UFC Fight Night Live results and analysis — Ciryl Gane vs. Alexander Volkov

Ciryl Gane and Alexander Volkov will meet in the main event of UFC Fight Night on Saturday in Las Vegas. It is a pivotal matchup in the heavyweight division, and the winner could potentially earn a title shot against champion Francis Ngannou.

ESPN has Gane ranked No. 4 at heavyweight, while Volkov is right behind him at No. 6. While it seems like Derrick Lewis and Jon Jones are on the short list of Ngannou’s next challengers, whoever gets his hand raised Saturday could make his way into that conversation — especially with an impressive performance.

Gane (8-0) is one of the top up-and-coming fighters in any division, as well as a former teammate of Ngannou’s in Paris. The France native has won all five of his UFC fights, three of them by finish. Gane, 31, is coming off somewhat of a lackluster unanimous decision win over Jairzinho Rozenstruik in February.

Volkov (33-8) has won two straight and seven of nine in the UFC. The Russia native is coming off a second-round TKO of Alistair Overeem in February, perhaps the best victory of his career. Volkov, 32, has only two losses since 2015, to Lewis and Curtis Blaydes, another top heavyweight contender. Volkov has 25 finishes in 33 career victories.

In the co-main event, Tanner Boser and Ovince Saint Preux will clash in a unique heavyweight bout. Boser (19-8-1) has dropped two straight after winning two of three to begin his UFC run. Saint Preux (25-15), returning to heavyweight for the first time in three fights, has lost four of six after being a contender at light heavyweight.

Also on the card, Raoni Barcelos faces Timur Valiev in a bantamweight bout between action fighters, Andre Fili takes on Daniel Pineda in a featherweight scrap and veteran welterweights Tim Means and Nicolas Dalby face off.

Watch the card here.

Fight in progress:

Heavyweight: Ciryl Gane (8-0, 5-0 UFC, -155) vs. Alexander Volkov (33-8, 7-2 UFC, +130)

Gane vs. Volkov, Round 3 — Strongest round yet by Gane. He had Volkov on his back foot the whole way, and Gane was stalking him with punches and kicks. An uppercut midway through the round bloodied the nose of Volkov. Gane in full control.

Jeff Wagenheim, ESPN10m ago

Gane vs. Volkov, Round 2 — Gane got Volkov moving backward, which slowed the Russian’s output. But Gane wasn’t too busy, either. He did land some jabs and a couple of overhand lefts, and led the dance. Strong but not dominant round for the Frenchman.

Jeff Wagenheim, ESPN16m ago

Gane vs. Volkov, Round 1 — There were a lot of leg kicks sent in each direction. Gane showed himself to be the faster man, throwing the occasional combination with his hands, but Volkov was steadily connecting. Tight round.

Jeff Wagenheim, ESPN22m ago


Heavyweight: Tanner Boser (20-8-1, 4-3 UFC) defeats Ovince Saint Preux (25-16, 13-11 UFC) by second-round TKO

The heavyweight bout went to the heavyweight. With perhaps an assist from the referee.

Tanner Boser, who has competed in that weight class for all but one bout in his 29-fight career, controlled the standup action against undersized Ovince Saint Preux in the first round and finished the longtime light heavyweight in Round 2. But that was not the whole story.

After being picked apart in Round 1, Saint Preux, who had fought just once before at heavyweight, got a takedown early in the second and tried to set up a submission from top position. Tanner defended well from his back, then put his hand against the fence in order to get the fight back to standing. Was it an illegal fence grab? Or had Boser just pressed against the fence? It was hard to know for sure, but referee Jason Herzog did not jump in.

Seconds later, after Boser landed a knee that wobbled Saint Preux, then a right hand that dropped him, the ref did jump in to declare it a TKO at 2:31 of the round.

For Boser, who is 29 and from Edmonton, Alberta, the win ended a two-fight losing streak, with the most recent defeat coming just 21 days ago, a split decision against Ilir Latifi.

Saint Preux, a 38-year-old from Knoxville, Tennessee, has lost six of his last nine.

— Wagenheim

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Men’s bantamweight: Timur Valiev (18-2, 1 NC, 2-0 1 NC UFC) defeats Raoni Barcelos (16-2, 5-1 UFC) by majority decision

At the end of the second round, it seemed like Valiev had nothing left. The commentators on the broadcast were wondering if he could walk to the corner under his own power.

Valiev could. And he could do more than that, too. Valiev held off a Barcelos onslaught in the second round and held on for a majority decision win (28-28, 29-28, 29-28) in a battle of surging bantamweights. Barcelos dropped Valiev twice in the second round and was not far from finishing. But Valiev survived to win the third round.

“I train with [former UFC champion] Frankie Edgar,” Valiev said in his postfight interview. “Who cares about knockdowns? We’re here to kill each other.”

