Cyril Gane got her first chance to snatch the UFC Heavyweight title back in January of this year. In a 5 round main event against Francis Ngannou he was outworked by Ngannou who had come into the bout nursing a knee injury.
Ngannou landed takedown after takedown and held down Gane. In a recent interview Gane expressed tremendous regret he had about his own strategy heading into the match:
“Honestly, I was surprised by that,” Gane says.
“My coach said to be ready, and he made a great game plan because he thought Francis would try to take me down. ”
Gane is relatively young and has a kickboxing background which left a gap in his MMA arsenal – wrestling.
His coach (and Ngannou’s former coach) Fernand Lopez revealed that he enlisted two Dagestani wrestlers to help Gane become a well rounded mixed martial artist.
“In the plane back in home, I already give a call. Two heavyweight coming from Dagestan for wrestling. I already give a call of two tough guy in the grappling. The next four months Ciryl Gane will eat grappling like he never did. Of course, anyway, what you have left [in the heavyweight division]? Three persons – Stipe Miocic, wrestler; Jon Jones, wrestler; Curtis Blaydes, wrestler; Francis [Ngannou], decent wrestling.”
Gane and his team enlisted the help of Zaurbek Sabanov and team Alania mma of Republic of North Ossetia. For those unaware Ossetia is bordering with both Chechnya and Dagestan.
This will be the first time UFC has a card in France, for a number of years MMA was illegal in France. France has huge ties with the Judo community which has looked down on MMA. The restrictions in France had a work around – according to Francis Ngannou at ‘MMA’ events in France during the ban you wouldn’t be allowed to strike on the ground, only to grapple.
Ciryl Gane is scheduled to meet Tai Tuivasa in the main event of UFC Paris for the heavyweight contender spot. Tuivasa is coming off of a KO victory over Derrick Lewis.