UFC 265 Bettor's Guide to Lewis vs. Gane and More

Lyle Fitzsimmons@@fitzbitzFeatured ColumnistAugust 4, 2021

UFC 265 Bettor's Guide to Lewis vs. Gane and More

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    What: UFC 265

    Where: Houston, Texas

    When: August 7

    How to Watch: ESPN+

    What's at Stake: Houston, we have a pay-per-view. Again.

    For the second time in three months, the gold standard of mixed martial arts heads to the Lone Star State's largest city, where it'll go live with UFC 265 from the Toyota Center.

    Dana White & Co. were in town for UFC 262 on May 15, where Charles Oliveira climbed back from the brink of defeat to knock out Michael Chandler and secure the UFC's lightweight title.

    This time around, it's Derrick Lewis, Houston's own heavyweight behemoth, who will try to step toward the front of the big-man line with an interim title match against unbeaten French export Ciryl Gane.

    Lewis and Gane are ranked second and third, respectively, behind full-fledged champion Francis Ngannou. The winner is expected to get a crack at the massive Cameroonian when he makes the first defense of the crown he won with a brutal stoppage of Stipe Miocic in March.

    UFC 265 will be broadcast live by ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET on Saturday.

    Lewis-Gane tops a 13-bout card that will also include many up-and-comers, familiar veterans and others simply hoping to boost their profiles for the next time around. The Bleacher Report combat and betting teams got together to assess how the fights are likely to go and where possibilities for profit might be found.

Derrick Lewis vs. Ciryl Gane

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    Two big guys with seemingly opposite skill sets and game plans.

    Lewis is a mountain of a man at 6'3" and 260 pounds, and he's able to end a fight at nearly any instant during the 25-minute main event.

    Gane, meanwhile, is a chiseled 6'4" and 245 pounds and controls distance and bamboozles foes with a mix of kicks and punches gleaned from days in kickboxing and muay thai.

    The former hasn't lost a fight in 29 months. The latter never has.

    Go ahead, try not to watch. We dare you.

    For numbers sake, the line-makers at DraftKings have installed Gane as a significant -380 favorite to win the interim title bout, meaning a $380 investment would bring back a $100 profit if he wins.

    Lewis, meanwhile, is listed at +290 and would return $290 for a $100 bet if an upset happens.

    Additional bets are also available for the fight, including winning methods and rounds for each man.

    For the record, the biggest profits on the board would come from wagering that Gane will win by a finish in the final four minutes (+12000), or that Lewis individually will win by a submission at any time in the fifth round (+20000).

    As for picking, it becomes as much about profit potential as prognostication.

    Gane has the more varied skill set, and it's not difficult to imagine him hunting and pecking long enough to get Lewis winded, then going in for the kill late on and getting his man out of there—or coasting to a safe, comfortable decision. Thing is, it's also not a stretch to figure Lewis lands a heavy shot, then another, and is celebrating with his home crowd before the halfway mark.

    Put it all together and it means laying $380 on Gane for a straight moneyline bet simply doesn't make sense on the risk/reward scale. Instead, we'd suggest spreading the wealth to take a less risky chance on both an underdog triumph and a late Gane stop.  

    The B/R Picks: Lewis/Moneyline (+290) and Gane/Time of Finish (+12000)

Jose Aldo vs. Pedro Munhoz

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    Like the big boys before them, it's easy to envision this one going either way.

    Jose Aldo is coming off a win against Marlon Vera and probably deserved a better fate two fights earlier when he lost a close nod to recent title challenger Marlon Moraes. He's long been known for precision muay thai striking and leg kicks, and he seems rejuvenated since dropping down to 135 pounds.

    As for Pedro Munhoz, he's a crowd-pleaser with a strike-heavy style that leans particularly hard toward leg kicks.

    In fact, he threw 40 in defeating Jimmie Rivera in February and 44 against Frankie Edgar a year ago.

    So it's not surprising that the moneyline is nearly even, with Aldo at -115 and Munhoz at -105.

    The two are separated by four spots in the UFC bantamweight rankings—where Aldo is fifth and Munhoz is ninth—and it's likely to go the distance, so the ultimate decider will be who wants it more, or, more accurately, who has more left to give in order to get it.

