Canadians Jourdain and Makdessi lose by decision as UFC holds first fight card in France


PARIS — Canadian featherweight Charles (Air) Jourdain lost a unanimous decision to England’s Nathaniel (The Prospect) Wood on a UFC Fight Night card on Saturday.

The judges scored it 30-27, 30-27, 29-28 for London’s Wood after a close fought close contest with both shots landing.

The show at the Accor Arena was the first for the UFC in France, which passed regulations allowing MMA in January 2020. Former welterweight and middleweight champion Georges St-Pierre of Montreal was in the cage for the event.

Earlier, Montreal veteran lightweight John (The Bull) Makdessi lost a unanimous decision to German-born Moroccan Nasrat Haqparast in a battle of former teammates at Montreal’s famed Tristar Gym.

The judges scored 30-27, 30-27, 29-28 for Haqparast after a fight fought almost entirely on the feet. Makdessi, awarded in the first round by one of the judges, nodded and clapped as the decision was announced.

Frenchman Ciryl (Bon Gamin) Gane (11-1-0), a former interim heavyweight champion, stopped Australian Tai (Bam Bam) Tuivasa (15-4-0) in the third round of a slugfest of the main event. Gane is ranked No. 1 among heavyweight contenders compared to No. 3 for the hard-hitting Tuivasa, who entered the fight with 11 first-round finishes.

Tuivasa nearly knocked out Gane in round two, but the French fighter somehow survived to punish Tuivasa with a series of body shots. Gane, a chiseled 247-pounder, repeatedly targeted 266-pound Tuivasa’s soft underbelly before bringing him down with a series of punches four minutes 23 seconds into the round.

In the co-main event, former middleweight champion Robert (The Reaper) Whittaker (24-6-0) won a unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) over Marvin (The Italian Dream) Vettori. The New Zealand-born Australian is ranked No. 1 among 185-pound contenders while Italian Vettori (18-6-1) is No. 2.

At five-foot-nine, Jourdain had a three-inch height advantage in the first main card fight. But Wood had the power in his hands and repeatedly managed to send the Canadian to the ground with a stumble.

Wood (15-8-0) beat Charles (Boston Strong) Rosa last seen in July in his first outing at 145 pounds after campaigning as a bantamweight (135 pounds).

“I feel amazing at this weight class,” said Wood, who improved to 6-2-0 in the UFC, after the win. “I had two years off for injuries. There’s a new boy in town at 145 (pounds).”

Wood admitted that he suffered from anxiety and had felt it before this fight.

“I trained for Charles like I was fighting, I don’t know, an absolute monster that he is… Hats off to Charles, he’s one hell of a fighter,” he added.

Jourdain (13-6-1) was coming off a majority decision loss to (Hurricane) Shane Burgos in July after a late rally fell through. The 26-year-old from Beloeil, Que., had won two in a row before that. His UFC record fell to 4-5-1.

The two came out swinging and Jourdain found himself on his back within the first minute after being shot. Wood couldn’t do any damage on the ground and the Canadian used the fence to get up.

Jourdain then set to work striking, only to be shaken by a blow to the temple from Wood. The two gloves touched in respect after a busy first lap. While Jourdain was busier, Wood’s power was evident.

The Canadian again ended up on the ground in the second round but got up quickly. Jourdain went to the body but ended up on the mat after a trip into Wood. Referee Rich Mitchell picked up the fighters as the action came to a halt on the ground.

The two continued the fight from close quarters, both scoring with strikes in grueling action. They traded brief takedowns before the round was over.

Jourdain had a mouse under his right eye after two close rounds. Wood scored with his elbows and knocked Jourdain to the ground twice more.

Makdessi and Haqparast, who were scheduled to meet twice but the fight never happened, exchanged words during Friday’s puck-off ceremony with Haqparast repeating “Let’s go.”

But Haqparast was graceful in the victory, praising Makdessi, giving up 10 years and two inches in height and four in reach to his five-foot-10 opponent.

Makdessi (18-8-0) stalked Haqparast from the start, landing kicks while a patient Haqparast looked to counter as he found his striking range. The crowd didn’t see enough action, booing the fighters as they headed for their corners with referee Marc Goddard stepping in to separate the two at the end of the round.

Makdessi’s face began to show damage as the fight continued with blood seeping around his eye. The Canadian asked for a stoppage two minutes into the second round for a look, but Goddard told him to keep fighting.

Haqparast (14-5-0) dropped Makdessi with a right hook with 90 seconds left in the round, but the Canadian survived.

“We have to go hard this round,” Makdessi’s corner told him ahead of round three.

Makdessi, 37, continued to advance in the third but at a cost, absorbing strikes from Haqparast. And he was shot twice in the final seconds as he looked to press the action.

Makdessi, whose UFC career dates back to UFC 124 in December 2010, had won four of his previous five bouts. His record in the promotion is 11-8-0.

Haqparast, who is 6-4-0 in the UFC, was coming off back-to-back losses to Bobby (King) Green and Dan (The Hangman) Hooker.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on September 3, 2022

The Canadian Press




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