The headline fight between Amanda Nunes and Juliana Pena may have been called off after the champion was struck down with COVID (not even the GOAT can beat it!), but the UFC 265: Gane vs. Lewis fight card is still absolutely stacked.
The event takes place LIVE from the Toyota Center, Houston, TX, with the main card scheduled to get underway at around 10 pm EST.
With the action now just 48 hours away, we’re on hand to keep you up to date with all the latest odds, give you a full fight preview of every bout on the main card, and, of course, our betting picks for the main event.
UFC 265: Ciryl Gane vs. Derrick Lewis
UFC 265 is headlined by a very intriguing and potentially thrilling interim heavyweight championship bout between Derrick Lewis and Ciryl Gane, in a fight that’s all about technique vs. power.
Lewis aka “The Black Beast” (25-7 + 1 NC) has been the power puncher in just about every fight he’s ever been in, and it’ll be the same come Saturday. Backed by a raucous home crowd, the Texan will be looking to swing for the fences and take his French opponent’s head clean off with a sweet hook – that’s the game plan.
Gane (9-0) on, the other hand, is the more technical striker of the two. The Frenchman comes from a Muay Thai background and boasts a 7-0 Thai boxing record to add to his wins inside the Octagon. Able to deliver nasty strikes both in the clinch and at range, Gane’s task will be to pick Lewis off and try to volume punch his way to Interim gold.
Prediction: who knows who wins Gane vs. Lewis? Typically, we’d give you a nugget like, ‘if Gane can keep the fight going into the later rounds, his ability to deliver inch-perfect strikes…’ but this is Derrick Lewis! Did you see the Alexander Volkov fight? Lewis ate well over 100 strikes from the Russian. He was easily down 3-0 on the cards and, with 20 seconds remaining, the fight was over. Then, suddenly, BLAM, Volkov got sloppy for a split-second and the Beast put his lights out. Point is, it’s impossible to call a Lewis fight because, despite the fact he only lands 2.6 significant strikes per minute, he often only needs just the 1.0 hammer during the 15 to claim the W.
As a result, “Bon Gamin”(Gane) might well be a flashier fighter and – for the purist -superior in many ways. He might well land more significant strikes per minute too (5.6), but he’ll need to be on guard all night against Lewis’ power. Blink and you miss it – seriously!
This Gane vs. Lewis fight could go anywhere and is a remarkably tough one to call. As such, we’re going with our hearts, not our heads – Lewis to win by KO in front of his home crowd.
DraftKings Odds: Gane: -365; Lewis: +280
UFC 265: Gane vs. Lewis – Jose Aldo vs. Pedro Munhoz
You can still make a case for Jose Aldo (29-7) being the greatest fighter to ever step foot inside the Octagon. In fact, up until he butted heads with a certain Irishman at UFC 194, the Brazillian had been on an 18 fight win-streak that spanned a decade.
Since that fateful 13 second KO, however, Aldo just hasn’t been the same fighter. Most recently he’d lost three on the bounce, including a rough KO defeat to Peter Yan for the bantamweight strap, before returning to some semblance of form with a win over Marlon Vera at UFC Fight Night: Thompson vs. Neal last time out, taking a U-DEC victory.
Having won just one of his last three, Munhoz isn’t exactly on fire in the Octagon either. But with a record of 19-5-1 and big wins over the likes of Cody Garbrandt and Rob Font under his belt, Munhoz will prove a stern test for the former featherweight champion.
It’s hard to read too much into the stats for this one. Both men are evenly matched in terms of strikes per minute and striking defense. Hence the tight odds broadcast on sportsbooks. But Aldo’s performances have been in decline for some time, so the stats don’t tell the complete story…
We’re going for the younger, fresher Munhoz to win via the judges’ decision.
