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Ciryl
Gane
’s uphill climb just grew a little less steep.

The unbeaten Frenchman took his most important step yet in the

Ultimate Fighting Championship
’s heavyweight division, as he
laid claim to a unanimous decision over Jairzinho
Rozenstruik
in the
UFC Fight Night 186
main event on Saturday at the UFC Apex in
Las Vegas. The judges’ 50-45 scorecards told the story, and though
it may have lacked the pizzazz of his previous outings, it was no
less crucial in Gane’s continuing rise from obscure prospect to
known commodity.

Rozenstruik never shifted out of first gear. Gane stuck, moved and
exploited his athletic advantages in a comprehensive performance
that moved him to 8-0 overall and 5-0 in the UFC. He was credited
with two takedowns and outstruck Rozenstruik by a 128-49 margin.
Only the first round was competitive from a statistical
standpoint.

In the aftermath of UFC Fight Night “Rozenstruik vs. Gane,” here
are four matches that ought to be made:

Ciryl Gane
vs. Alexander
Volkov
:
No longer an unknown commodity, Gane has
clearly established himself as an elite heavyweight with recent
wins over Rozenstruik and Junior dos
Santos
. The 30-year-old MMA Factory product can now set his
sights on some of the division’s true movers and shakers, and with
fewer miles on the odometer, he has the additional benefit of
Father Time being on his side. Volkov last competed at UFC Fight
Night 184, where the former Bellator
MMA
and M-1 Global
champion cut down Alistair
Overeem
with second-round punches on Feb. 6. The 6-foot-7
Russian has rattled off nine victories across his past 11
appearances.

Magomed
Ankalaev
vs. Thiago
Santos
Aleksandar
Rakic
winner:
Ankalaev decided to forego brute force
in favor of a more cerebral approach, as he captured a unanimous
decision over onetime Fight Nights Global titleholder Nikita
Krylov
in the light heavyweight co-headliner. All three judges
scored it 29-28 for the Gorets Fight Team rep. Ankalaev executed
three takedowns, engaged Krylov at close range and neutralized the
Ukrainian’s most potent offensive weapons. He has pieced together a
six-fight winning streak since his stunning last-second submission
loss to Paul Craig
at UFC Fight Night 127 two years ago. Santos and Rakic will lock
horns at UFC 259 on March 6.

Pedro
Munhoz
vs. Jose
Aldo
:
A series of devastating kicks to the lower lead
leg and an unshakable chin carried Munhoz to a unanimous decision
over former
Cage Fury Fighting Championships
, King of
the Cage
and Ring of
Combat
titleholder Jimmie
Rivera
in their three-round bantamweight rematch. All three
cageside judges scored it for “The Young Punisher,” who avenged his
November 2015 defeat to Rivera. More importantly, Munhoz stopped
the bleeding from a two-fight losing streak and re-established
himself as a key player at 135 pounds. Aldo last appeared at UFC
Fight Night 183 in December, when he took a unanimous decision from
Marlon
Vera
.

Alex
Caceres
vs. Julian
Erosa
:
Caceres stretched his run of consecutive
victories to four with a unanimous decision over Kevin Croom
in a three-round featherweight showcase, drawing 30-26, 30-26 and
30-27 marks from the cageside judges. “Bruce Leeroy” now has 13
wins inside the Octagon, and it seems safe to assume he has
exceeded all expectations that greeted his arrival as a
quarterfinalist on Season 12 of “The Ultimate Fighter.” Caceres has
tasted defeat just once in the last three years—a UFC on ESPN 1
submission loss to 2013 Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling
World Championships gold medalist Kron
Gracie
. Erosa last fought at UFC Fight Night 185, where he
wiped out Nate
Landwehr
with a flying knee in just 56 seconds on Feb. 20.


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