While winning comes first and foremost in fighting games, it is impressive to win the key to securing a shot at a world championship. Ciryl Gane got a clear win over Jairzinho Rozenstruik in the heavyweight main event at Saturday’s UFC Fight Night in Las Vegas, but probably did not do enough to throw his hat in the ring as a potential title challenger.
Rozenstruik is known as one of the heaviest hitters in the division, prompting Gane to take a careful proach and use his more technical strike to keep his distance while patiently using single shots to prevent Rozenstruik from really getting his offense rolling in five-round match. Rozenstruik, on the other hand, seemed reluctant to push the tempo and try to force Gane into unpleasant striking exchanges.
This pattern was quickly established in the opening round as Gane snapped Rozenstruik’s head back with a stiff jab from a good range. After that, the action never really picked up, with Rozenstruik circling, waiting for opportunities to counter blows that never came. Without the need to change his proach, Gane simply stabbed Rozenstruik from a distance through the fight and picked up the decision win, and only occasionally allowed the distance to be closed, using the threat of a removal to force Rozenstruik to free himself.
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“I expected a little more from him, maybe more attacks,” Gane said of Rozenstruik’s attack after his victory. “I was a little surprised by that. But I’m just hpy.”
After five carbon copy rounds of Gane methodically picking the enemy of art, all three official scorecards read 50-45, improving Gane to 8-0 as a professional.
“I did not put on a big show for the fans,” Gane said. “But I came back with a big win, so I’m really happy about it. This guy is really tough and dangerous. I just wanted to make it, and I did.”
The Heavyweight Championship will be on the field on March 27, when Francis Ngannou gets his second crack at champion Stipe Miocic in UFC 260’s biggest event. The winner can be lined up to meet longtime lightweight king Jon Jones, who left the title in 2020 to prepare for a long-awaited switch to the heavyweight division.
Gane’s victory was probably not impressive enough to put him immediately in the mix over a man like Jones or even Derrick Lewis who scored a thunderous knockout by Curtis Blaydes on February 20th. But Gane said he is ready for a quick turnaround and evenly suggested he is willing to be on standby if Ngannou or Miocic drop out of their upcoming title fight and say, “[I’m ready to return] as soon as you want. If anyone gets hurt by the belt, I’m here. “