UFC Paris happens this weekend and the card is brimming with homegrown talent. The main event has former UFC interim heavyweight champ Ciryl Gane taking on Serghei Spivac. The co-main has another French fighter, Manon Fiorot, in the spotlight. She’s taking on former UFC strawweight champion Rose Namajunas.
Scattered across the UFC Paris card are interesting International prospects who will no doubt be hoping to make a statement in the City of Light. We’ve got Benoit Saint-Denis meeting Thiago Moises. There’s former Cage Warriors champ Morgan Charriere debuting against Manolo Zecchini. William Gomis is matched, eventually, against Yanis Ghemmouri. And Farid Basharat is staking his unbeaten record against Kleydson Rodrigues. So not a lot to get mad about on this card.
As ever, we at Bloody Elbow have scoured the tape, the stats, the records, and we have decided who will win each of these fights.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that most of us favor Gane to get a big win in front of a friendly crowd. We’re not unanimous, though. For the co-main, we are almost unanimous in our support of Fiorot to score the biggest win of her career. Zane is the lone holdout there.
Scroll down to see the rest of our picks for UFC Paris. And don’t forget to add yours in the comments (so we can point and laugh when you get them wrong and you can see how that feels!).
UFC Paris picks and predictions
Ciryl Gane vs. Serghei Spivac
Anton Tabuena: I can’t shake the feeling that Spivac will just take Gane down easily at UFC Paris and sub him from there, but it’ll be much easier said than done given the huge gap in physicality and athleticism. Gane typically fights with low volume and while I expect his movement to cause issues, he takes too long to actually hurt people, and that will only give Spivac more chances to clinch and get him to the mat.
Gane is still the slightly more logical pick as he’s the far better athlete, but Spivac’s already submitted bigger and stronger guys before. If Spivac fights smart, with a clinch and takedown heavy approach, he can definitely score the upset. I’m going with the grain here and picking Serghei Spivac by submission.
Dayne: It’s still hard to know what to make of Spivac. It’s obvious he has made HUGE strides since debuting four years ago. He’s done so by playing to his strengths and shoring up his weaknesses. He’s even looked like a much better athlete than when he first joined. Even with that said, he’s still a far cry from being able to touch the physical gifts of the elite of the division. Gane’s physical gifts are up there with the elite of the division.
It isn’t out of the realm of possibility that Spivac can pull off the upset in the UFC Paris main event. Gane’s defensive deficiencies on the mat have been exposed in his fights with Francis Ngannou and Jon Jones… and that’s where Spivac is at his best. Plus, Spivac has better learned to navigate his opponent’s offense to get the trip takedowns that have proven so effective. But navigating the range from Gane is a completely different thing than navigating the bombs from Derrick Lewis.
Gane is the most technical striker in the division by a wide margin. Plus, while Gane’s stock is low, we’re bashing on him for losing to Jon Jones in horrendous fashion. There’s a long list of former champions who had that happen to them. Gane should take this easy. Gane via TKO of RD3
Chris: I have to believe that getting humiliated on the biggest stage of his life has had an effect on Ciryl Gane. That getting waxed in two minutes has caused the man to rethink both his approach to training as well as a commitment to rounding out his skill set. You can get away with a lot at heavyweight, but you can’t escape a bad reputation with fleet footwork. Surely we’re going to see a new man, because the coin flip said so.
Victor: I don’t know if Gane just sort of shrunk in the moment of finally fighting for the belt or perhaps the enormity of facing an opponent as formidable as Jon Jones. But facts are facts, the man shit the bed in the most colossal manner possible, and did it so badly it kind of minimized Jones’ win. But now, at UFC Paris, we get to see how he rebounds.
Frankly, I don’t have much faith in him doing too great. Spivac is a bit footslow but is an educated and more patient striker that takes less risks. His grappling is sound, from his offensive wrestling to his submission options on offense.
He’s only lost to guys that can bully him with wrestling, plus he can push the pace with his striking. Gane relies on range, and if he’s snakebit and remains passive on offense, he’s just gonna get outworked here. I also worry about his cardio and don’t think he’ll do enough on the clinch or with submission threats to really present that much of a threat to Spivac. Serghei Spivac by decision.
