UFC 265 Fight Card: PPV Schedule, Odds, Predictions for Lewis vs. Gane

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistAugust 7, 2021

UFC 265 Fight Card: PPV Schedule, Odds, Predictions for Lewis vs. Gane

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    Ciryl Gane and Derrick Lewis face a massive opportunity on Saturday night in Houston, Texas, with the interim heavyweight title on the line at UFC 265. 

    Whether there should be an interim title less than a year after Francis Ngannou won the championship from Stipe Miocic is up for debate. What isn't up for debate is that this is a fun heavyweight matchup, and the stakes being raised just makes it all the more intriguing. 

    The fight will anchor a card that features some good matchmaking across the board. Each of the main card fights leading up to the main event has tight odds and burning questions associated with it. 

    Let's take a look at the complete offering and some of those biggest questions that will be answered on Saturday night. 

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 (-120) vs. Pedro Munhoz (+100)
    • Michael Chiesa (-110) vs. Vicente Luque (-110)
    • Tecia Torres (-145) vs. Angela Hill (+125)
    • Song Yadong (+100) vs. Casey Kenney (-120)

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

    • Bobby Green (+245) vs. Rafael Fiziev (-310)
    • Vince Morales (-105) vs. Drako Rodriguez (-115)
    • Alonzo Menifield (-240) vs. Ed Herman (+195)
    • Karolina Kowalkiewicz (-135) vs. Jessica Penne (+115)

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

    • Manel Kape (-195) vs. Ode' Osbourne (+165)
    • Miles Johns (-210) vs. Anderson dos Santos +175)
    • Victoria Leonardo (-110) vs. Melissa Gatto (-110)
    • Johnny Munoz (-320) vs. Jamey Simmons (+250)

    Odds via DraftKings Sportbook

Can Gane Avoid Lewis' Power?

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    It's fairly obvious the UFC is trying to set up a Gane vs. Ngannou fight down the line with this matchup. The two have crossed paths as training partners during their rise through the UFC ranks. Both have French connections. The fight sells itself. 

    But Gane's rapid ascent has still left some unanswered questions about his game. Perhaps the most pressing one is how he will handle the elite power punchers in the division. 

    He holds wins over Junior dos Santos and Jairzinho Rozenstruik, but JDS was far past his prime and Rozenstruik isn't quite the knockout artist that Lewis is and definitely isn't close to Ngannou. 

    This fight will be a good indicator of what kind of odds Gane has against Ngannou. If he can keep Lewis at the end of his jabs and leg kicks for the duration of the fight without eating serious leather, it sets up a really interesting title fight. 

    If Lewis catches him and rocks him or puts him away, we will know that Gane isn't quite ready for Ngannou. 

    Prediction: Gane via decision

How Much Does Aldo Have Left?

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    Jose Aldo staved off any talks of his demise with a decision win over Marlon Vera last time out. He snapped a three-fight losing streak that came against elite competition with a solid performance against a game opponent. 

    But at 34 years old with a long history of five-round fights, he'll have to keep putting together those types of performances to stay away from accusations of being "washed" or "over the hill." 

    Pedro Munhoz is not the same level as the fighters Aldo has lost to recently. Alexander Volkanovski and Petr Yan have held UFC championships. Marlon Moraes held the World Series of Fighting championship. 

    This matchup serves as a good barometer for where Aldo is at this point in his career. Munhoz utilizes enough forward movement and volume that he could be an issue if the Brazilian is not on top of his game.

    Prime Aldo or a close facsimile would easily rebuff Munhoz's advances with his signature leg kicks before knocking him out. 

    But that version of Aldo may be gone at this point. If Munhoz gets out of the first round, it could be his fight to lose. 

    Prediction: Munhoz via second-round TKO

Will Luque Be a Willing Grappler Against Chiesa?

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    The welterweight matchup of Vicente Luque and Michael Chiesa is one of the most intriguing fights on the card. 

    Chiesa has been a surprising success at welterweight. Moving up from lightweight, his version of pressure grappling has translated well and has him on a four-fight win streak. Luque has been one of the hottest fighters in the division for a while. His only loss in 10 fights has come to Stephen Thompson. 

    There isn't much to apply from that loss to the Chiesa matchup. They couldn't be more different fighters. 

    Chiesa's game plan is easy to figure out. He's going to look to get the fight to the clinch or to the ground as quickly and as often as possible. 

    How Luque responds to that is where the matchup will be won or lost. His striking is clearly better than Maverick's. He has several knockout wins and is the more technical striker. But he also has roots in jiu-jitsu with several submission wins to his name. 

    If he's willing to fight from the bottom and look for submissions, that's a risky way to fight. He could find himself exhausted and down on the scorecards by the third round. 

    However, if he's willing to admit that Chiesa is a better grappler, works to defend takedowns and fights from distance, he should control the action. 

    Prediction: Luque via third-round TKO


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