MMA: Robert Whittaker eyes title rematch with Israel Adesanya after UFC Paris win, Tai Tuivasa knocked out by Cyril Gane

Former middleweight titleholder Robert Whittaker has put on a slick striking performance to out-point Marvin Vettori and may put himself in contention for another shot at the UFC belt, despite losing to current champion Israel Adesanya in February.

"Including the champion, I'm the most dangerous man in the division," Whittaker declared. "I make people hate fighting.

"I'm always gunning for that top spot. I'm always going to be lurking there waiting."

The Kiwi-born fighter will have a close eye on Adesanya's upcoming title defence against Alex Pereira at UFC 281, now well positioned to challenge whoever emerges with the belt.

Tai Tuivasa eats a kick from Ciryl Gane.
Tai Tuivasa eats a kick from Ciryl Gane. Photo credit: Getty Images

In October 219, Whittaker lost his middleweight belt to 'The Last Stylebender' at Melbourne, via TKO, before dropping a unanimous decision in a rematch at UFC 271.

Meanwhile, France's Ciryl Gane pulled off an electrifying knockout win over Australian Tai Tuivasa in front of a home crowd at the Accor Arena in the promotion's first major event in the country, since the sport was legalised there in 2020.

Spurred on by a lusty first-round rendition of La Marseillaise - the French national anthem - the two heavyweights put on a barnburner of a fight in the main event that made the long wait for the sport's regulation worth it for the French fans.

Tuivasa sent Gane crashing to the canvas with a sledgehammer right hand in the second round, but Gane roared back with a series of brutal blows to the body that almost ended the fight.

Two minutes into the third Gane stunned Tuivasa with a kick to the head and though the teak-tough Aussie initially refused to go down, Gane piled on the pressure. A right uppercut marked the beginning of the end and Gane stalked his man down, landing thunderous blows with both hands to secure the knockout with 37 seconds left in the frame.

With the red, white and blue of the French flag projected on the Octagon floor between bouts, the six-fight main card got off to a slow start for the energetic home fans, as English fighter Nathaniel Wood defeated Frenchman Charles Jourdain by unanimous decision.

Parisian William Gomis soon gave them something to cheer, as he escaped a dangerous late submission attempt from Jarno Errens, before winning on the judges' scorecards.

"I heard the crowd and I thought, 'No, I can't give up now - I'd rather die in here than give up. I'm gonna die rather than give up'," a jubilant Gomis said, as the fans roared their approval.