Frenchman Ciryl Gane served up an epic knockout victory over Australian heavyweight Tai Tuivasa in front of a raucous home crowd in UFC’s Paris debut.

But despite the knockout, Tuivasa became the first fighter in UFC history to drop Gane.

WATCH IN THE VIDEO ABOVE: Aussie heavyweight Tai Tuivasa knocked out in epic fight

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Tuivasa is earning praise in the UFC world for his effort, but the Frenchman still delivered the knockout blow.

With the sport making its debut in the French capital after a ban on cage fighting ended, the arena was packed. And home fans got the result they were after with the fight stopped 4 minutes and 23 seconds into the third round following an onslaught of body and head shots on the Aussie.

But No.1 contender Gane didn’t have it all his own way against third-ranked Tuivasa.

In a frantic second round that almost lifted the roof, Tuivasa landed a huge right hand that felled Gane and followed up with another as the Frenchman climbed off the canvas.

That only seemed to steel the hometown favourite though, who continued to do damage with big body kicks that took their toll in the third round, ending Tuivasa’s five-fight winning streak.

Tai Tuivasa was left battered, bloodied and bruised after the bout. Credit: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Gane said he had to dig deep against the brave Tuivasa.

“Honestly, Tai hit me so hard, he knocked me out. He put the lights out … but I had to be a warrior, I got up. I came back even stronger and got the win,” Gane said.

Tuivasa recovered to pay tribute to Gane, who suffered his first UFC loss in January against Cameroonian Francis Ngannou.

“It wasn’t my day, but I come to fight. He’s such a warrior,” Tuivasa said.

While Tuivasa went down, compatriot Rob Whittaker showed his class with a dominant points win over Italian Marvin Vettori in the co-main event fight.

The victory positions Whittaker for a third crack at regaining his UFC middleweight belt from Israel Adesanya.

Whittaker’s bout was much more low key, comfortably taking the three-round win in a unanimous decision 30-27, 30-27, 29-28.

Ciryl Gane kicks Tai Tuivasa in the heavyweight fight. Credit: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

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Whittaker hadn’t fought since losing his second showdown with Kiwi champion Adesanya in February.

The first round against Vettori was tight as both fighters tested each other but the 31-year-old Sydneysider grew in stature as the bout continued.

Mixing up his attack Whittaker took it to Vettori, who withstood the punishment including some heavy kicks to the head.

While Vettori landed some solid jabs, Whittaker walked away with his face virtually unmarked to extend his UFC record to 25-6.

Whittaker said he was “stoked” with his performance., adding his iimmense respect for Vettori was behind his decision to delay their original April fight when he suffered an injury at training.

“That’s why I had to push back the fight the first time because I needed the fitness to be able to hurt him the whole (fight), he did not go away,” Whittaker said. “I know I go to a lot of decisions, but I hit pretty hard.

“I was hurting him, trust me I hit pretty hard.”

With AAP

The first-ever UFC event in France takes place this weekend, a milestone Whittaker says he would not be at without his father’s help.

The first-ever UFC event in France takes place this weekend, a milestone Whittaker says he would not be at without his father’s help.