UFC Paris: Gane vs. Spivac – Winners and Losers

Get the lowdown on the real winners and losers of UFC Paris: Gane vs. Spivac.

By: Dayne Fox | 3 weeks ago

Another UFC Fight Night has come and gone and we’ve established what we should have already known: Ciryl Gane is one of the best heavyweights in the world. He isn’t the best, but the amount of people who could regularly beat him at any time would be in the single digits. That became blatantly obvious when Gane barely broke a sweat to put away Sergey Spivak in under two rounds. It isn’t necessarily that he beat Spivak; it was the ease in which he did. 

Given Gane’s recent losses to Francis Ngannou and Jon Jones, he isn’t anywhere close to a title shot. The same can’t be said for Manon Fiorot, despite her victory over Rose Namajunas coming in a much less impressive manner. That said, a title shot isn’t guaranteed for Fiorot. Had she delivered the victory with an exclamation point, she might have been the biggest winner of the night. As it is, the win is probably going to end up getting lost in the mix as the debate is still whether she or Erin Blanchfield should have next. 

But who were the real winners and losers of the event? Sure, 11 UFC fighters officially had their hand raised in victory, but that doesn’t always mean they are the true winners of the night. Same with those who didn’t get their hand raised. Just like not all wins are created equal, not all losses are either. I’ll give you the lowdown on who the biggest winners and losers of the event were. I’ll limit it to three in each category, doing my best to avoid having the same combatants of a contest in both categories. Let’s dig in! 

Rose Namajunas gets punched in the face during her MMA fight at UFC Paris: Ciryl Gane vs. Sergery Spivak
USA Today / IMAGO / Per Haljestam

UFC Paris Winners 

Benoit Saint-Denis 

Following his UFC debut, no one thought Saint-Denis would be here. After all, he endured one of the worst beatings in the history of the organization. No one was questioning his toughness, but his skill set was such a question mark, many fans and analysts were predicting he’d wash out in a hurry. Following a change in weight class, Saint-Denis now finds himself not just on a four-fight win streak, but having secured a finish in each of those contests. His opponents haven’t been bums either; it wasn’t that long ago Thiago Moises was in the official rankings. 

Saint-Denis is a fine athlete and it’s clear he has been working hard on his technique in all areas. He still comes up short in that distinction in comparison to the best in the division, but he’s made up for it with a fearlessness that is rare, even amongst people who fight in front of millions of people in the equivalence of their underwear. There was no hesitation from him to take Moises to the mat despite the impressive BJJ accolades. It’s likely to cost him at some point, but it’s been a hell of an asset thus far. 

Volkan Oezdemir 

I know there are quite a few who might disagree with me putting Oezdemir on this list. Sure, he may have secured a first round finish, but he did so against an organizational debutant in Bogdan Guskov. Given he’s ranked in the UFC’s top ten, didn’t he just do what he was supposed to do? Well, yeah… but there was a strong indication Oezdemir may have been in decline entering this contest. At no point in the contest, did Oezdemir look like he was past his prime. In fact, it may have been the most complete performance of his career. 

With all the injuries and long delays between fights, it was fair to question if Oezdemir was still one of the better 205ers on the roster. Against Guskov, Oezdemir looked fresh and completely rejuvenated. He didn’t force the issue either, taking what Guskov had to offer when he gave up his back. I’m not sure the Oezdemir from a few years ago would have done that. As opposed to it being the end of the line as some thought, we may be witnessing the beginning of a reinvigorated act in Oezdemir’s career. 

Morgan Charriere 

Charriere has been a known quantity on the regional scene for quite some time. However, a rough start to his career combined with his continually fighting the other best fighters on the regional scene made for a rough win-loss record, likely delaying his touching down in one of the major organizations. Fortunately, he’s still just 27, but he proved he’s more than ready for the UFC by easily dismantling Manolo Zecchini within a round. 

From my vantage point, Charriere looks like someone who could flirt with the official UFC rankings for several years. There are some issues on his regional tape that have given me reason to pause on that type of assessment before. For one, he has been too passive in the past. If this fight with Zecchini is any indication, Charriere has been working on that. Making the type of debut he did will help his visibility with the UFC brass as well. Great start to his UFC career. 

UFC Paris Losers 

Sergey Spivak 

To keep his stock from dropping, all Spivak needed to do was have a competitive fight. He didn’t even need to win a round. He just needed a takedown or two, threaten with a submission, maybe even land a some heavy punches. Well, he landed a couple of clean punches, but the hopes of him being a ground threat never materialized given he couldn’t get the fight to the mat. In fact, Spivak spent most of the fight serving as a punching bag with legs. 

If we’re being fair to Spivak, the fact he has consecutively headlined Fight Night cards is him exceeding expectations by a wide margin in the first place. The problem is, if you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward. In retrospect, it’s easy to see Spivak had plenty of favorable matchups to carry him up to this point. He’s likely to settle into a more appropriate level of fights moving forward, but this showing will be on the minds of anyone thinking he might be worthy of a step up in competition. 

Rose Namajunas 

I vacillated about putting Namajunas here. She didn’t have a terrible performance. In fact, given she broke her finger early, she performed quite admirably. But there were a bunch of questions surrounding Namajunas entering the contest. For instance, was the move to 125 a panic move? A move because she’s losing her passion for the sport? Or was there a method to the madness? Those weren’t answered and there are more questions now that we’re on the other side of the fight. 

Now that she’s fought at flyweight, is she going to turn around and go back to strawweight? If she decides to stay, can she continue to bulk up without negatively impacting her skillset? She needs to if she’s to stay at 125 and compete for the title. Was the broken finger the only reason she never made a serious effort to take the fight to the mat? If not, what other reason(s) might she present? I’m not sure what to make of Namajunas. I get her legacy is one of the greatest strawweights of all time – if not the greatest – but her legacy shouldn’t be written already. Not at 31. 

Joselyne Edwards 

It wasn’t a terrible performance from Edwards. It wasn’t a great performance either, but she arguably won as neither herself nor Nora Cornolle took a single round definitively. But this spot is about lost opportunity. The loss slams the brakes on all the momentum she built up with her three-fight win streak. It isn’t necessarily just that the three fight win streak is snapped either; it’s that it was snapped by a debuting fighter whose MMA debut came after Edwards made her UFC debut. Edwards’ UFC debut came in 2021. 

At 27, Edwards has plenty of time to improve and make a serious run, but it’s hard to identify a better time for a dark horse to emerge in the division. Currently, there’s no champion and two of the ranked members of the division don’t have an official win at 135. A win over Cornolle could have set Edwards up to be in a prime position to make a run as four consecutive wins is hard to ignore. Instead, she’s not even going to find herself within the official UFC rankings, looking to begin another win streak. 

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About the author
Dayne Fox
Dayne Fox

Dayne Fox is a contributing writer and analyst for Bloody Elbow. He has been writing about combat sports since 2013 and a member of Bloody Elbow since 2016. Dayne primarily contributes opinion pieces and event coverage. Dayne’s specialties are putting together the preview articles for all the UFC events and post-fight analysis. Outside of writing on combat sports, Dayne works in the purchasing department of a construction company, formerly working as an analyst. He is also a proud husband and father. In what spare time he can find, he enjoys strategy games and is a movie enthusiast. He is based in Utah.

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