Ciryl Gane (10-0) looked extremely impressive in a TKO win against Derrick Lewis (25-8, 1 NC), using a combination of speed and power.
Francis Ngannou has no shortage of rivals for his heavyweight title.
Former two-time champion Stipe Miocic is looking forward to his rematch for the belt, and he and Ngannou are even after splitting their first two fights. The great Jon Jones is also a perennial threat the moment he makes his UFC heavyweight debut. A new challenger for Ngannou also emerged in the main event of UFC 265, when Ciryl Gane dominated Derrick Lewis en route to becoming the new interim heavyweight champion with an impressive TKO victory.
Gane’s (10-0) celebration was subdued, as the interim title is clearly not his ultimate goal. An even more intense challenge awaits in Ngannou, though that showdown suddenly seems much more difficult for Ngannou after Gane’s flawless execution of ripping Lewis apart. Win controlled all 14 minutes of the fight, continually shifting stance and using a combination of speed and power that left Lewis completely ineffective. There was never a legitimate offense from Lewis, and Gane’s vicious flurry of kicks to Lewis’s front leg eliminated the possibility of that decisive power punch.
Card 265 was good but not great, but it offered its share of high points. José Aldo looked like a real threat in the victory against Pedro Munhoz. This was a classic performance for Aldo (30-7), who has now racked up victories in his last two bantamweight fights. Although Munhoz (19-6, 1 NC) showed considerable toughness in resisting Aldo’s attack, he was simply not competitive in this fight. One of the most interesting parts of this fight happened in the comments, where Dominick Cruz raised the idea of a fight against Aldo, which would be memorable.
Vicente Luque also had an impressive performance. Luque (21-7-1) earned his fourth straight win with a submission win over Michael Chiesa that featured a sudden ending in the first round. Chiesa (18-5) had Luque on a rear choke, which he was about to fully apply, but Luque broke free and applied the D’Arce choke, which Chiesa was unable to break. The victory keeps Luque in the title fight for Kamaru Usman’s welterweight belt, but he’s still in line behind a log jam that includes Colby Covington, Leon Edwards and probably even Gilbert Burns.
Tecia Torres looked outstanding in her unanimous decision win against Angela Hill. This was a rematch from 2015, which Torres (13-5) also won by unanimous decision. Hill (13-10) was never a threat in this fight, and the victory elevates Torres into the strawweight division, where he will look for a top-five opponent in his next fight. And the undercard opened with an exciting bantamweight fight pitting Song Yadong against Casey Kenney. Despite an impressive third round from Kenney (16-4-1), Yadong (17-5-1, 1 NC) controlled the first two rounds, leading to a split decision victory.
Amanda Nunes’s presence was largely absent at UFC 265, but the lasting image will be Gane taking possession of the interim title. Win left no doubt with a landslide victory against Lewis, betting his claim on the UFC heavyweight division and capturing Ngannou’s attention in the process.
INTERIM FIGHT FOR HEAVY WEIGHT TITLE: DERRICK LEWIS VS. CIRYL GANE – 12:29 am ET
Ciryl Gane’s undefeated streak continues.
Win (10-0) looked extremely impressive in a TKO victory against Derrick Lewis. Gane dominated Lewis (25-8, 1 NC), using a combination of speed and power. He controlled the first two rounds, continually shifting stance, causing Lewis even more trouble. Gane attacked Lewis’s lead leg with kicks in the third round, taking a considerable amount of power from Lewis for his right shot.
Lewis opened the fight with a kick to the head, but never built momentum from there. Win had a perfect game plan and flawless execution against Lewis, never allowing the most decorated knockout artist in MMA to fight the kind of fight he was looking for.
Gane is now the new interim heavyweight champion, primed for a title unification fight against Francis Ngannou.
BANTAM WEIGHT FIGHT: JOSÉ ALDO VS. PEDRO MUNHOZ – 11:52 pm ET
José Aldo delivered a stale performance, winning by unanimous decision over Pedro Munhoz.
