6 Fights We Need to See After UFC 265

Tom Taylor@@TomTayMMAContributor IAugust 8, 2021

6 Fights We Need to See After UFC 265

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    UFC 265 went down in Houston on Saturday night, and it did not leave fans disappointed.

    The card was topped by a Texas-sized interim heavyweight title fight between unbeaten Frenchman Ciryl Gane and the UFC's most prolific knockout artist, Derrick Lewis. Gane was able to confound Lewis with his movement and use of range from the opening bell and finished things with a violent third-round volley.

    In the co-main event of UFC 265, former featherweight champion Jose Aldo picked up his second win as a bantamweight, out-hustling fellow Brazilian Pedro Munhoz for three rounds.

    Other highlights of the card included impressive wins from the likes of Vicente Luque, Tecia Torres, Song Yadong and Rafael Fiziev.

    Fans will be talking about this exciting card for days to come. As always, one of the main topics of conversation will be what's next for the night's big winners.

    Keep reading for our take.

Ciryl Gane vs. Francis Ngannou

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    Ciryl Gane is the UFC interim heavyweight champion. The skillful Frenchman earned that bauble in the UFC 265 main event, defeating Derrick Lewis by third-round TKO.

    You'll be hard-pressed to find anyone who believes the creation of the interim title was necessary—undisputed champ Francis Ngannou fought in March and is only sidelined because of a contract dispute with the UFC—but it almost doesn't matter. Interim belt or not, Gane is clearly the next man in line for a crack at Ngannou's undisputed strap. The fact that the pair are former training partners only adds heat to a matchup that already looks pretty sizzling on paper.

    Ngannou has some things to sort out with the UFC before this fight can happen, but hopefully the two parties can come to an agreement soon so that he and Gane can mix it up to crown the true king of the heavyweights.

Jose Aldo vs. Dominick Cruz

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    Former UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo moved on to a two-fight streak as a bantamweight in the UFC 265 co-main event, defeating Pedro Munhoz by unanimous decision.

    The win keeps Aldo's late-career resurgence alive and sets him up for more big fights in the bantamweight division. While there's no denying that he's earned a top-five opponent, he should be matched up with No. 10-ranked contender Dominick Cruz, who was on duty as a cage-side commentator for UFC 265.

    Cruz, like Aldo, held titles in both WEC and the UFC—at bantamweight rather than featherweight. Now that these two legends are competing in the same weight class, it's time to pit them against each other in a fight fans have been dreaming about for more than a decade. Then give the winner a top-five opponent.

Vicente Luque vs. Leon Edwards 2

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    Vicente Luque couldn't have looked much more impressive at UFC 265, tapping grappling specialist Michael Chiesa with a first-round D'Arce choke on the main card—his fourth submission of this kind in the UFC.

    In his post-fight interview with Daniel Cormier, Luque called for a fight with reigning welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, his former training partner. Because Usman is slated to defend his title against Colby Covington at UFC 268 in November, that callout will probably go unanswered. However, Luque might be able to score a fight with No. 3-ranked welterweight contender Leon Edwards.

    The pair have fought once before, back in 2017, with Edwards winning by decision. That said, they have evolved into far better fighters since then. Schedule their rematch for the UFC 268 main card, and book the winner against the Usman vs. Covington winner.

Tecia Torres vs. Claudia Gadelha

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    Tecia Torres is 2-0 against Angela Hill, having bested her rival via unanimous decision on the UFC 265 main card.

    With her win over Hill, Torres is on a three-fight streak. In her post-fight interview with commentator Daniel Cormier, she called for a fight with a top-five opponent. That kind of opportunity feels a bit premature, but she deserves a step up.

    A fight with No. 8 contender Claudia Gadelha would be just that. Torres and Gadelha have been competing at the top level of the strawweight division for years but have surprisingly never crossed paths in the cage.

    The time for them to do so has seemingly come. And if Torres comes out on top, her call for a top-five foe might just bear fruit.

Song Yadong vs. Raphael Assuncao

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    China's Song Yadong has made a habit of winning decisions in close fights. That trend continued in the opening bout of the UFC 265 main card, when he eked by the American Casey Kenney after three exciting rounds.

    Song has been ranked inside the bantamweight top 15 in the past, and after his win over Kenney, he should be given the opportunity to reclaim his spot on that hallowed list.

    There are several matchups that make sense to that end, but perhaps the best of the bunch is a fight with Brazil's Raphael Assuncao. The 39-year-old has been ranked at bantamweight for what feels like eons, but after three straight losses to Marlon Moraes, Cory Sandhagen and Cody Garbrandt, he is due for a bit of a step down in competition.

    Pit him against Song, and we should get a sense of where the two men stand in the crowded bantamweight division.

Rafael Fiziev vs. Brad Riddell

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    Kyrgyzstan's Rafael Fiziev picked up one of the biggest wins of his career in the final bout of the UFC 265 undercard, defeating well-traveled veteran Bobby Green by decision in a thrilling fight.

    With this win, Fiziev further cemented himself as one of brightest young contenders in the jam-packed lightweight division. From here, he should have the opportunity to fight for a spot in the division's rankings. That opportunity should come against New Zealand's Brad Riddell.

    Riddell recently earned the No. 13 spot in the lightweight rankings with an impressive decision win over Drew Dober. Both he and Fiziev are 10-1 in MMA and stand out as two of the best strikers in their division.

    It makes all the sense in the world.

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