Francis Ngannou officially has a heavyweight contender to worry about after Ciryl Gane's third-round TKO win over Derrick Lewis in the main event of UFC 265 from the Toyota Center in Houston on Saturday.
Any question about Gane's ability to negate Lewis' prodigious power was answered emphatically. Bon Gamin managed the distance perfectly with his kickboxing and speed.
Gane went to work early with leg kicks and body kicks that wore down Lewis and kept Gane at a safe distance. Lewis landed just two significant strikes in the first two rounds.
With a comfortable lead on the scorecards, Gane dialed up the pressure in the third round. With Lewis' lead leg clearly wobbled, Gane rushed his opponent with great success, scoring a knockdown before ultimately earning the finish.
It was the moment a potential UFC star was born. He now holds the interim heavyweight championship, which essentially serves as a golden ticket to meet with Ngannou at a later date. His combination of fight IQ, athleticism and speed will make him an intriguing test for the champion.
There was plenty of other quality action on the card. Highlighted by a vintage Jose Aldo performance, here's what went down in Houston.
- Ciryl Gane def. Derrick Brown via TKO (4:11 of Round 3)
- Jose Aldo def. Pedro Munhoz via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
- Vicente Luque def. Michael Chiesa via submission (D'Arce choke) (3:29 of Round 1)
- Tecia Torres def. Angela Hill via unanimous decision (30-27 x2, 29-28)
- Song Yadong def. Casey Kenney via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
- Rafael Fiziev def. Bobby Green via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x2)
- Vince Morales def. Drako Rodriguez via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x2)
- Alonzo Menifield def. Ed Herman via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
- Jessica Penne def. Karolina Kowalkiewicz via submission (armbar) (0:32 of Round 1)
- Manel Kape def. Ode Osbourne via KO (4:44 of Round 1)
- Miles Johns def. Anderson dos Santos via KO (1:16 of Round 3)
- Melissa Gatto def. Victoria Leonardo via TKO (5:00 of Round 2)
- Johnny Munoz def. Jamey Simmons via submission (rear-naked choke) (2:35 of Round 2)
Jose Aldo def. Pedro Munhoz
Jose Aldo is still very good at this whole MMA thing in case you were wondering. The former featherweight champion looked very dangerous in a unanimous-decision win over Pedro Munhoz.
Munhoz came forward with his typical aggression throughout the three-round fight, but he was never able to truly back down Aldo. The Brazilian instead was willing to fire off quick boxing combinations to both the body and head.
The result was a clean sweep across all three scorecards and a building case that Aldo is going to be in line for more major fights soon. After losing his first two fights at bantamweight, the King of Rio has now captured two in a row.
More important than his win is how good he looked in it. Though the UFC was clearly doing him a favor by letting him fight for the bantamweight title after one loss in the division, he's starting to earn another look against the best fighters in the division.
Vicente Luque def. Michael Chiesa
In a lot of ways, Vicente Luque vs. Michael Chiesa profiled like a traditional striker vs. grappler matchup. Chiesa had been dominating opponents on the ground. Luque has been knocking out opponents.
But the Brazilian also reminded people he has a pretty strong submission game too. He tapped out Chiesa in the first round to a D'Arce choke:
In a wild grappling exchange, Chiesa was attempting to lock in a rear-naked choke of his own, but Luque was able to slip out and slap on the D'Arce before Chiesa had time to react.
It's getting harder to ignore Luque as a title contender at 170 pounds. He has now won 10 of his last 11 fights with his only loss coming against Stephen Thompson. He took his time in the spotlight to call out Kamaru Usman, who is scheduled to fight Colby Covington again in November.
If that fight should fall through, Luque should be on the short list of names getting that opportunity.
Tecia Torres def. Angela Hill
It's been more than six years since Tecia Torres fought Angela Hill at UFC 188. All this time later, and the result is still the same, as the Tiny Tornado took another unanimous decision against Overkill.
Torres' speed was the X-factor from the outset. Anytime the two would engage in a back-and-forth, it was the 31-year-old who landed the first strike and got out of striking distance before her opponent could land anything dangerous.
Torres even opened up her striking repertoire with some spinning kicks in hopes of putting Hill on a highlight.
None of those really panned out, but it showed how she glided through the fight with relative ease. Torres has now won three in a row since 2020 after going on a four-fight losing streak.
Song Yadong def. Casey Kenney
For the second consecutive fight, Casey Kenney was on the wrong side of a split decision. The 30-year-old followed up his close loss to Dominick Cruz with another tight decision loss to Song Yadong to kick off the main card.
Both fighters had their moments in a fight that took place primarily on the feet. Kenney was the aggressor for much of the fight, but Song was active on the counters and picked up rhythm throughout the fight.
Ultimately, the rising Chinese prospect was the more proficient striker, and his body kicks started piling up to give him the lead on two of the scorecards.
The win is a successful bounce-back for Song after he suffered his first UFC loss to Kyler Phillips last time out. The 23-year-old should continue to see bigger spots as he continues to make a name for himself.