Zane: A big factor at UFC Paris, to me, is that much of Spivac’s wrestling comes from upper-body tie-ups. It’s a solid way to go against fighters that can easily be off-balanced, like Derrick Lewis, but against someone as quick on their feet as Ciryl Gane that very likely means that Spivac will find himself chasing and walking into the pocket a lot, without much set up in the way of strikes or level changes. If that’s the case, then I have to pick Gane to light him up. Cyril Gane via TKO, round 2.
Staff picking Spivac: Anton, Stephie, Victor
Staff picking Gane: Chris, Dayne, Lucas, Eddie, Tim, Kristen, Jack, Zane
Manon Fiorot vs. Rose Namajunas
Anton: I have no idea which Rose shows up at UFC Paris, but if she’s not at her best here as she moves up, she’ll be in real trouble against someone like Fiorot. Manon Fiorot by Decision.
Dayne: I get the feeling everyone is looking at the UFC Paris co-main and immediately picked Fiorot. Namajunas wasn’t exactly huge at strawweight and stands a good chance of being bullied by the larger women at 125. Plus, where Namajunas is strongest matches up with what Fiorot does well. But there’s a reason Namajunas is a two-time strawweight champion. Few are better at pulling a home run out of nowhere. She did it both times she won the belt. And while Fiorot is as technically sound as they come, that may be to her detriment against Namajunas.
However, there’s also a reason why the Namajunas never had a long reign either time she claimed the belt. She’s a headcase. She’s just as capable of turning in a flat performance as she is something spectacular. Coming off one of the worst title fights in the history of the organization, is it going to throw her off? There’s a lot of unanswered questions.
Thus, while I acknowledge Namajunas shouldn’t be discounted, I don’t think a standard Namajunas performance is enough to overcome a standard Fiorot performance. Fiorot fights with a mean streak and has proven to be a physical presence. I’m willing to give Namajunas an edge in terms of pure grappling, but I worry about her ability to effectively grapple when Fiorot is much physically stronger. A flying submission is possible from her, but counting on that is foolish. Fiorot via decision
Chris: For a minute, Manon Fiorot was looking like the future of flyweight as she stormed through the lower ranks of the division. We would be best served to never mention her time in the cage with Kaitlyn Chookagian, a win that stalled her momentum. Fiorot’s fight style is a bullying one, and if styles still make fights then Namajunas is in for a rough night. It’s impossible to know if the new weight class will suit Namajunas, but flyweight is heating up with contenders and prospects and it’s possible that ‘Thug’s’ best days are behind her.
Victor: Manon can give a shot and take a shot. Most importantly, she’s a smart volume striker that can overwhelm opponents and not give them much breathing room. She’s bigger, apparently stronger, and defends well in scrambles. All of that looks like a recipe for disaster against Rose. Now, if the Rose that came in against Weili and Joanna shows up with a surprising amount of power in her shots? That upsets the apple cart. That’s also not something anyone should count on. Manon Fiorot by decision.
Zane: Oof. I really don’t like seeing this kind of one-sidedness on Fiorot here. She’s strong and she’s busy and this is definitely a risk for Namajunas. But, Fiorot also looked pretty miserable in a points kickboxing battle with Katlyn Chookagian last time out and I’m not at all convinced she has good finishing instincts at a high level. I also really don’t like that sidekick as a distance maintenance tool. It’s too hard to follow up off of if an opponent can avoid it.
At her best, Namajunas is a much more deliberate, creative range striker with sharper punches. The Esparza fight sucked, but I feel like that may have been an over-correction for Esparza’s known wrestling chops in a way that won’t show up against a fighter who mostly wants to strike like Fiorot. My biggest question really is if Fiorot can lean on low kicks, that could put Namajunas off her game from the jump. But I’ll take Rose Namajunas by decision for now. It’s a big risk but she’s won bigger fights against better fighters.
