One major reason behind the UFC’s sudden decision to book an interim title fight between Derrick Lewis and Ciryl Gane has been revealed.
UFC fans worldwide were taken for a spin Monday when it was revealed that the UFC had booked an interim heavyweight title bout between Derrick Lewis and Ciryl Gane, just three months after undisputed champion Francis Ngannou won the championship. Just 48 hours earlier, Gane had defeated Alexander Volkov in a fight that was not viewed as a title eliminator. After all, Derrick Lewis was already confirmed to be next for Ngannou, and names like Stipe Miocic and even the latent Jon Jones remain in the mix despite their delayed return schedules.
When Francis Ngannou’s team learned the news, they reacted with “total shock.” UFC President Dana White called BS on this “shock” and was involved in a brief yet volatile social media spat with Ngannou’s manager, Marquel Martin. White claimed that Martin knew exactly why the fight was booked, a claim which Martin denied and listed all the reasons why he knew no such thing.
Today, the MMA community did get wind of one confirmed reason to unravel the mystery of this fight booking. MMA reporter Ariel Helwani broke the news that the UFC have agreed to host multiple events in the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas and that this was one of the reasons UFC executives found it crucial to include hometown hero Derrick Lewis in the main event.
Of course, the UFC had hoped that it would be Ngannou who would be standing across from The Black Beast, but according to Ngannou’s manager, the team would not have been ready until September.
Houston will also be hosting a UFC pay-per-view in 2022 per this agreement.
The current lineup for UFC 265 scheduled for August 7 in Houston, Texas, is as follows:
UFC Interim Heavyweight Championship Bout: Derrick Lewis vs. Ciryl Gane
UFC Bantamweight Championship Bout: Amanda Nunes (c) vs. Julianna Peña
José Aldo vs. Pedro Munhoz
Vicente Luque vs. Michael Chiesa
Song Yadong vs. Casey Kenney
Manel Kape vs. Ode Osbourne
Angela Hill vs. Tecia Torres
Victoria Leonardo vs. Melissa Gatto
Alonzo Menifield vs. Ed Herman
Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs. Jessica Penne
Vince Morales vs. Drako Rodriguez
Johnny Munoz vs. Jamey Simmons