Ciryl Gane had his hand raised in the UFC’s debut event in Paris, France last week but it didn’t come without him taking a few licks from Aussie powerhouse Tai Tuivasa.
Gane, who is arguably the most technical striker in the UFC’s heavyweight fold, defeated the heavy-handed Tuivasa via third round TKO after connecting with a flurry of punches after some prolonged targeting of Tuivasa’s midsection — but all of this came only after Gane had been collapsed to the canvas after taking a flush shot of his own, and admitted afterwards that he was briefly knocked out before regaining his wits.
And speaking to Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour via MMA Fighting this week, Gane paid tribute to Tuivasa and the ungodly power he possesses in his hands.
“The feeling was just, because I didn’t see anything, talking about his punch, that’s why I fell down, and I think the ground woke me up,” Gane said. “When my ass touched the ground I said, ‘Oh, what happening?’ And I understood and reacted directly, that he caught me so I go ahead on his legs to grab and stand up, and after that, I took a rest, maybe three, four seconds, and moved away and it was okay — but he touched me for real.
“He’s really dangerous. You see sometimes you have some guys, you can’t explain, but he has something in his hands, just like that. When the guy touches you, you go down. That’s it. Incredible.”
The fact that Gane didn’t go the same way as Tuivasa’s five prior KO victims speaks to his resilience — and he added that, despite facing the likes of Francis Ngannou and Derrick Lewis in his career, he has never felt the type of raw power that the Australian heavyweight possesses.
“No [I’ve never felt power like that before],” Gane said. “When you look at the punch, it really doesn’t look hard, powerful. But when he touches you, he touches you for real. That’s why I say, I don’t know exactly. I can’t explain, but he has something in his hands and this is the first time I’ve felt this.”