me out. He put the lights out," Gane said through an interpreter. "I fell down, but I had to be a warrior. I got up ... and I came back even stronger."
That he did, as Gane immediately went on the attack, closing distance and throwing everything he had.
Now Tuivasa was the one on retreat, as the body shots were visibly taking their toll. The round ended with Gane on the offensive and the crowd at Accor Arena roaring. The fight was on.
It would not last another round, though. Gane spent Round 3 mercilessly attacking Tuivasa's tender midsection, and while the Australian fighter remained dangerous, Gane was no longer fighting from distance.