DraftKings Odds: Aldo: -115; Munhoz: -105
UFC 265: Gane vs. Lewis – Michael Chiesa vs. Vicente Luque
Prediction: Vicente Luque (20-7-1) is a bad man. After doing away with Niko Price, Randy Brown, and Tyron Woodley, Luque is in the midst of a three-fight winning streak. Each of those Ws has come by way of stoppage, as Luque’s fight generally do. In fact, the Brazillian has only left his wins to the judges four times in his entire UFC career. Nobody has ever stopped him either! Each of Luque’s seven career defeats have come by way of decisions. Again, he’s a bad man.
Michael Chiesa (18-4), doesn’t have the spectacular KO resume of his opponent. But Chiesa’s jiu-jitsu is high level, with nine of his 11 wins inside the Octagon coming by way of submission.
For Chiesa to win this one, it’s likely he’ll need to drag Luque down to the mat and try to assert his dominance there. If it stays up on the feet, Luque will be too much – he punches harder; throws more volume, and has a better chin.
The oddsmakers are struggling to separate this pair because of the obvious advantage each has in his own discipline. But we’re backing Luque to the hills – the guy has been on a tear recently and we expect it to continue, all be it against a dangerous opponent like Chiesa.
DraftKings Odds: Chiesa: -105; Luque: -115
UFC 265: Tecia Torres vs. Angela Hill
Preview & Prediction: This one’s a rematch! Tecia Torres (12-5) ground out a tough decision win the first time she encountered Angela Hill (13-9). But both ladies shave come a long way since then. Hill, in particular, has fought 19 times since, and, though her record isn’t as good as her opponent’s, she is forever evolving her arsenal of weapons – with particular reference to her Muay Thai, which has been great in recent bouts.
Unfortunately for Hill, we think Torres might just prove to be too good come Saturday. “The Tiny Tornado” all too often lives up to her name and, when on song, is a one-woman wrecking machine inside the Octagon. She’s able to keep the output high but connects with power for the full fifteen; her wrestling is ever-improving and, on the feet, she closes the distance quickly and strikes at creative angles.
Hill is no slouch on the feet either. As mentioned, her Muay-Thai is high-level, and she’s the rangier of the two women, giving her an opportunity to poke the jab out there and try to keep Torres on the end of it.
But we think that Torres’ extra gas in the tank will enable her to close the distance and do damage in flurries, probably landing more strikes in total and taking the W via the scorecards.
Torres by decision.
DraftKings Odds: Hill: -115; Torres: +135
UFC 265: Song Yadong vs. Casey Kenney
Preview & Prediction: Song Yadong is a special kind of fighter. The Chinese superstar has been training in kungfu since he was nine years old and is one of the best strikers in MMA.
The only issue with Yadong is that he spends too much time on the mat. In his most recent defeats vs. Cody Stamaan and Kyler Philipps, he was taken down five and three times, respectively; spent far too much time trying to get back to the feet, and came up short on the judges’ scorecards both times.
Yadong has been training with Urijah Faber and Team Alpha Male to rectify this deficiency. If the stint has worked out, it could make for a great evening for the Chinese MMA fans. Their next big hope closes the distance in an instant and strikes with real venom when the stand-up exchanges begin. He just needs to be on his feet. to work his magic (easier said than done in the UFC; just ask ‘Wonderboy’).
Casey Kenney isn’t just taking a trip to Houston to make up the numbers, mind. He’s a lifelong martial artist himself, having practiced judo since he was five. He’s also a Greco-Roman wrestling specialist so likely an absolute nightmare matchup for Yadong, stylistically.
Kenney is going to want to take Yadong down and grind on him, using a lifetime of acquired grappling skills. Yadong is going to want to put Kenney’s lights out – that’s the basic path to victory for both men.
From a betting perspective, we suggest waiting for this one to go LIVE: that way, you can see how Yadong copes with the takedowns. If he stuffs a couple early, he should be on for a win.
We’re going with Yadong since he’s the more explosive fighter and that’s what we like to see. But, we wouldn’t be surprised to see him spend 10 minutes in his back either – it’s just one of those types of fights.
DraftKings Odds: Yadong: +100; Kenney: -120
Whoever you bet on, remember, it’s Gane vs. Lewis! Enjoy the show first and foremost!