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Ciryl Gane Beats Derrick Lewis Via TKO to Win Heavyweight Title at UFC 265

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistAugust 8, 2021

HOUSTON, TEXAS - AUGUST 07: (R-L) Ciryl Gane of France kicks Derrick Lewis in their interim heavyweight title bout during the UFC 265 event at Toyota Center on August 07, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)
Josh Hedges/Getty Images

Ciryl Gane remained undefeated Saturday with a third-round TKO win over Derrick Lewis to take the interim heavyweight championship in the main event of UFC 265 at the Toyota Center in Houston. 

Gane's kickboxing, speed and movement turned out to be too much for Lewis, as it was a one-sided affair from the beginning. 

Gane opened up with a kick-heavy game plan. He peppered Lewis's lead leg and body with his kicks, establishing the distance and putting together a solid opening round. 

br_betting @br_betting

Ciryl Gane every time Derrick Lewis enters range 💀 https://t.co/i2qSVqS81Y

A brief slip from Lewis presented an opening early on but Gane was patient to maintain his distance. 

UFC @ufc

On the edge of our seats for this one 😳 #UFC265 https://t.co/Km8yykha1a

Lewis—meanwhile—got off to the slowest start imaginable. As is common with the Black Beast was conservative while looking for the big shot that could change the fight, essentially giving away the first two rounds with his inactivity:

Kevin Iole @KevinI

Gane just dominant so far. Lewis has only landed two — TWO — significant strikes. Gane so much quicker and more athletic. 20-18 Gane on my card. #UFC265

In the third round, all of those leg kicks finally paid off for Gane. With Lewis essentially rendered immobile Gane rushed his opponent and started connecting with heavy shots. From there it was survival mode. 

The victory is just the latest step in Gane's rise to UFC stardom. The Frenchman is now 10-0, with seven of those wins coming under the UFC banner. With the interim title in his hands, it would appear an eventual date with Francis Ngannou is in the offing. 

The UFC's decision to make this fight for an interim title was curious, as it has only been about four months since Ngannou won the belt from Stipe Miocic.

The organization wanted Ngannou to fight Lewis on the card, but the champion was not willing to enter an August bout, per ESPN MMA.

Regardless, Gane knows he isn't the real champion yet but looks forward to the opportunity to unify his belt. 

"For me it's just a big ticket to be a contender for a unification for the real belt. For me, the real champion is still Francis, and if I want to be a champion one day, I have to fight and to win against Francis," he told Gavin Porter of UFC.com before the bout.

For Ngannou, a matchup with former light heavyweight kingpin Jon Jones would be the ideal scenario, but a fight with Gane has some marketing pull too. He and Ngannou trained together in France when both were ascending the UFC rankings. 

Now, they could meet each other in the cage with a title on the line. 

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