Ciryl Gane didn’t thrill fight fans with his dominant win over Jairzinho Rozenstruik on Saturday, but he may have put himself one step closer to a shot at the UFC heavyweight championship with the victory.
Gane dominated from start to finish, controlling Rozenstruik with superior wrestling to win a unanimous 50-45, 50-45, 50-45 decision.
Undefeated Gane angling for title shot
The win moved Gane to 8-0 in his MMA career, including a 5-0 mark inside the UFC.
“I got a big win, so I’m really happy for that,” Gane said after the fight. “I think I proved something. I can do five rounds, I can manage five rounds. I’m very comfortable with five rounds.”
Gane used his length and kickboxing background to pepper Rozenstruik with leg and body kicks throughout the fight. That largely nullified Rozenstruik’s infamous power. While Rozenstruik (11-2) landed a few big shots, he never put together the kind of sustained offense that threatened to change the outcome of the fight.
According to Gane, a win over a top-ranked opponent, combined with his unblemished record, should make him a title contender.
“I’m legit,” Gane said. “I’m undefeated and I’m the only one undefeated in this division in the rankings. I think I’m legit. I want to say it to everybody: In the next months, if you have a place, if someone has an injury, I’m here.”
UFC president Dana White is among those who shared mixed reviews of Gane’s performance.
“Everybody’s talking about Ciryl being this big contender, but look at what Francis Ngannou did to Jairzinho,” White told Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports. “This was his coming out party and his chance to show the world who he is. He won, but let’s leave it at that. He won.”
Poirier, McGregor move toward trilogy fight
Dustin Poirier (27-6) told Joe Rogan that his next fight could well be a rubber match against Conor McGregor (22-5). Poirier is coming off a dominant win over McGregor at UFC 257 in January.
“Conor wants the trilogy, and I do too,” Poirier told Rogan. “If they want to do it, let’s do it.”
The fight would provide both men with a lucrative payday, and settle the score for them and their respective fanbases as well.
“This is going to be a big fight,” Poirier said. “He knocked me out, I knocked him out. The trilogy. For sure, one of the biggest fights this year, but maybe of all time … I think the trilogy makes a lot of sense and a lot of money.”
Zhang to defend title vs. Namajunas
ESPN reported Friday that the UFC is targeting a strawweight title fight between champion Zhang Weili and Rose Namajunas for UFC 261 on April 24. That would become the second women’s title fight on the card, joining a flyweight contest between Valentina Shevchenko and Jessica Andrade.
Zhang (21-1) defeated Andrade for the strawweight title in 2019, then defended that crown in a thrilling split decision win over Joanna Jedrzejczyk last year.