Ciryl Gane was not expected to be at this level – competing in the headliner of a UFC event – so soon.
Honestly, who will?
This is rare for any fighter such as Gain (sung with “run”) to reach the status of the main event, with fewer than 10 pro-MMA bouts on his bookkeeping. To get the Rar still here, nearly 2 removed years from their start in the game, with a heavy clash against fellow power-packed striker Jairzinho Rozenstruik on Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
“I’m a fast learner,” Gain told The Post on phone on Tuesday. “I love sports, and when I studied sports … I did well.”
That he did. Gain (7–0, six Finnish), who competed in professional Muay Thai in his native France between 2016 and 2018, was 3–0 with Canada-based regional promotion TKO before receiving a UFC call-up. They won by depositing their first two and a third on a decision by fellow up-and-comers – in the second half of 2019.
A combination of coronovirus-altered UFC spring schedule and pull for innumerable opponents delayed Gain’s next fight by nearly a year, but the wait was worth it. Taking on former UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos at UFC 256 on December 12, Gain reminded him of his knockout power with a second-round TKO.
The win put the 30-year-old Frenchman on the heavyweight map and included him in the UFC main event 9 years after his debut: 941 days later, to be exact. It is the first debut-to-headliner since Eric Anders took an edge at middleweight against former light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida on February 3, 2018, 897 days after his first pro fight.
The win over Dos Santos, which has now defeated one in four and all by TKO, gave a previously recognizable face to its highlight reel and ensured that its “Chance” label was faster than most MMA Neofox Fade out Thus, Suriname’s matchup with Rozenstruic (11–1, 10 Finnish) made much sense. Everyone stopped Dos Santos, in his most recent trip to the Octagon. Rozenstruik recorded its victory on 15 August, the eventual winner. Both signed with the UFC in the summer of 2019 and have a competitive strike background outside MMA – Rozenstruik has scores of kickboxing matches under their belt.
Despite his striking base, Gain has shown more variety in his winning method thanks to three submissions: front choke, arm-triangle choke and heel hook. Not so for Rozenstruik, who has won all (but once) KO. In 2019, he knocked back-to-back in a combined 38 seconds; He also scored a KO win with four seconds to go in a fight which he probably lost by a decision against Alastair Overim to cap 4–0 2019 at the Octagon.
“Of course, he has power. I have the power, ”said his rival K Gain for the UFC Fight Night program that will air on ESPN +. “He’s really dangerous with it.”
Gain noted that the 32-year-old Rozenstruic has good kicks in his arsenal, but identified the South American’s right hand as his most powerful weapon.
The 6-foot-6 gain, which has a four-inch lead in height and a three-inch reach advantage on Saturday, takes pride in improving other aspects of MMA while training in Paris at the MMA Factory. A possible equalizer in this matchup of X-Kickboxers.
“I like doing ground games,” Gain said. “… I can do anything.”