Staff picking Fiorot: Dayne, Chris, Lucas, Eddie, Anton, Stephie, Tim, Kristen, Jack, Victor
Staff picking Namajunas: Zane
Benoit Saint-Denis vs. Thiago Moises
Dayne: This contest depends on whether Ismael Bonfim is as good as I thought he was. Saint-Denis was able to blast the up-and-coming Brazilian within a round. If Bonfim is as good as I thought, Saint-Denis should be able to do the same thing to the more established Moises.
I don’t say that without trepidation. Moises is far more savvy of a grappler. It’s incredibly easy to see him catching Saint-Denis in an armbar or a guillotine. The issue for me is that appears to be his only path to victory. Saint-Denis hits much harder, has greater output, and is made of iron himself. Moises’ toughness is underrated, but I certainly wouldn’t put his durability on par with Saint-Denis. Plus, Moises has struggled with bigger and aggressive opponents before. Saint-Denis checks those boxes. Saint-Denis via TKO of RD2
Victor: Man, look… Saint-Denis could really be the future. And not because he won with a few finishes, but how he’s making it look. The guy does a lot right and has a very complete game. Moises is a great talent and this is an absolute banger. That makes this fight at UFC Paris ultra compelling and I have reservations regarding Thiago’s ability to keep up with all facets of the fight. Benoit Saint-Denis by TKO, round 3.
Zane: I’m not 100% convinced I know what this fight looks like when it hits the mat. It could very well be that BSD’s aggressive assertiveness will walk him right into a leg lock like Moises hit on Michael Johnson.
But, Moises’ insistence in working off the back foot and letting opponents lead means he’s especially susceptible to aggressive pressure. If he’s going to let BSD close him down, clinch him up and likely take him down, I’m not going to pick Moises to get the hail mary or to rally back. Benoit Saint-Denis via TKO, round 3.
Staff picking Saint-Denis: Dayne, Lucas, Eddie, Anton, Stephie, Kristen, Victor, Zane
Staff picking Moises: Chris, Tim, Jack
Volkan Oezdemir vs. Bogdan Guskov
Dayne: Do y’all remember when Oezdemir made his UFC debut? It was on short notice against a heavily favored Ovince Saint Preux. Oezdemir pulled off the upset and blazed a quick path to a title shot after that. In the process, he’s only been receiving tough matchups since then and appears to be wearing down physically.
So why do I mention his debut? I get the feeling Guskov will be returning the favor Oezdemir gave to Saint Preux. Guskov hits plenty hard and Oezdemir isn’t exactly known for his chin. I wouldn’t say Oezdemir has a weak chin either, but he is the lesser athlete of the two and I think Guskov can find Oezdemir’s chin before Oezdemir finds his. I admit it’s a bit of a coin flip as Oezdemir isn’t without power himself, but why not go with the fun upset in a coin flip? Guskov via KO of RD1
Victor: I had to do my Googles, because I jumped in here and immediately thew my hands up and yelled “Now, just what in the fuck is a Bogdan Guskov?” Not even gonna look him up. His record says he hits harder than Child Support and when it comes to Volkan fighting a guy like this? I don’t trust like that. Bogdown Gasketswhatever by KO.
Zane: Guskov is out there doing his best Roy Jones Jr. impression, and it ain’t great. The best fighters he’s fought have beat him and the fighters he’s beat are… not great. Oezdemir is a huge step up and his patient pocket punching should be perfect to light Guskov up every time he steps into the pocket with his hands down. Volkan Oezdemir via KO, round 1.
Staff picking Oezdemir: Eddie, Anton, Stephie, Tim, Zane
Staff picking Gukov: Dayne, Chris, Lucas, Kristen, Jack, Victor
William Gomis vs. Yanis Ghemmouri
Dayne: Ghemmouri is a solid addition to the roster. Prior to the UFC Paris matchmaking shakeup that occurred to keep several fighters on the card, I was picking him to secure a win over Caolan Loughran. But Gomis appears to be a step up too high. For one, Gomis is enormous for featherweight and Ghemmouri was set to fight Loughran at 135.
Gomis is also a slick athlete who showed in his last outing against Francis Marshall that he knows how to game plan for his opponent. It won’t be easy to do so on limited time, but I like him to come out ahead to extend his UFC winning streak to three. Gomis via decision
Victor: Yeah, Gomis is good. He just hasn’t looked that good so far in the UFC despite his wins. When your only two losses are Morgan Charriere and KSW supernova Salahdine Parnasse… baby, those are some great losses to have. Ghemmouri is a problem. He does so many things so well, yet I have to agree with Dayne: Gomis fights smart to a degree that he’ll be able to control and limit Yanis’ output. Gomis via decision.
Zane: I really don’t like Ghemmouri’s footwork at all. It’s especially bad going forward. Which seems like a big problem considering how much Gomis likes to fight off the back foot. William Gomis via decision.
Staff picking Gomis: Dayne, Chris, Lucas, Eddie, Anton, Stephie, Tim, Kristen, Jack, Victor, Zane
Staff picking Ghemmouri:
Morgan Charriere vs. Manolo Zecchini
Dayne: Zecchini is the type of fighter Dana White loves: an aggressive headhunter with power. He has also is bereft of quality opposition on his resume. Charriere is the opposite: patient to a fault with LOTS of experience. If the fight goes to the distance, it’s possible Zecchini could sway the judges in his direction with his volume, even if he barely lands anything cleanly.
However, Charriere will have plenty of opportunities to counter at UFC Paris and has never been put away with strikes. The odds are skewed so badly that I’d be putting my money on Zecchini if I were a betting man. As a straight pick though, I’m going with the more polished Charriere. Charriere via TKO of RD3
Victor: Morgan is a marvelous prospect, and he’s gonna use the experience edge and striking chops to break down Manolo. Morgan Charriere by TKO, round 2.
Zane: Charriere is better everywhere, only question here is really his pacing. Zecchini has a lot of power, but off balances himself a lot and winds up walking himself out of his best ranges. Morgan Charriere via TKO, round 3.
Staff picking Charriere: Chris, Eddie, Anton, Dayne, Stephie, Tim, Kristen, Jack, Victor, Zane
Staff picking Zecchini: Lucas
Taylor Lapilus vs. Caolan Loughran
Dayne: It will be one day short of seven years since we last saw Lapilus in the UFC… and he’s still only 31. It could be argued the UFC treated him with kid gloves in his initial run, but he’s faced quality competition on the regional scene and held up exceedingly well. He’s easily a more skilled striker than Loughran, but he can’t match the power of the Irishman. …
To read the rest of our UFC Paris: Gane vs. Spivac staff picks head on over to Substack. Now that Bloody Elbow is a fully independent site the best way to support us, so that we can continue fearless coverage of combat sports, is to pick up a paid subscription. Paid subscribers help fund other exclusive content like editorials from Karim Zidan and Jonathan Snowden and investigations by John S. Nash.
Heading into UFC Paris Dayne retains a slim lead in our standings. However, it’s no longer just Eddie right behind him! At UFC Singapore Anton picked up one pick on the leaders and now he finds himself tied in second. With how they’ve picked things here we could very well see a new leader after UFC Paris.
|Position||Staffer||Correct||Incorrect||Total Picks||%||Picks Back||Week 29 Record|
|1 (-)||Dayne 🇺🇸||219||144||363||0.603||8-5|
|2 (▲)||Anton 🇵🇭||218||145||363||0.601||1||9-4|
|3 (▼)||Eddie 🏴☠️||218||145||363||0.601||1||8-5|
|4 (-)||Zane 🇺🇸||216||147||363||0.595||3||10-3|
|5 (-)||Kristen 🇺🇸||211||152||363||0.581||8||9-4|
|6 (-)||Stephie 🇫🇯||208||142||350||0.594||11||8-5|
|7 (-)||Tim 🇨🇦||200||163||363||0.551||19||8-5|
|8 (-)||Lucas 🇧🇷||198||153||351||0.564||21||9-4|
|9 (-)||Chris 🇺🇸||166||185||351||0.473||53||5-8|
|10 (-)||BE Community 🌎||156||139||295||0.529||63||10-2|
|11 (▲)||Jack 🇨🇦||137||105||242||0.566||82||8-5|
|12 (▼)||Victor 🇺🇸||136||114||250||0.544||83||0-0|
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