A few weeks ago, TKO made the announcement that it’s #1 heavyweight, Adam Dyczka would compete for the heavyweight championship at its upcoming TKO Fight Night 1 event on Thursday, August 2nd.  The big question was who would get the shot at the man who had scored 7 knockouts in as many fights.  One thing was for certain, the challenge would have to come from a newcomer as Dyczka had cleaned out the division.

That golden opportunity went to Ciryl Gane, a powerful world Muay Thai champion from France who, despite having never competed officially in MMA, had compiled a 13-0 record with 8 KOs as a professional muay thai fighter.  A regular training partner of top UFC heavyweight Francis Ngannou, Gane is very familiar with the rudiments of the cage and would bring with him a level of standup the likes of which many analysts have claimed has never been seen in TKO.

I feel very fortunate to be able to participate in such an event” said Gane.  “Now I really want to prove to everyone that I belong here and to show to those who believe in me that they are right to do so.

A few weeks after the fight announcement though, everything changed as Dyczka suffered a concussion in training and, as a result, would not be ready in time for the August 2nd tilt.  With that slot now open, the question became just who would fill the void. That golden opportunity went to “Bloody” Bobby Sullivan who, in only 2 professional fights, had shown TKO fans just why he would be a force to be reckoned with in the years to come on the international scene. Although he came up on the short end of his pro debut against the aforementioned Dyczka, there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that he gave the “Kung Fu Panda” the toughest fight of his career and came within an eyelash of vanquishing him.  In his sophomore outing, he scored a KO with a thunderous uppercut that anyone who saw it will not soon forget.

This is a tremendous opportunity for me to hit fast forward on my career and jump right to the top of the division” noted Sullivan. “Everyone dreams about getting that call to fight for the belt and I’m taking full advantage of it.  TKO is a world class organization and winning the title puts me on the map as a world class fighter. With the championship comes a lot of respect and recognition, which means just as much to me as the shiny belt.

Gane has faced some of the top heavyweight strikers in his muay thai career and is not selling his upcoming foe short in any way. “I’m taking this fight with Bobby very seriously” explained the Frenchman.  “I’m just very lucky that he and Adam have similar styles so my preparation wasn’t all for naught.

Sullivan, a school teacher by day, on the other hand analyzed the fight in the following manner: “Gane is a very talented striker, he’s really athletic for a heavyweight fighter and is a really dangerous opponent. With that being said, I don’t think he has the power to finish me and he won’t be able to avoid getting hit with a big shot for 25 minutes. It’s going to be an entertaining match-up for the fans and I know I can overcome the challenge Gane presents.

Although both men have little experience as professional mixed martial artists, this is one of the most anticipated fights on what is an absolutely stacked card.  It has all the makings of the type of scrap fans love: two big men ready to throw down in a fight that could end at any moment.

Story by Patrick Lono, TKO

TKO Fight Night
Bobby SullivanCiryl Gane