CAPE TOWN - Ciryl Gane feels that now is his time to fight for the Ultimate Fighting Championship Heavyweight title.
Following the Frenchman's unanimous decision win over Russia’s Alexander Volkov (33-9) at UFC Fight Night in Las Vegas, USA, he stated: “Now, I’m looking for the belt. A match-up for the belt. 100%. If it happens, it will be a war like today for sure,” said Ciryl referring to a match-up with Cameroon’s Francis Ngannou (16-3) who sits on the throne following a devastating knockout against UFC great, Stipe Miocic (20-4) at UFC 260 earlier this year.
Ciryl himself put on a stellar performance, playing to his strengths by remaining clinical throughout his five-round fight, eventually getting a 50-45 50-45 and 49-46 result over the number five-ranked, Alexander.
Ciryl (196cm tall) controlled the pace for most of the fight, taking the action to his much taller opponent (201cm).
In the first round, staying fleet-footed, Cyril was hardly threatened by Alexander’s attempts despite some good lands early on with Ciryl responding with effective low kicks before delivering a well-timed and positioned front kick that seemed to have hit the sweet spot. That was soon followed by a big left hand and another combination to secure the first round.
In the second round, the more-reserved Alexander possibly landed his best combination of the fight but it was a telling moment early on as Ciryl just built momentum and fed off the attack with some aggressive intention.
The third and fourth rounds saw Alexander mix up his leg kicks to economical punches that evidently seemed to be the best he had on the night.
Credit must be given to Ciryl as his response during these middle rounds - to onset of the championship rounds - saw him let loose his leather mixing up some beautiful jab-work with some Muay Thai knee work.
Proud of this fight, and proud to have shared the octagon with a warrior like Alexander Volkov 🙏— Ciryl Gane (@ciryl_gane) June 27, 2021
It was hard, but it confirmed that I'm right there with the best in the world. 🇫![CDATA]>🇷
Let the next Chapter begin. pic.twitter.com/wENexNVoD8
Takedowns were few and far in the match with Ciryl being the only one who really initiated one or two that did not seem to pay dividends.
In the last round, Alexander - who had been opened up in the previous rounds - suffered one of those ugly eye-pokes which led to Ciryl copping a warning close to the end of the bout.
The final bell rang with Ciryl remaining unbeaten in his mixed martial arts career - an incredible feat considering it only started in 2018, prior to that he was enjoying an amazing Muay Thai career.
“We are comfortable with 25 minutes. I’m really happy with everything that’s happening at this moment. We did it twice. Two main events, two wins, I’m really happy,” says Ciryl who trains out of Paris’ MMA Factory - the same gym Francis used to train out of before moving to Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas.
“For the main event, people want a show. Today, I think I felt a little bit more pressure. We were really prepared for his performance. Volkov is a big guy, really tough, really heavy, taller than me, he has good kicks, good striking too. The fight was really balanced and I’m really happy about that. I’m already confident and no, this doesn’t add any pressure. I’m undefeated in the UFC, but trust me, in my gym, I’m really not undefeated.”
Some athletes were not too impressed with the performance and UFC number two-ranked heavyweight, Derrick Lewis - who is set to face Francis for the title next - shared his thoughts on Twitter: “Karate sparring match @ufc,” he tweeted.
This must have been a disappointing loss for Alexander following two wins against Walt Harris (13-10 1 No Contest) and the legendary Alistair Overeem (47-19 1 No Contest), respectively.
Ciryl Gane beat Alexander Volkov via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 49-46).
Tanner Boser beat Ovince Saint Preux via KO (punches) in round 2.
Andre Fili vs Daniel Pineda - No Contest due to accidental eye poke suffered by Daniel.
Tim Means beat Nicolas Dalby via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
Renato Moicano beat Jai Herbert via rear-naked choke submission in the second round.
Kennedy Nzechukwu beat Danilo Marques via technical knockout (punches) in the third round.
Shavkat Rakhmonov beat Michel Prazeres by rear-naked choke submission in the second round.
Jeremiah Wells beat Warlly Alves via KO (punches) in round two.
Marcin Prachnio beat Ike Villanueva by technical knockout (body kick) in round two.
Julia Avila defeats Julija Stoliarenko via rear-naked choke submission in round thre.
Charles Rosa beat Justin Jaynes by split decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28).
Damir Hadzovic beat Yancy Medeiros by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
Fight of the Night:
Raoni Barcelos vs. Timur Valiev
Performances of the Night: