What’s Next: UFC Paris Winners

Ciryl Gane, UFC Paris
Ciryl Gane, UFC Paris weigh-in, Sept. 1, 2023 Credit: Patrick McCorry/Cageside Press

UFC Paris was a triumphant return to France for the UFC, and a triumphant return to the winner’s circle for Ciryl Gane. In Saturday’s heavyweight main event, the former interim champ and two-time heavyweight title challenger battered and bludgeoned Serghei Spivac en route to a TKO victory.

What’s next for “Bon Gamin?” We gaze into our matchmaking crystal ball for that and the rest of the UFC Paris main card winners.

Ciryl Gane

French star Gane got back on the winning track with a dominant performance and second-round TKO of Serghei Spivac on Saturday. Gane’s takedown defense was only tested a few times but it held up in each instance as Serghei telegraphed his attempts and had trouble entering the range that Ciryl kept so masterfully.

There are two main options for the number two heavyweight in the UFC next. He could fight Tom Aspinall in another installment of the heated rivalry between France and England. Aspinall might be up for a title shot soon if the winner of Jon Jones vs Stipe Miocic retires vacates the belt after their fight in November. So, the better option is probably the winner of #5 Curtis Blaydes vs #9 Jailton Almeida. Both fighters prefer to fight on the ground, with Blaydes having a traditional American wrestling background and Jailton being a jiu-jitsu master. Gane held up vs Spivac, but after the blunders against Ngannou and Jones, more testing of his takedown defense is required.

Gane’s Next Fight: Winner of Blaydes/Almeida

Manon Fiorot

The third-ranked women’s flyweight got the biggest win of her career at UFC Paris as she outclassed former strawweight champion Rose Namajunas. Rose could not get into the fight as Fiorot used her length and sharp striking to cruise to a decision. Fiorot has now won all six of her UFC fights and could face the winner of Alexa Grasso vs Valentina Shevchenko 2 in two week’s time. Grasso won their first fight, so if Valentina can strike back that would likely necessitate a trilogy, leaving Fiorot waiting in the wings.

Still, she has more than earned her shot at gold. If she has to wait then she could face off fellow shooting star Erin Blanchfield, who just beat Taila Santos in a close decision in Singapore, but the title shot makes more sense for Manon at this point.

Fiorot’s Next Fight: Winner of Grasso/Shevchenko

Benoit Saint-Denis

Saint-Denis is a budding star and a seriously nasty action fighter. He got his fourth win, all of which have come by finish, in a row at UFC Paris and seemed to be the home crowd’s favorite fighter of the entire night. This win over Thiago Moises is the biggest of his career – Moises did have a ranking at one point after all — and Saint-Denis can likely expect a ranked opponent next.

Benoit called for a fight against the loser of Fiziev vs Gamrot in his post-fight interview, but that may be jumping the gun as they are both top-ten lightweights. A more appropriate opponent might be fellow finisher Jalin Turner, who has potential but finds himself on a two-fight losing streak after the run that got him a ranking. Both men would be seriously tested in this fight and it would be a treat for the fans.

Saint-Denis’ Next Fight: Jalin Turner

Volkan Oezdemir

Ninth-ranked light-heavyweight Volkan Oezdemir dispatched short notice replacement Bogdan Guskov with relative ease at UFC Paris. It must be a relief for the former title challenger to get back in the win column as he had lost three of his last four going into this fight.

Oezdemir’s original opponent for the Paris card was Azamat Murzakanov, the undefeated Russian sambo specialist. Murzakanov is still one of the brighter prospects in the division and deserves to fight up. Meanwhile, despite beating Guskov it still makes sense for Oezdemir to fight down given Bogdan was just a debuting fighter in the promotion.

Oezdemir’s Next Fight: Azamat Murzakanov

William Gomis

Gomis was clearly ahead in his bout against Yanis Ghemourri at UFC Paris before a bizarre referee call caused the fight to be called a TKO after a questionable groin strike against Ghemourri. Still, a win is a win, Gomis was likely about to prevail anyways, and this victory is his third in a row since joining the promotion, giving him one of the hotter streaks at 145lbs.

There are several featherweights with potential who are gunning for a shot at the rankings, so Gomis should face one of them to narrow the field of contention. In three weeks Charles Jourdain and Ricardo Ramos will face off in a battle of flashy strikers. Gomis could fight the winner of that bout, who would be on a two-fight winning streak at that point, and it would likely prove to be both exciting and meaningful for the featherweight division.

Gomis’ Next Fight: Winner of Jourdain/Ramos

Morgan Charriere

The man with one of the best nicknames in MMA, Morgan ‘The Last Pirate’ Charriere, got style points as he picked up a win in his UFC debut via body kicks against Manolo Zecchini. The former Cage Warriors standout has a bright future as a popular fighter in his home country while the UFC looks to continue its push into the French market.

Charriere is just twenty-seven and can be afford to be built up carefully for the time being. A fighter like Austin Lingo, who is a well-rounded fighter but has a 2-3 record in the UFC, would be a sensible opponent for Morgan’s sophomore effort. If he continues to put on shows like this then he will be looking towards the rankings in the near future.

Charriere’s Next Fight: Austin Lingo