Afterward, Valiev called out UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby and asked for a top bantamweight next.

“[Give me the] toughest guys in your division,” Valiev said. “I’ll kill them all.”

Valiev outpointed Barcelos in a solid first round and was looking good in the second before Barcelos dropped Valiev with a combination, and then landed a monstrous uppercut. Barcelos tried to finish with ground and pound, but seemed to tire, and Valiev had the durability to get through it. In the third round, Valiev fought much like he did in the first, blitzing in and picking Barcelos apart. Barcelos landed some hard shots in the third, too, but Valiev did just enough.

Valiev, 32, is unbeaten in nine straight fights and is undefeated in three UFC fights. The Dagestan native has not lost since a fight in World Series of Fighting back in 2016. Barcelos, a 34-year-old Brazilian, had a nine-fight winning streak snapped.

— Raimondi

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Men’s featherweight: Andre Fili (21-81 NC, 9-7 1 NC UFC) and Daniel Pineda (27-14 1 NC, 4-5 1 NC UFC) fight to a no contest

Fili looked tremendous from start to premature finish with big punches that twice dropped Pineda in the first round, with kicks to the head that wobbled him, with kicks to the body that made him sag. But in the end it was the wrong strike that prevented Fili from earning a victory.

Early in Round 2, during an exchange near the cage, Fili tried to push Pineda away and poked him in the eye. Referee Herb Dean paused the action, brought in the cageside doctor and when Pineda was unable to pass an eye test, waved off the fight, ruling it a no contest at 42 seconds of the round.

Fili, 30, took the ruling in stride. The fighter from Sacramento, California, came in having lost two of his past three, so the win would have been a boost. But he has to be happy with his dominant performance.

Pineda, who is 35 and from Houston, has just one win in his past five fights — although two of them, in the PFL in 2019, were originally victories overturned to no contests by a drug test failure.

— Wagenheim

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Welterweight: Tim Means (32-12-1, 1 NC, 14-9 1 NC UFC) vs. Nicolas Dalby (19-4, 2 NC, 3-3-1 1 NC UFC) by unanimous decision

Means, 37, is closer to 40 than he is to 30, yet the crafty “Dirty Bird” is still winning fights in the UFC.

With a diverse attack, Means beat Dalby by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28), holding off a late Dalby comeback. Means mixed up his signature combinations with a few solid head kicks, some elbows and excellent body work. Means said he fell back in love with wrestling during this training camp and used takedowns well in the first and second rounds. Dalby rallied in the third, wobbling Means twice with right hands. But Means was able to control Dalby against the cage and ride out the round for the victory.

Means has now won three straight fights. The New Mexico native was coming off a victory over Mike Perry in November. Dalby, a 36-year-old Denmark native, was undefeated in seven straight fights coming in.

— Raimondi

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Lightweight: Renato Moicano (15-4, 7-4 UFC) defeats Jai Herbert (10-3, 0-2 UFC) by second-round submission

He might never end up on MMA’s Mount Rushmore, but in this fight he had the stature of a Mount Moicano.

Moicano, 32 and from Brazil, utilized grappling to control this fight from start to finish, taking the fight to the canvas less than 30 seconds in and moving into dominant mount position several times in controlling Herbert the whole way before locking in a rear-naked choke to force a tapout at 4:34 of Round 2.

Moicano, 33, came in having lost three of his past four, but this was as dominant a performance as he has turned in. Herbert, from England, had no answers for the takedowns or positional advances on the mat. It was just a matter of time before Moicano finished the job.

Herbert has lost both of his UFC bouts after starting his career 10-0.

— Wagenheim

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Light heavyweight: Kennedy Nzechukwu (9-1, 3-1 UFC) defeats Danilo Marques (11-3, 2-1 UFC) by third-round TKO

For the second straight fight, Nzechukwu mounted a huge comeback.

Marques got his back in the first and second rounds, threatening with submissions. In the final round, Nzechukwu came out with a barrage of punches against a tired Marques en route to a TKO victory, 20 seconds into the third. Nzechukwu landed two left hands to start the round and then poured it on until referee Jason Herzog stepped in.

Nzechukwu, 29, a Nigeria native fighting out of Dallas, has won three straight, and his last victory over Carlos Ulberg in March also came from a big rally. Marques, 35 and a native of Brazil, had a four-fight winning streak snapped.


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Welterweight: Shavkat Rakhmonov (14-0, 2-0 UFC) defeats Michel Prazeres (26-4, 10-4 UFC) by second-round submission



Shavkat Rakhmonov submits Michel Prazeres with a rear naked choke in Round 2.