It’s two in a row for Aldo (30-7) at bantamweight, and he looked outstanding against Munhoz (19-6, 1 NC). Aldo dictated the pace of the fight with his defense, then capitalized on his offense. His boxing was sensational and he completely dominated the second and third rounds.
Aldo broke his personal record for significant hits landed. Munhoz somehow withstood a ton of punishment, and clearly couldn’t keep up with a more aggressive Aldo, who will turn 35 next month but clearly still has life left in his MMA career.
WELTER WEIGHT FIGHT: MICHAEL CHIESA VS. VICENTE LUQUE – 11:28 pm ET
Vicente Luque earned the eighth submission win of his career, showcasing his elite status as a brown jiu-jitsu belt in a first-round win against Michael Chiesa.
D’Arce’s choke provided a phenomenal finish for Luque (20-7-1) that came immediately after Chiesa (18-5) had Luque in a rear choke, which he came close to fully enforcing. But Luque broke it, then applied his own choke, and there was no question that his choke was firmly closed.
Luque’s victory should place him in the top four in the welterweight division. After the victory, he called up Kamaru Usman for a title shot. While it still makes more sense for Leon Edwards to get a shot at the belt first, this win certainly places Luque on a short list of title contenders.
WOMEN’S FIGHT WITH STRAW WEIGHT: TECIA TORRES VS. ANGELA HILL – 10:54 pm ET
The first time Tecia Torres defeated Angela Hill in 2015, the victory was attributed to her fight. Their rematch was an opportunity for Torres (13-5) to show his punches, which he did for three rounds in a row against Hill (13-10) in a unanimous decision.
The victory is Torres’ third straight victory, putting her in position for a top-five fight in the strawweight division. Torres used her speed and she reacted much faster than Hill, who absorbed the punishment nonstop. Torres unleashed a series of body kicks, inside kicks and shots to the face, and was never in danger against Hill.
The loss is a huge disappointment for Hill, but it allows Torres to re-enter the title picture in the strawweight division.
BANTAM WEIGHT FIGHT: YADONG SONG VS. CASEY KENNEY – 10:21 pm ET
Casey Kenney and Song Yadong went the distance in an extremely competitive fight to open the fight, with Yadong (17-5-1, 1 NC) winning the fight by split decision.
Yadong’s timing on the body shots was very precise. His pace never slowed and he led all three rounds in significant hits. There were points where Kenney (16-4-1) looked especially strong, but despite a very strong third round, he just didn’t do enough to break away in the first two rounds.
This is Kenney’s second straight loss, but the decision improves the 23-year-old Yadong to 6-1-1 in the UFC.
A new champion will be crowned at UFC 265, as Derrick Lewis struggles to win his first UFC championship in an interim title fight against undefeated Ciryl Gane.
The card has little star power following news that Amanda Nunes will not compete due to testing positive for COVID-19. But while the stakes are not as significant as previously anticipated, there are still compelling fights, most notably Michael Chiesa versus Vicente Luque in welterweight action. Both Chiesa and Luque need victory to rise in the division, and a victory brings them one step closer to a title shot against Kamari Usman.
The main card opening fight is Song Yadong versus Casey Kenney, which should be a wild affair between the two bantamweights. Another interesting fight pits Tecia Torres against Angela Hill. This is six years after their first meeting, which Torres won by unanimous decision at UFC 188. It is imperative that either fighter have a chance to progress toward a title fight. And while José Aldo seeks to prove that he is not in the twilight of his UFC career, Pedro Munhoz (who is the same age as Aldo) is struggling to avoid his third loss in his last four fights.
UFC 265 focuses squarely on the main event as Lewis and Gane each hunt for their first piece of UFC gold. This should be a pretty clear fight; if Win can fight Lewis and tire him out, it will be a submission finale and an extension of Gane’s undefeated streak. But if the wrestlers stay on their feet, Lewis will be one shot away from ending Gane’s night.
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• Knockout artist Derrick Lewis seeks elusive championship at UFC 265
• UFC 265 betting preview
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.