While winning comes above all in the fight game, winning impressively is the key to securing a shot at a world championship. Ciryl Gane got a clear victory over Jairzinho Rozenstruik in the heavyweight main event of Saturday’s UFC Fight Night in Las Vegas, but likely 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, which led Gane to take a cautious approach and use his more technical striking to stay at distance while patiently using single shots to keep Rozenstruik from ever truly getting his offense rolling in the five-round fight. Rozenstruik, in return, seemed unwilling to push the pace and try to force Gane into uncomfortable striking exchanges.
This pattern was established quickly in the opening round when Gane snapped Rozenstruik’s head back with a stiff jab from a good range. From there, the action never really picked up, with Rozenstruik circling and waiting for opportunities to counter punch that never came. With no need to change his approach, Gane simply poked Rozenstruik from a distance through the fight and picked up the decision win, only occasionally allowing the distance to be closed and using the threat of a takedown to force Rozenstruik to disengage.
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“I expected a little bit more from him, maybe more attacks,” Gane said of Rozenstruik’s attack following his victory. “I was a little bit surprised for that. But I’m just happy.”
After five carbon copy rounds of Gane methodically picking apart his foe, all three official scorecards read 50-45, improving Gane to 8-0 as a professional.
“I didn’t put on a big show for the fans,” Gane said. “But I got back with a big win, so I’m really happy with that. This guy is really tough and dangerous. I just wanted to manage and I did it.”
The heavyweight championship will be on the line on March 27 when Francis Ngannou gets his second crack at champ Stipe Miocic in the main event of UFC 260. The winner could be lined up to face longtime light heavyweight king Jon Jones, who vacated the title in 2020 to prepare for a long-awaited move to the heavyweight division.
Gane’s win was likely not impressive enough to put him immediately in the mix over a man like Jones, or even Derrick Lewis, who scored a thunderous knockout of Curtis Blaydes on Feb. 20. But Gane said he is ready for a quick turnaround and even suggested he’s willing to be on standby should Ngannou or Miocic fall out of their upcoming title fight, saying, “[I’m ready to return] as soon as you like. If somebody gets injured for the belt, I am here.”