Booking Next Fights for Ciryl Gane and 5 Other UFC Paris Main Card Winners

After a spirited visit to France for UFC Paris, it’s time to look ahead for the main card winners like Ciryl Gane and Manon Fiorot and predict who they should be facing next inside the Octagon.

Related: UFC Paris Results – Big Homecoming For Ciryl Gane

Ciryl Gane vs. Jailton Almeida/Curtis Blaydes winner

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Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports

Ciryl Gane reminded everybody how he became an interim champion. Gane used impressive footwork to create angles and accurate striking to leave Sergei Spivac completely ineffective. Gane made his intentions to get his hands on a belt again very clear in both his performance and post-fight interview.

However, we can’t ignore the fact that he recently came up short in two attempts at claiming undisputed gold. Instead of fast-tracking him back into a title fight, let’s put him against the winner of Jailton Almeida and Curtis Blaydes. Both men excel in Ciryl Gane’s proven strategic weak point and whichever man emerges victorious from this trio would be more than deserving of a championship opportunity no matter who has the crown at that moment.

Manon Fiorot vs. Erin Blanchfield

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Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports

Despite the speed and slick defensive movement, Rose Namajunas showed in her flyweight debut, it just wasn’t enough to overcome the tremendous size and strength advantage of Manon Fiorot. Fiorot’s strikes landed with more consequence and she stonewalled Namajunas’ well-timed takedown attempts.

This by far represents Fiorot’s best win to date. Beating a former champion with a spotless record in the UFC makes a very strong case for a title shot. However, as was highlighted last week when Erin Blanchfield defeated Talia Santos, the possibility of a trilogy between Alexa Grasso and Valentina Shevchenko is too high to ignore. Oddsmakers currently say a Shevchenko victory is 87.5% likely.

With that in mind, putting Fiorot against Blanchfield keeps relevant action going on with the belt potentially being on hold. But the best thing to do here is just wait for Grasso to defend her belt. Grasso and Shevchenko rematch on Sept. 16.

Benoit Saint-Denis – Matt Frevola

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Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports

Benoit Saint-Denis and Thiago Moises were dedicated to crowd-pleasing violence, brain cells be damned. However, it was Saint-Denis who proved to be durable enough to handle the rigors of a close-range war. Perhaps the reckless approach was due in part to the “God of War” performing in front of his countrymen but it got the job done.

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Saint-Denis has hovered outside of the top 15 and deserves his chance to earn a number next to his name. Let’s pair him with Matt Frevola. That matchup could easily turn into a barn burner and could be pivotal for the future of the lightweight division. Frevola was last seen in a first-round finish of Drew Dober at UFC 288.

Volkan Oezdemir vs. Jan Blachowicz

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Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports

Volkan Oezdemir showed up to Paris looking like the destroyer who quickly found his way to a title shot in 2018. Accurate and powerful punches perfectly set up the first-round submission finish over Bodgan Guskov.

Oezdemir is one of the proven fighters at light heavyweight but may have hit his ceiling looking at several of his more recent defeats. A logical next step would be to pair him with another proven high-level 205er who could be facing a career crossroads.

A fight with former champ Jan Blachowicz could provide some clarity about where both men stand. Blachowicz most recently lost a decision to Alex Pereira at UFC 291.

William Gomis vs. Gavin Tucker

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Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports

While William Gomis’ TKO win over Yanis Ghemmouri could have benefited from a less controversial ending, it’s hard to take anything away from the MMA Factory product. Gomis stood toe to toe with a K1 vet and got the better of most of the exchanges. 

So far, Gomis has been successful against fighters that are new to the Octagon. Let’s give him a more established vet who hasn’t been able to reach contender status. Gavin Tucker is a good fit here. In his last outing, Tucker was quickly submitted by Diego Lopes.

Morgan Charriere vs. Luis Pajuelo

ciryl gane, ufc paris
Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports

Morgan Charriere couldn’t have asked for a better UFC debut. The French featherweight’s first trip to Octagon was on a main card in Paris and impressed. After a brief feeling-out process of striking exchanges with Manolo Zechini, he quickly found his range and delivered a series of fight-ending body kicks in the first round.

As exciting as his showcase was, Morgan Charriere shouldn’t be thrust into the spotlight rapidly. Putting the Cage Warriors vet up against a relatively new face makes more sense. A fight with Luis Pajuelo could be a fun and evenly-matched contest. Pajuelo just earned his UFC contract with a first-round stoppage of Robbie Ring last month in the Contender Series.

Ant Walker is a native of the Washington DC area that now lives in Los Angeles. He has been... More about Anthony Walker

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