    Regardless of which fighter you like, the moneyline offers no chance at a windfall. So we'll branch out to the winning method lines and suggest taking a chance on Munhoz to get it done on the scorecards.

    The B/R Picks: Munhoz/By Split or Majority (+750) and Munhoz/By Unanimous (+330)

Michael Chiesa vs. Vicente Luque

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    Kudos, sort of, to the UFC matchmaking apparatus.

    While the goings-on behind the scenes tend to engineer competitive and entertaining fights, they don't exactly make it easier on the speculative types.

    So while Saturday's match between the world's fifth- and sixth-ranked welterweights ought to push for performance bonuses, it won't be an easy call to bet on either Michael Chiesa or Vicente Luque.

    Luque stands at -120 on the moneyline, while Chiesa isn't far off at +100.

    Chiesa has won four straight since climbing from 155 to 170 pounds, a weight at which he feels his high-pressure grappling style is maximized. As for Luque, he's won three straight and nine of the last 10, including a first-round choke-out of ex-welterweight champ Tyron Woodley five months ago in Las Vegas.

    He boxes well and mixes solid technique with intense pressure and a strong chin, along with a penchant for taking advantage of opponent mistakes.

    It would be a betting mistake to spend too much time pondering the moneyline, but those lining up behind Luque to win do have some interesting possibilities to consider elsewhere. He's only gotten two of his 20 career wins by decision, which brings the win by KO/TKO/DQ option into play.

    Choose a round and pick your profit margin.

    The B/R Picks: Luque/Round 2 (+1000) and Luque/Round 3 (+1600)

Worth a Shot!

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    If you've read this far, you're clearly into the concept of risk vs. reward. And while favorites are often a worthwhile option, a well-chosen underdog is a nice benefit, too. 

    Fortunately, this card isn't hurting for intriguing plus-side options, even in the prelims. 

    Here are a few we'd suggest you take a look at:


    Ed Herman: Moneyline/Finish Only (+300)

    Go ahead, raise your hand if you knew Herman was the longest-tenured fighter on the UFC roster.

    Now 40, he debuted on The Ultimate Fighter 15 years ago and made his first pay-per-view appearance at UFC 72, which featured Rich Franklin against Yushin Okami in the main-event slot in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

    He's won 13 times since, mixing in five submissions and four knockouts, so we'll take a flier here and suggest he detours the comeback of light heavyweight Alonzo Menifield, who won his most recent fight in March after losing twice in 2020. 


    Ode' Osbourne: Moneyline (+165)

    Osbourne is an alumnus of Dana White's Contender Series, but his UFC debut didn't go exactly as planned and ultimately ended in a submission loss to Brian Kelleher at UFC 260.

    He spent the next 13 months on the shelf, but he returned in memorable style with a 26-second erasure of Jimmie Rivera in February. He's matched this weekend with former Rizin Fighting Federation titleholder Manel Kape, who arrived at the Octagon amid much chatter but hasn't won in two opportunities in 2021.

    The Jamaican seems particularly intent on pushing Kape's skid to three, and violently.

    "I don't like to be in there fighting for three rounds and it goes to decision," Osbourne told Sherdog's Tudor Leonte. "If it goes to decision, I feel like I didn't do my job and my job was uncompleted. There might be fights that I go to decision, but I feel like I didn't do my job whenever it goes the distance.

    "I try to finish people because that's what fighting is all about. You try to prove that you are the best and the only way to prove that you are the best is to finish everybody."


    Tecia Torres: Split/Majority Decision (+450)

    Torres and Angela Hill know each other. Very well, in fact. They were teammates on The Ultimate Fighter in 2014, then fought in 2015 at UFC 188 in Mexico City. Torres won a unanimous decision and is now ranked two slots above Hill at strawweight—10th vs. 12th.

    They've since combined for 26 UFC fights and a handful of performance bonuses and seem evenly matched coming into Saturday's rematch.

    So evenly matched that a reed-thin decision is in play, and we'll suggest making a play that Torres wins it.


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