UFC 265 takes place this Saturday in Houston, Texas, and the top of the bill features some tantalizing action.
Despite causing a stir-up, interim heavyweight gold is on the line just around four months after Francis Ngannou snatched the title from Stipe Miocic at UFC 260: Miocic vs. Ngannou 2. The interim title will be fought for inside the Toyota Center in front of a packed crowd by Houston’s own Derrick Lewis, who will take on France’s unbeaten Ciryl Gane. Prior to the match-up with Lewis, Gane earned his title shot with a dominant five-round performance against Russia’s 6-foot-7-inch Alexander Volkov.
Following a positive COVID-19 test that sidelined women’s double champion, Amanda Nunes, the fight between Brazilian legend Jose Aldo and Pedro Munhoz was then elevated to the co-main event. The former champ José Aldo intends to fend off Munhoz, who is hungry for Aldo’s #5-ranking in the 135-pound division. The pressure behind the co-main event has become palpable, as the former featherweight great admits that he is going “all in” in his bantamweight showdown with Munhoz this weekend.
Co-Main Event Preview/Prediction Jose Aldo vs. Pedro Munhoz
Last July, Aldo got the opportunity to face Petr Yan for vacant gold; and while he gave a great account of himself, he slowly deteriorated from Yan’s relentless pacing. Collecting himself after a fifth-round TKO defeat to “No Mercy,” the Brazilian legend returned to the win column when he outworked Marlon Vera to a unanimous decision victory back in December of 2020.
Following a razor-close split-decision loss to Frankie Edgar last year, Munhoz bounced back with a key victory against the #13-ranked Jimmie Rivera when the two locked horns back in February.
With a chance to nab a higher ranking, Munhoz has a big opportunity in front of him. The bantamweight fully recognizes it, too, and believes that with a statement win, he could emerge into title contention once the smoke clears in the rematch between Yan and Aljamain Sterling later this year.
PREDICTION: Jose Aldo def. Pedro Munhoz
UFC 265 Main Event Preview/Prediction – Derrick Lewis vs. Ciryl Gane
The interim heavyweight title fight is upon us, and whoever should come out on top will likely face “The Predator” Francis Ngannou next. The two heavyweights are polar opposites in terms of fighting styles. For instance, Gane prefers a well-rounded approach and sticks to a disciplined game plan. With technique favored over power and emotion, perhaps those traits are the reason why Gane has been able to make such advancements in the heavyweight division this quickly.
On the other hand, Lewis is known more for his finishing abilities and currently holds the record for most knockouts in the heavyweight division (11). “The Black Beast” also has a win over the current sitting champion Ngannou, so picking up an interim title before the two meet again would only make for an even bigger fight.
Admittedly, Lewis believes he’s less skilled than most opponents that he faces but insists it won’t matter on Saturday because he only has to land one devastating blow to capture a world title.
If Gane comes out victorious, then the heavyweight strap has an unbeaten, interim belt-holder who would have spearheaded the higher stakes to the title unification bout.
The Frenchman’s confidence continues to grow as we inch closer to UFC 265. In addition, most believe the fight will be contended on the feet considering the striking prowess of both fighters. UFC 265 will cement the next challenger to Ngannou’s title; meanwhile, the champion will be watching from the sidelines to see who he will be facing when he returns to the Octagon.
Prediction: Ciryl Gane def. Derrick Lewis