Rakhmonov remained unbeaten by controlling every second of the fight everywhere it went. The 29-year-old native of Uzbekistan, who fights out of Kazakhstan, finished off his second UFC win by dropping Prazeres with kicks and punches early in Round 2, unloading ground-and-pound and clamping on a rear-naked choke to elicit the tapout at 2:10.

For Prazeres, who is 39 and from Brazil, it was his second straight loss following an eight-fight winning streak. He had not competed since February 2019 because of a two-year US Anti-Doping Agency ban.

— Wagenheim

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Welterweight: Jeremiah Wells (9-2, 1-0 UFC) defeats Warlley Alves (14-4, 8-5 UFC) by second-round KO



Jeremiah Wells drops Warlley Alves and tees off to force a second-round TKO victory.

With someone like Wells, who has incredible power, mistakes on the feet cannot be made. Alves, 30, threw a lazy leg kick — and paid for it. Wells, 34, cracked him with a right hand to the ear, sending Alves to the mat. As Alves was getting up, Wells landed a hard combination, then finished on the ground with more punches, posting a knockout at 30 seconds of the second round.

Wells, from Philadelphia, was making his UFC debut as a former Cage Fury Fighting Championship welterweight champion. Alves, a Brazil native, has dropped two straight and four of six.

— Raimondi

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Light heavyweight: Marcin Prachnio (15-5, 2-3 UFC) defeats Ike Villanueva (18-12, 1-3 UFC) by second-round TKO



Marcin Prachnio stops Ike Villaneuva with a vicious body kick in Round 2.

Look at Prachnio, he’s on a UFC winning streak. The 32-year-old from Poland, who dropped his first three bouts in the Octagon, has since won two in a row, including this body-kick KO of Villanueva. Prachnio took early damage from a flurry of punches but gradually took control by immobilizing his opponent with leg kicks. Then, early in Round 2, he switched to southpaw and landed a kick to the liver area of Villanueva, who collapsed to the canvas at 56 seconds of the round. Villanueva, who is 37 and from Houston, has lost three of his four UFC fights.

— Wagenheim

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Women’s bantamweight: Julia Avila (9-2, 3-1 UFC) defeats Julija Stoliarenko (9-6-1, 0-2 UFC) by third-round submission



Julia Avila lands back-to-back front kicks on the chin of Julija Stoliarenko and tops it off with a submission win in Round 3.

Avila damaged Stoliarenko in every round with her fists and then got the finish with her grappling skills. In a solid performance, Avila stopped Stoliarenko via rear-naked choke submission at 4:19 of the third round. Avila, a 33-year-old fighting out of Oklahoma City, has won four of five. The 28-year-old Stoliarenko, a Lithuania native, is still looking for her first UFC victory, dropping her second straight.

— Raimondi

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Men’s featherweight: Charles Rosa (14-5, 5-5 UFC) defeats Justin Jaynes (16-8, 1-4 UFC) by split decision

Jaynes’ UFC run is in peril of going bust as he dropped his fourth in a row — and maybe lost some money as well. The 31-year-old, fighting in his adopted hometown, said before the bout that he was betting his purse on himself, and he started out like a man with a bankroll at stake. But Rosa dodged much of the aggressive striking and shifted the momentum midway through Round 1 with strong grappling, then fended off a late submission threat by Jaynes to secure the decision (30-27, 29-28, 28-29).


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Lightweight: Damir Hadzovic (14-6, 4-4 UFC) defeats Yancy Medeiros (15-8 1 NC, 6-8 1 NC UFC) by unanimous decision



Damir Hadzovic escapes with a decision after nearly getting choked out by Yancy Medeiros.

Medeiros is a longtime training partner of Nate Diaz. And he almost pulled off a Diaz-style comeback.

After getting pummeled for the better part of three rounds, Medeiros nearly stole the fight in the third round, getting Hadzovic’s back and locking in a choke just before the bell. But Hadzovic held on without tapping for a unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) victory to open the prelims.

“Three rounds with a Hawai’ian warrior,” Hadzovic said. “That’s what I got. Thank you, Yancy, for testing me. Now I’m battle-tested.”

Hadzovic was landing big punching combinations on the feet throughout the fight. The incredibly tough Medeiros ate all of them, and when Hadzovic started running out of steam in the final round — not unlike what happened with Diaz and Leon Edwards at UFC 263 earlier this month — Medeiros took over. Medeiros landed some punches on the feet, took Hadzovic down and got his back several times. Though exhausted, Hadzovic fought off the choke and then refused to tap as seconds ticked off the clock to hang on for the win.

Hadzovic, 34, snapped a two-fight losing streak. The Bosnia native, who fights out of Denmark, picked up his first win since February 2019. Medeiros, a 33-year-old from Hawai’i, has dropped four straight following a three-fight winning streak.

— Raimondi

Watch this fight on ESPN+

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