UFC 265: Lewis vs. Gane Preview

This Saturday night, August 7, the interim heavyweight title is on the line when Derrick Lewis and Cyril Gane compete in the UFC 265 main event. Former featherweight champion Jose Aldo goes up against fellow Brazilian Pedro Munhoz in the co-main event of the evening.

I’m not expecting the main event between Derrick Lewis and Cyril Gane to be all that much of an exciting affair, but this interim heavyweight fight should be an interesting tactical battle. Lewis will have hometown advantage as he looks to be successful on the second attempt of winning a UFC title. “The Black Beast” has come into his own as a fighter in recent years. His past cardio problems have improved somewhat and his back issues seem to have subsided.

Lewis knows what he does best inside the cage, and that’s be patient, look for openings and land big bombs. That is his key to victory in this fight. Riding a four-fight win streak will give Lewis massive confidence coming into this fight. The fact he is fighting in his own backyard and can become the first heavyweight champion out of Houston provides all the motivation he needs.

To arrive at a UFC title shot on only your tenth professional fight and only two-years inside the promotion is a massive achievement for Ciryl Gane and coach Fernand Lopez. A win for the Frenchman on Saturday night would set up a unification bout with former teammate Francis Ngannou.

Gane doesn’t move like a normal heavyweight, he is deceivingly quick and moves very light on his feet. His Muay Thai style is well polished and his shot selection is accurate and methodical. We have not seen “Bon Gamin” in any kind of trouble during his UFC tenure so far. Part of the reason for that is he has a great ability to get in control of a fight in the early stages. Ganes ability to cut off the cage and force his opponent on the back foot will pay huge dividends in this fight with Lewis. I have been critical of Gane’s lack of killer instinct in past fights but with the right game plan here I feel that he has the ability to finish this fight.

I don’t expect the French heavyweight to come out of the blocks too fast, Lewis will be a lot more dangerous in the early stages. I feel that the legs of Lewis are a huge target for Gane here. If he can slowly chop away at his opponent legs throughout this fight I can see the finish will come in the championship rounds.

Derrick Lewis will be dangerous from bell to bell in this, and every fight, ask Alexander Volkov. He will be looking for that widowmaker right hand to land and if it does land clean it’s night-night for almost anyone in the heavyweight division. I’m curious to see if Lewis will try to clinch or even wrestle to try and break the rhythm of his rival. This will likely be a tactical cat and mouse affair which might make it tough to watch at time. We are talking about heavyweights here and one shot at any moment could end this fight, that brings some extra excitement into this contest.

The battle of Brazil will go down in the co-main event as Jose Aldo goes up against Pedro Munhoz. As a person that was critical of Aldo’s move down to 135 pounds I do have to admit the former featherweight champion looks like he probably should of been there much sooner in his career. Munhoz has been a staple in the bantamweight since his joined the UFC ranks in 2014, he will be looking to take this down to the mat because he knows Aldo will have a massive advantage if the fight is on the feet. The unfortunate thing for Munhoz is that Aldo has excellent takedown defence, that battle will be key in who wins this fight.

This seems like the perfect match-up for Jose Aldo, he will look to counter the wild shots that Munhoz likes to throw while moving forward closing the distance. I always enjoy watching Aldo compete, the man is a legend and it great to see him still fighting at the highest level after such a storied career.

Michael Chiesa and Vicente Luque will duke it out in the welterweight division. Chiesa has won his last four, he will want to put Luque on his back and if he fails to do that this will be a very violent fight. Brazilian born, Vicente Luque is always great to watch perform. A BJJ black belt who loves to stand and bang. Luque is very well rounded overall. A win for either guy will see them inserted right into the title picture at 170 pounds.

Tecia Torres will rematch Angela Hill in the women’s strawweight division. This will be a super close fight that I can see going all the way to the judges scorecards. Opening up the card is a fantastic bantamweight clash that has fight of the night written all over it. Song Yadong takes on Casey Kenney at 135-pounds, Yadong is a fast starter that tends to slow down as the fight progresses. Kenney, who lost a split decision to Dominick Cruz in his last trip to the octagon, tends to slowly build his way into fights. The American will have to weather the early storm his Chinese rival will likely throw at him, if he is successful, and this fight enters round two or three this will be a fascinating encounter.

