Australian UFC fighter Tai Tuivasa has suffered a TKO loss in his main event bout against France’s Ciryl Gane, knocked to the floor in front of 15,405 rowdy Parisian fans on Sunday morning AEST.
In one of the most entertaining bouts of his career, Tuivasa sent the vocal spectators into a frenzy after dropping Gane in the second round, only for the local hero to secure the comeback victory a few minutes later.
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After a relatively tame opening round in the French capital, things amped up in the second term when Tuivasa dropped Gane with a monster right hand.
“He knocked me out,” Gane admitted after the fight.
“The lights were out.”
But the French star bounced back immediately, quickly returning to his feet and stunning the Australian with series of body blows and well-directed kicks, leaving Tuivasa’s face dripping with blood.
The two men repeatedly wounded each another, with neither hitting the canvas.
Both fighters ended the second round in considerable pain.
Tuivasa continued copping heavy blows to the face as the third round got underway, but the 29-year-old kept absorbing the punches.
The freak of nature just refused to go down. He was defying biology.
But the decisive moment eventually came, with Tuivasa finally toppling onto the canvas after Gane delivered a couple of clean right hands, forcing referee Marc Goddard to wave off the contest.
It was a disappointing outcome for the Australian, but a wildly entertaining contest regardless.
“It wasn’t my day,” Tuivasa conceded after the defeat.
When asked who he wanted to fight next, Gane called out heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou.
“I want that belt,” he proclaimed.
Earlier, compatriot Robert Whittaker secured a comprehensive victory in his middleweight bout against Italy’s Marvin Vettori in the first ever UFC card in Paris.
Whittaker, who is eyeing a trilogy fight with New Zealand champion Israel Adesanya, rarely looked troubled in his unanimous decision victory (30-27 x 2, 29-28).
Vettori seemed to be struggling with his left hand, and the 28-year-old hardly landed a blow in the third and final round.
“Including the champion, I’m the most dangerous man in the division,” he said.
“I make people hate fighting. As for what’s next, I’m always gunning for that top spot.”
Whittaker and Vettori were meant to face off several months ago, but an injury to the Australian during his training camp delayed the bout.
UFC Paris Main card
Ciryl Gane defeated Tai Tuivasa — via KO — heavyweight
Robert Whittaker defeated Marvin Vettori — via unanimous decision (30-27 x 2, 29-28) — middleweight
Nassourdine Imavov defeated Joaquin Buckley — via unanimous decision (29-28 x 2, 30-27) — middleweight
Roman Koplyov defeated Alessio Di Chirico — via KO — middleweight
William Gomis defeated Jarno Errens — via majority decision (29-28 x 2, 29-29) — featherweight
Nathaniel Wood defeated Charles Jourdain — via unanimous decision (30-27 x 2, 29-28) — featherweight