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What was the highlight of UFC Fight Night 209 at the Accor Arena in Paris? Here are some post-fight thoughts.
Abus Magomedov defeats Dustin Stoltzfus on his debut
Add Abus Magomedov to the growing list of dangerous fighters from Russia. He completely knocked out Dustin Stoltzfus 19 seconds into his octagon debut.
Magomedov (25-4-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) opened the fight with a great front jab to the jaw that rocked his opponent. Then applied pressure until he got the finish. Although the quality of the competition was not the highest, it was exactly what Magomedov needed to make a memorable debut.
It’s clear he thinks he belongs, too, as Magomedov had no problem saying he would “destroy” UFC champion Israel Adesanya. This happened during his post-fight press conference session with reporters. He probably needs to tone down his role on that front, but we don’t hate confidence.
We’ll have to see more of Magomedov to get a better idea of what he’s all about, but he gave us a lot to think about for his debut.
Nathaniel Wood gets a unanimous decision over Charles Jourdain at UFC Paris
Nathaniel Wood moving up a weight class is still the right call for his career. He’s now 2-0 in the weight class after taking a unanimous decision over Charles Jourdain. It is absolutely clear that’s massive for him.
Wood (19-5 MMA, 6-2 UFC) has had some success fighting at bantamweight. However, he openly admits that cutting weight has taken something away from him. Seeing these performances at 145 pounds, we’d have to agree with him.
Regardless of which division Woody competes in, he has a huge task ahead of him. Featherweight and flyweight are as deep as it gets in the sport. Therefore, Wood has a tough climb to the top. If it’s all the same, why not fight in the division where you feel the best physically? We can appreciate Woody doing that.
Whittaker vs Vettori
The margin between Robert Whittaker and the other welterweight contenders was further defined when the former UFC champion took a three-round majority decision win over Marvin Vettori.
Coming into the fight, Whittaker (24-6 MMA, 15-4 UFC) showed he’s on a different level than anyone not named Israel Adesanya. Vettori was a compelling test given his moments of success against Adesanya. However, he didn’t have much to offer, and Whittaker once again shined. This was just a reminder of the clear order at 185 pounds division.
It’s a difficult position for Whittaker. It’s the same as what Max Holloway went through in his weight class. He’s better than anyone he’ll face outside of the current champion of his division. The difference, however, is that Whittaker has been vocal about his relentless desire to set up a third fight, while Holloway played it off as if he was indifferent to it.
Whittaker’s passion for capturing UFC gold once again is admirable. Still, if he wants to make it a reality, he needs to be the biggest fan of Alex Pereira vs. Adesanya when they meet for gold at UFC 281 in November. Because as great as he is, we have to look at his first two fights against the champion and admit that Adesania is better.
Gane shows off against Tai Tuivasa in Paris
Cyril Gane made his case to become one of the most entertaining fighters in the heavyweight division when he had his first fight of the night in his UFC tenure against Tai Tuivasa.
Because of his precise striking style, some fans labeled Gane (11-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC) as a point fighter or simply too risk-averse. He put these negative narratives to bed with a bloody fight with Tuivasa, where he emerged victorious.
We love watching it, but if you’re Gane, you probably don’t want to get into the habit of this type of fight. But now, at least, he knows he can, and this is another ace that strikes fear into his fellow heavyweights.
Gane may have slipped up and missed a big opportunity to deliver on his title fight against Francis Ngannou in January, but if he can capitalize on that result and build on it, he’ll be a big problem.
There was a lot of pressure on Gane to make his UFC debut in his native France, and Gane showed up with a valiant effort that expanded the conversation around his name. He couldn’t ask for more than that.