UFC Paris: Gane vs. Spivac – Fights to make

All the best, most interesting, and unquestionably coolest fights that need booking following UFC Paris.

By: Zane Simon | 4 weeks ago
UFC Paris: Gane vs. Spivac – Fights to make
Per Haljestam IMAGO/USA Today

UFC Paris wasn’t all that special an event when it came to actual in-cage performances. Ciryl Gane got an easy-breezy win in the main event; Manon Fiorot scraped by a one-handed Rose Namajunas; and Benoit Saint-Denis looked every part of a future top-10 lightweight against Thiago Moises. But what made it something more was an electric crowd with lots of home-grown talent to root for and the joys of a morning fight card for US fans.

So, is there any other fight out there other than Tom Aspinall for Gane? Is there a better argument for Manon Fiorot as a title challenger than Erin Blanchfield? And is Benoit Saint-Denis really going to get a ranked lightweight next time out?

To answer those questions—but not much else—I’ll be using the classic Silva/Shelby fight booking methodology from the UFC of years past. That means pitting winners against winners, losers against losers, and similarly tenured talent up against one another. Hopefully, by following that model, a few of these bout ideas will actually make it off the page and into the Octagon. Now, let’s get to the fights!

UFC Paris: Fights to Make


Ciryl Gane delivered a great reminder on Saturday, that while his wrestling and grappling skills may not be at an elite level in comparison to the likes of Jon Jones, they’re still plenty good enough to stay ahead of most other heavyweights. Sergey Spivac likely waited too long and through too many low kicks before getting in on his first takedown, but he had some good chances to take Gane to the mat and couldn’t get anywhere close.

Otherwise, on the feet, Gane reasserted why he’s such a difficult task for many heavyweights to handle. Namely, he’s still one of the best fighters in the division at maintaining his range and at picking multiple targets to attack. Gane did well to chop the legs, and jab up top to stop Spivac from pressuring. The moment Spivac took to the back foot instead, Gane started crushing him to the body to force his hands away from his head. The end result was a thoroughly one-sided thrashing.

There may not be any clear path to a Jon Jones rematch as a result, but there’s also a lot of reason to wonder if Jones is even going to keep fighting long term. Gane is still very much primed as a top contender for some future version of the heavyweight title. And while he didn’t jump on the idea after his UFC Paris win, the most likely path to keeping that spot will be a fight with top rising newcomer Tom Aspinall.

July 23, 2022, Greenwich, London, London, UK, United Kingdom: LONDON, UK - JULY 23: Tom Aspinall prepares to fight Curtis Blaydes battles in their Heavyweight bout during the UFC Fight Night: Blaydes v Aspinall event at The O2 Arena on July 23, 2022, in Greenwich, London, United Kingdom. Greenwich, London United Kingdom - ZUMAp175 20220723_zsa_p175_109 Copyright: xScottxGarfittx
A must-see striker vs. striker battle. – Scott Garfitt IMAGO/ZUMA Wire

Otherwise, I have to assume that Sergei Pavlovich is getting the next title shot, whether that’s for a vacant belt or against the Jones/Miocic winner. That leaves the upcoming bout between Curtis Blaydes & Jailton Almeida as the division’s other top fight. While that winner would unquestionably be an interesting test for ‘Bon Gamin’ no matter who wins, it’s not nearly as thrilling as the Aspinall matchup. Ciryl Gane vs. Tom Aspinall seems too easy a good fight to ignore.


I don’t know if it’s for better or worse that this was the fight I expected from Sergey Spivac against Ciryl Gane. On the one hand, he certainly didn’t exceed any expectations. But, I’d also argue he didn’t really fail many either. Spivac has never really, truly had a functional striking game, he’s never been one of the division’s most durable fighters, and he’s only rarely been a real lockdown wrestler. His great assets have been his top control grappling and his cardio. Once he could find an easy way to get Gane to the mat, things turned to one-way traffic in a hurry.

MMA: UFC Fight Night - Volkov vs Romanov Mar 11, 2023; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Alexander Volkov (red gloves) fights Alexander Romanov (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Virgin Hotel. Las Vegas Virgin Hotel Nevada USA, EDITORIAL USE ONLY PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTxONLY Copyright: xRonxChenoyx 20230311_szo_ac4_0179
One of these two needs to show something extra. – Ron Chenoy IMAGO/USA Today

Fortunately for the ‘Polar Bear’ however, there are plenty of heavyweights out there still who don’t have the quickness or technique to stop Spivac from dragging them to the mats. There’s no reason he can’t keep being a competitive top-10 fighter. Bouts against Jairzinho Rozenstruik, Alexander Romanov, Marcos Rogerio de Lima, or even a rematch with Marcin Tybura would all be worthwhile bookings. If the UFC really believes that Spivac should be part of the top 5 they could put him in against the loser of Almeida vs. Blaydes.

I think the Romanov fight makes the most sense. Two men working one-dimensional games who need to find more tools if they’re ever going to make a title run. Romanov vs. Spivac is a strong wrestler/grappler battle.


