It should really have been apparent even prior to UFC 265 tonight. And after the event — even more so. Ciryl ‘Bon Gamin’ Gane is certainly something completely different within the murder’s row that is the UFC’s heavyweight division.
Entering his first title tilt under the UFC’s banner, albeit for a rather futile interim crown, Gane turned in a splendid, measured, and composed performance on hostile soil opposite hometown hero, Derrick ‘The Black Beast’ Lewis — clinching the title and improving to 10-0 in the same breath.
Persistently picking apart Lewis’ lead orthodox leg with first flicking leg kicks before sitting down and firing his hips toward the Houston favourite, prior money lodged in the bank led to the ultimate finish for Gane in the third round it appears.
One particular leg kick to that left side seemed to really grab the unwanted attention of Lewis who appeared to almost bite his lip in tongue, in a probable attempt to disguise his incoming downfall.
Swarming with milling and often left hands as Lewis began to turn his back and shell up, the pair ended up in a scramble, where referee, Dan Miragliotta then, quite surprisingly momentarily called a timeout to hand Lewis back his mouthguard. And while both had returned to their feet at this stage, there didn’t appear to be a clear and obvious stoppage in the action to warrant such a stoppage.
Once more giving Lewis each and every opportunity to save himself and remain in contention in this fight at least, Miragliotta was eventually forced to call a permanent halt as Gane once more felled the favourite with a barrage at the fence and a subsequent volley of shots.
Controversy largely surrounded tonight’s headlining tilt between Lewis and Gane. And rightly so. But it was no fault or cause from either involved in the main event. It was the promotion themselves. The introduction of an interim heavyweight title does nothing more than really devalue the reign of Francis Ngannou which is, quite astonishingly, less than five months old.
It was a really futile introduction. And it’s nothing really more than a brazen attempt to scoop a pay-per-view purchase and add value to a clear #1 contender — which really didn’t need any sort of gold to accompany it.
On a positive note, however, we’ve now got a really intriguing story on the horizon to unify this situation. Fernand Lopez has now produced Francis Ngannou and Ciryl Gane as heavyweight titleholders under the UFC’s banner. A quite fantastic achievement for the MMA Factory principal. And whilst Ngannou has switched bases — the storyline surrounding the incoming unification clash of the Batie native and Gane is phenomenal as a direct result.
Staging this stanza anywhere else other than France amid the recent recognization of the sport in the country — particularly for the promotion’s debut in the region completely writes and sells itself, surely.