Rafael Fiziev and Bobby Green are chalked down to compete in the preliminary card headliner. Fiziev, who fights out of Kyrgyzstan, has looked sensational in recent fights. A decision win over Alex White followed by another solid win over Marc Diakiese, his stunning knockout win over Renato Moicano in his last trip to the cage that really put a lightweight division on notice. Standing across from him will be UFC veteran Bobby Green. Green is confident in his boxing and the lightweight veteran has good wrestling credentials and he like to shoot his mouth during a lot of his fights, he will provide a solid test to Fiziev and this fight should get us Nicely warmed up for the main card. 

Two fighters who are seeking to get back into the win column after losing last time out are Drako Rodriguez and Vince Morales. Both bantamweights can not afford many more slip-ups if they are to remain competing under the UFC banner which should make for an intriguing battle. Ed Herman, who has been with the UFC since TUF Season 3, will take on Alonzo Menifield at 185 pounds. “Short Fuse” has rallied late on in his career and the American finds himself on a three fight win streak. Menifield was left disappointed when he was beaten by OSP two fights ago but turned his fortunes around in his last outing beating Fabio Cherant by Von Flue Choke.

Two former title challengers will collide in the women’s strawweight division to open up the prelims card. Jessica Penne is set to take on Karolina Kowalkiewicz. Penne snapped a three-fight losing skid when she beat Lupita Godinez by split decision in her previous bout. Karolina has not had her hands raised since 2018 and has lost her last four bouts. The Polish standout has had some difficulties with her mental health over the past few years, she looks to get her career back on track and a with over her rival on Saturday night would sent her on the road to redemption. 

Former Rizin bantamweight champion Manel Kape is still looking for his UFC win after two appearances. The Portuguese fighter will face off with Ode’ Osbourne will has only lost one out of his last five and picked up a beautiful first round knockout in his last outing. This fight should be a straight stand-up war. Miles Johns looks to keep his momentum going after knocking out Kevin Natividad with a brutal uppercut the last time he set foot inside the octagon. The bantamweight takes on Brazilian veteran Anderson dos Santos who snactched a guillotine choke early in his last fight with Martin Day. Melissa Gatto will make her UFC debut in the women’s strawweight division, her dance partner on the night will be Victoria Leonardo. Johnny Muñoz Jr. and Jamey Simmons will open up the card in the bantamweight division. Both fighters lost on their UFC debut and will be desperate to get their first win inside the octagon which should make for an interesting scrap.

Check out the official fight card and start times below.

Main Card (BT Sports / ESPN+, 10PM ET)

Heavyweight: Derrick Lewis (25-7) vs. Ciryl Gane (9-0)

Bantamweight: José Aldo (29-7) vs. Pedro Munhoz (19-5)

Welterweight: Michael Chiesa (17-4) vs. Vicente Luque (20-7-1)

Women’s Strawweight: Tecia Torres (12-5) vs. Angela Hill (13-9)

Bantamweight: Song Yadong (16-5-1) vs. Casey Kenney (16-3-1)

Preliminary Card (BT Sports / ESPN+, 8PM ET)

Lightweight: Bobby Green (27-11-1) vs. Rafael Fiziev (9-1)

Bantamweight: Vince Morales (9-5) vs. Drako Rodriguez (7-2)

Light Heavyweight: Ed Herman (25-14) vs. Alonzo Menifield (10-2)

Women’s Strawweight: Karolina Kowalkiewicz (12-6) vs. Jessica Penne (13-5)

Early preliminary card (ESPN+ / UFC Fight Pass, 6PM ET)

Flyweight: Manel Kape (15-6) vs. Ode’ Osbourne (9-3)

Bantamweight: Miles Johns (11-1) vs. Anderson dos Santos (21-6)

Women’s Flyweight: Victoria Leonardo (8-3) vs. Melissa Gatto (6-0-2)

Bantamweight: Johnny Muñoz Jr. (10-1) vs. Jamey Simmons (7-3)

Ian O'Neill is a Kilkenny man living in Canada. You can catch him on Twitter most of the time talking all things MMA. Follow me on Twitter and on Instagram @ioneillmma.