UFC 265: Lewis vs. Gane Fight Card, TV Info, Predictions and More

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistAugust 7, 2021

UFC 265: Lewis vs. Gane Fight Card, TV Info, Predictions and More

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    Josh Hedges/Getty Images

    UFC 265 comes to Houston, Texas, with an interim heavyweight championship fight between Derrick Lewis and Ciryl Gane serving as the headliner. 

    While the MMA world waits for a potential fight between current champion Francis Ngannou and Jon Jones, the organization has decided to crown an interim champion. A Houston-native in Lewis and a surging star who used to be an Ngnannou sparring partner in Gane makes for an intriguing anchor to the card. 

    Amanda Nunes and Julianna Pena was supposed to serve as the co-main event, but it was scrapped after a positive COVID-19 test for Nunes. Still, the main event will be supported by an important bantamweight clash between Jose Aldo and Pedro Munhoz. 

    Looking across the odds for the rest of the main card bouts, it figures to be a night that delivers several quality fights. Here's an overview of what you'll see and predictions for the biggest fights on the card.  

Fight Card, Schedule and Odds

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    Main Card (ESPN+ PPV at 10 p.m. ET)

    • Ciryl Gane (-350; bet $350 to win $100) vs. Derrick Lewis (+270; $100 bet wins $270)—interim heavyweight title fight
    • Jose Aldo (-115) vs. Pedro Munhoz (-105)
    • Michael Chiesa (-105) vs. Vicente Luque (-120)
    • Tecia Torres (-145) vs. Angela Hill (+125)
    • Song Yadong (+105) vs. Casey Kenney (-125)

    Prelims (ESPN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET)

    • Bobby Green (+225) vs. Rafael Fiziev (-280)
    • Vince Morales (-105) vs. Drako Rodriguez (-115)
    • Alonzo Menifield (-240) vs. Ed Herman (+195)
    • Karolina Kowalkiewicz (-125) vs. Jessica Penne (+105)

    Early Prelims (UFC Fight Pass at 6 p.m. ET)

    • Manel Kape (-210) vs. Ode' Osbourne (+175)
    • Miles Johns (-220) vs. Anderson dos Santos +180)
    • Victoria Leonardo (-110) vs. Melissa Gatto (-110)
    • Johnny Munoz (-265) vs. Jamey Simmons (+215)

Gane Sets Up Title Fight with Former Sparring Partner

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    The UFC has fast-tracked Gane to this point. As Aaron Bronsteter of TSN Sports noted, Gane is getting a crack at a UFC championship (even if it's interim) only 30 days later into his career than it took Jones to get his first championship fight. 

    A fight with Ngannou sells itself. The two both have a French connection.

    At this point, Ngannou's decision to leave his native Cameroon and come to France to box before transitioning to MMA and becoming one of the most fearsome heavyweights of all time is well-told. Gane is a French national born and raised, and the two were sparring partners at one point. 

    But Gane has to get past Lewis if he wants to make that fight happen. That's not an easy task. Lewis is one of the most powerful punchers in the sport.

    However, he's also heavily reliant on his opponent making a mistake. Lewis is not an inherently aggressive fighter, and he'll happily wait for his opponent to overextend and punish them when they make the mistake. 

    That makes Gane, who has a way of fighting technically without ever really losing control, a difficult matchup for Lewis. Bon Gamin should pick apart Lewis from the outside without ever giving the spot for Lewis to knock him out. 

    Prediction: Gane via decision

Munhoz Rallies to Notch Big Win over Aldo

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    At this point, it's hard to peg down exactly what Aldo is capable of at bantamweight. The former featherweight kingpin has already had highs and lows in his run at 135 pounds. 

    He dropped a close split-decision loss to Marlon Moraes in his bantamweight debut. He followed that up with another loss via fifth-round TKO against Petr Yan in a title fight.

    Just when it looked like 135 pounds just might not be a good look for him, he followed it up with a unanimous-decision win over Marlon Vera. 

    The matchup with Munhoz should be a clear picture of what the Brazilian has left. If Aldo is anywhere near his prime, he should be able to take advantage of a brawler like Munhoz by cutting down his legs before knocking him out. 

    Now, it's fair to wonder where Aldo's conditioning is. His preference is to fight in bursts, while Munhoz is a non-stop pressure fighter. The longer this fight goes, the more it could swing into Munhoz's favor. 

    If Aldo has more left than his latest appearances have shown, then this prediction could be very wrong. For now, the assumption is that Aldo races out to a lead before things go south.  

    Prediction: Munhoz via second-round TKO 

Luque Avoids Ground Long Enough for Knockout

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    Josh Hedges/Getty Images

    The welterweight main card scrap between Vicente Luque carries tight odds and a distinctive clash of styles. 

    Michael Chiesa is a magnet. He finds ways to drag his opponents down and dominate from top position. He's been a problem since moving up from lightweight to 170 pounds. He's looked excellent against Rafael dos Anjos and Neil Magny. 

    Luque has done most of his damage on the feet, but he's submitted some fighters in his 9-1 run over his last 10 fights, too. He also loves to pressure opponents, but it's a different kind of pressure. 

    The key moments in this fight will be the times that Luque tries to back Chiesa to the fence or get him on the back foot while avoiding takedowns. The Brazilian will have to be measured in his attacks or he'll wind up on his back. 

    But even there Luque has ways to end the fight. His submissions are strong, and he's good in scrambles. 

    The Brazilian will have to put in a strong performance, but his chance to land a knockout blow at some point before getting taken down is being undersold here. 

    Prediction: Luque via third-round TKO


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