Beating Rose Namajunas is nothing to be sneezed at, but this fight could have been a much more definitive declaration of Manon Fiorot’s position as the no. 1 contender. It was pretty clear that ‘Thug’ Rose broke her finger on her right hand early on, and spent most of the fight working solely off her left. But even with that obvious handicap she managed to win the 3rd round with a tiring/coasting Fiorot. The Frenchwoman is mostly just lucky that Erin Blanchfield didn’t look any more dominant, herself, last time out—so neither woman is really the fighter to compete for gold next time out.

March 4, 2023, Las Vegas, NV, LAS VEGAS, NV, USA: LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 4: (L-R) Alexa Grasso battles Valentina Shevchenko in their Women s Flyweight fight during the UFC 285 event at T-Mobile Arena on March 4, 2023 in Las Vegas, NV, USA. Las Vegas, NV USA - ZUMAp175 20230304_zsa_p175_248 Copyright: xLouisxGrassex
Champ’s gonna need a new contender soon. – Louis Grasse IMAGO/ZUMA Wire

Ideally it seems like the fight to make, then, would be Blanchfield vs. Fiorot. See if one of these women can’t make themselves look like one of the best in the world against the other. Realistically, however, with a title fight just around the corner, we’re going to need someone to fight for the belt in the next 6 months. My gut says Fiorot will get the chance. Manon Fiorot vs. the Shevchenko/Grasso 2 winner seems likely.


Exactly the kind of fight Benoit Saint-Denis needed to take to an opponent like Thiago Moises. The Brazilian’s willingness to fight off the back foot and look for counters or to try and win out scrambles on the mat meant that Saint-Denis would always get a lot of chances to initiate his own game if he was willing to stay on aggressive and keep the offensive output high. That’s exactly what he did, with a nice steady diet of brawling punches and smothering wrestling, to sap Moises’ will and get the TKO.

After the fight he called for the loser (???) of Mateusz Gamrot vs. Rafael Fiziev, which is very practical—but also kind of lame. Why would a fighter want to set themselves up to take on someone riding a potentially crushing loss? Who knows what frame of fitness—mentally or physically—someone’s going to be in after a defeat. It especially seems nonsensical given how many top 15 lightweights there are out there right now, coming off wins, without a next fight booked.

Matchups with L’udovit Klein, Joel Alvarez, or even Grant Dawson, Renato Moicano, Matt Frevola, or Dan Hooker all seem more reasonable. Hell even Carlos Diego Ferreira has a ranking over Benoit Saint-Denis. That really needs to change. Carlos Diego Ferreira vs. Benoit Saint-Denis is a great fight to get a number next to the Frenchman’s name, and set him up for bigger fights.


Something of a ‘must win’ spot for ‘No Time.’ Oezdemir had a seriously tough challenge in front of him with Azamat Murzakanov, but when Murzakanov had to step out due to injury, the 33-year-old got a pretty one-dimensional newcomer in Bogdan Guskov. Guskov looked dangerous for a minute or two trading punches, but once Oezdemir started throwing in some takedowns and getting the Uzbek fighter to think about more than just hands, the Kill Cliff talent started lighting him up everywhere. The finish wasn’t far behind.

That should put Oezdemir back in the path of a top 15 light heavyweight. And if that’s the case, then re-booking Murzakanov wouldn’t be the worst idea. But fights with Dustin Jacoby, Alonzo Menifield, Khalil Rountree, or even an Anthony Smith rematch wouldn’t be a bad idea. Part of me thinks that this would be a good opportunity for Jacoby, just because I can’t think of another great fight for the American, but the reality is that Oezdemir vs. Rountree is just a much much cooler fight. The UFC should make it happen.


An absolutely overwhelming performance from Farid Basharat. Kleydson Rodrigues has some serious speed and power, but he was far too willing to let Basharat in on his legs. The more time ‘Ferocious’ had to work there, the more likely he was going to drag the Brazilian into scrambles where his superior technique would win out. That arm triangle he hit to finish the fight was a real thing of beauty. Pure power and pressure with no time at all to fight it off.

The UFC usually likes to protect their TUF winners a bit, but with Brad Katona being in his second stint with the promotion now, I would love to see him take on someone like Basharat. Otherwise, if he wants a really big step up, there’s opponents like Mario Bautista and Kyler Phillips. I’ll stick with Katona vs. Basharat. A solid challenge for both men to see if they can capitalize on high expectations.

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About the author
Zane Simon
Zane Simon

Zane Simon is a senior editor, writer, and podcaster for Bloody Elbow. He has worked with the website since 2013, taking on a wide variety of roles. A lifelong combat sports fan, Zane has trained off & on in both boxing and Muay Thai. He currently hosts the long-running MMA Vivisection podcast, which he took over from Nate Wilcox & Dallas Winston in 2015, as well as the 6th Round podcast, started in 2014. Zane is also responsible for developing and maintaining the ‘List of current UFC fighters’ on Bloody Elbow, a resource he originally developed for Wikipedia in 2010.

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