Ciryl Gane maintained his undefeated record and staked his claim for a heavyweight title shot by beating Alexander Volkov by unanimous decision in the main event of UFC Fight Night on Saturday.
Gane (9-0) came into the bout as the No. 3 contender in the heavyweight division, and saw the fight as an opportunity to earn a shot at Francis Ngannou.
Gane ready to fight training partner for title
He easily outpointed Volkov, winning 50-45, 50-45, 49-46 on the night.
Gane picked apart Volkov, using his speed and agility to keep Volkov (33-9) on the back foot throughout the fight. Volkov landed a few big punches and found some success with leg kicks, but it wasn’t nearly enough to give himself a chance to win on the cards.
Gane trained with Ngannou earlier in his career, and has said that he would only want to fight Ngannou if it were for the heavyweight championship. That moment could now arrive at any time.
“I think it’s okay. Now I’m comfortable with the situation,” Gane said after the fight. “We were born in the same gym with the same coach. Now, for the title, for the belt, I can do this.”
Gane also praised Volkov’s power, saying this was his toughest MMA fight yet.
Proud of this fight, and proud to have shared the octagon with a warrior like Alexander Volkov 🙏
It was hard, but it confirmed that I'm right there with the best in the world. 🇫🇷
Let the next Chapter begin. pic.twitter.com/wENexNVoD8
— Ciryl Gane (@ciryl_gane) June 27, 2021
“He’s really tough,” Gane said after the fight. “It’s the first time a man [hit] me like him.”
Moldavsky beats Johnson, eyes unification bout vs. Bader
Valentin Moldavsky (11-1) won the Bellator interim heavyweight championship on Friday with a convincing 50-45, 49-46, 49-46 unanimous decision victory over Tim Johnson. The Russian didn’t get the finish he wanted, but he recovered from a strong start by Johnson, finding the range and using the clinch to get to dominant positions as the fight slowed in the later rounds.
“I thought the fight was going to be a little easier,” Moldavsky said afterward. “It is what it is.”
Moldavsky could now face off against heavyweight champion Ryan Bader to unify the belts. Bader is currently fighting primarily at light heavyweight in Bellator.
Pettis suffers second PFL loss
Former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis expected to find success in the Professional Fighters League (PFL). Instead, he suffered his second straight PFL loss on Friday as Raush Manfio defeated him by split decision to eliminate Pettis from playoff contention.
Pettis had the best of the action early, but Manfio (13-3) scored two knockdowns in the third and final round, nearly finishing the fight. All three judges scored the fight 29-28, with two awarding the bout to Manfio.
Pettis (24-12) has now lost four of his past six fights. Manfio earned a spot in the PFL playoffs with the win.
McGregor supports Irish MMA athletes
Conor McGregor provided funding for 27 young Irish fighters to cover their expenses as they travel to the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation youth MMA championship. The athletes range in age from 12 to 18, and will compete in Bulgaria from July 29 to Aug. 1.
The Irish Mixed Martial Arts Association is very proud to announce that Ireland’s MMA superstar @TheNotoriousMMA has thrown his weight behind the National Youth Squad traveling to the @IMMAFed Youth World MMA Championships 🇮🇪🇮🇪https://t.co/FMq8XFLx3y pic.twitter.com/j8cBMhqjM5
— IMMAA (@IMMAAOnline) June 26, 2021
“It’s fantastic news for all the athletes, coaches, and the Irish MMA community that Conor has shown his passion for the sport in this way and is helping pave the way for the next ‘Conor,’” IMMAF president Kerrith Brown said in a statement.