UFC Paris: Gane vs Tuivasa – Prelims predictions

The UFC returns from a two week break to make history with the companies first ever card from Paris, France.

The historic card is headlined by hometown heavyweight favourite Ciryl Gane, as he takes on fan favourite and knockout artist Tai Tuivasa in the main event.

The co-main will also see two world class middleweight contenders go head-to-head too as Robert Whittaker and Marvin Vettori clash in a potential title eliminator.

Last time out at UFC 278 we saw an amazing card, where we landed 7/12 correct picks with three perfect picks to move to 705/1094 (64.51%) with 298 perfect picks (42.26%). You can see our full picks history here.

We’ll try to improve on that here with this solid card and after starting with the early prelims here, we pick the rest of the prelims now.

Nassourdine Imavov (11-3) vs Joaquin Buckley (15-4) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A super fun middleweight scrap up next. Imavov has won his last two via knockout, stopping Ian Heinisch and then Edmen Shahbazyan most recently at UFC 268. Buckley has claimed three wins in a row, KO’ing Antonio Arroyo, earning a split decision over Abdul Razak Alhassan and then stopping Albert Duraev last time out.

Imavov is a very technical striker with great power and excellent footwork to avoid standing still too often and getting caught. Buckley is a powerhouse who lands with devastating power, earning him 11 KO wins in his career. He does have a habit of loading up his strikes though which makes other talented strikers fancy their chances when going to war.

Both guys have got great cardio for their styles too, but Imavov’s style is a bit more point friendly and that should work in his favour here. “New Mansa” will come forward and be forced to reach a little with his strikes despite having a slight reach advantage and that should open up counters for Imavov. Expect a fun, but technical fight which should see Imavov claim the win in his homeland.
PICK – Nassourdine Imavov via Decision

Fares Ziam (12-4) vs Michal Figlak (8-0) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A very interesting lightweight scrap between two prospects in this one. Ziam is 2-2 in the UFC, with wins over Jamie Mullarkey (UFC Fight Island 6) and Luigi Vendramini (UFC263) sandwiched between defeats to Don Madge and most recently Terrence McKinney. Figlak makes his UFC debut as an undefeated fighter.

Ziam is a striker who likes to use a points style, moving around a lot and just picking up shots as and when he can to try and earn a decision win or catch his opponent off guard for a knockout. Figlak might be the polar opposite, with a fast-paced and relentless approach with lots of power and submission skills to boot.

That is the perfect recipe to ruin Ziam’s homecoming to France, because Figlak has all the tools to stifle him and hurt him. The urgency and physicality will likely see Figlak bully him and claim a dominant win against the crowd’s wishes.
PICK – Michal Figlak via Decision

Abus Magomedov (24-4-1) vs Dustin Stoltzfus (14-4) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

An interesting middleweight scrap closes out the prelims section of the card. UFC debutant Magomedov comes in on a two-fight win streak, with his last fight coming in December 2020. Stoltzfus finally snapped a three-fight losing streak last time out, when he earned a decision win over Dwight Grant back in July.

Magomedov is a fantastic grappler with brilliant top control and great wrestling, while his striking comes with a hazard warning because of his power. Stoltzfus alternatively has got fantastic jiu-jitsu and top control, but his offensive wrestling often means he can’t get the fights to the ground to work that game. He has got an advantage in the cardio though and if he can drag this fight out then we could see Magomedov struggle.

Unfortunately for him, that seems unlikely. Magomedov’s wrestling credentials will likely see him end up in top position early doors and pounding away at Stoltzfus’ skull until the referee steps in and tells them enough is enough.
PICK – Abus Magomedov via Knockout, Round 2


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