After long being prohibited throughout the country, mixed martial arts was legalized in France in 2020 to the delight of MMA fans worldwide, and the sport has gained traction and momentum in the two years since. And Ruiz Jr. is ready to continue his redemption tour this week as he faces off against the powerful Luis Ortiz Jr.
Heavyweights highlight the UFC's first trip to Paris, with France's own Ciryl Gane facing surging Australian Tai Tuivasa.
Gane suffered his first career loss at the start of the year, falling short on the scorecards in a championship unification fight against Francis Ngannou at UFC 270. Prior to then, the 32-year-old "Bon Gamin" ("Good Kid") won 10 straight fights, including stoppages of Junior Dos Santos and Derrick Lewis, with the latter taking the interim title.
Tuivasa has been on a roll since returning from a one-year hiatus in October 2020, racking up five consecutive stoppage victories to vault into title contention. He ended last year with straight Performance of the Night bonuses for wins over Greg Hardy and Augusto Sakai, and he continued where he left off in his first start of this year, finishing "The Black Beast" Derrick Lewis in the second round of their fight at UFC 271.
Whoever wins will undoubtedly be in the center of the title race, making this a high-stakes encounter to cap off the UFC's first fight night in Paris.
Also, on Saturday, Robert Whittaker and Marvin Vettori will face off to see who will fall in line immediately after the dominant champion and who will fall even farther down the pecking order.
Except for his two battles with "The Last Stylebender," Whittaker has been unbeatable at middleweight, winning 11 straight fights against everyone else. He made many sharp adjustments in his second fight with Adesanya back in February, demonstrating that he's not far behind the champion. He now faces the unenviable task of working his way through a long list of dangerous opponents to potentially return to another championship fight. Vettori has done the same in the last five years, going 7-0-1 in nine fights outside of his two decision losses to the title. He bounced back brilliantly from his UFC 263 loss to Adesanya with a strong win over Paulo Costa. By defeating Whittaker this weekend, he can establish himself as the obvious "silver medalist" in the 185-pound weight class.
Will Whittaker maintain his status as the undisputed No. 2 in the middleweight class, or will Vettori add a victory to his record and take the title for himself?
As always, we move to the world of professional boxing as they have their own heavyweight clash. Andy Ruiz Jr. will return this year to face off against tough heavyweight Luis Ortiz in the Crypto.com arena in Los Angeles, California.
Ruiz, who has 22 knockout victories, last used a power punch to defeat Anthony Joshua in June 2019. Ruiz defeated Joshua numerous times and won the WBA, IBF, WBO, and IBO heavyweight titles. Now, the Mexican fighter will meet Ortiz, who has 28 knockout victories. In this fight, Ruiz will try to be as strategic as possible. Ortiz, a former WBC championship candidate, won six straight fights via knockout and six of his next seven in another span. His only defeats have come at the hands of Deontay Wilder, who he has faced twice. Ortiz is now ready to take down Ruiz, or at least outwork him.
On paper, Ruiz appears to have more stamina than Ortiz. That could be due to age and activity. While he rarely strikes for power, Ruiz enjoys punching rapidly. Ortiz enjoys wielding his power. He'll try to knock out his opponent and use Ruiz's momentum against him.
Ruiz is on his third trainer in less than a year. Eddy Reynoso may benefit from being the exclusive focus of his new trainer. He has slimmed down and appears to be much more patient than we are used to seeing from him. Whether Ortiz can keep up with Ruiz in a game of chess is unknown. Ruiz has the potential to secure a victory by TKO in the later rounds.
There you go, Fighters! Our fight preview for the upcoming fight for this week. Remember to consistently train and purchase your training needs here at Hawkeye Fightwear.