Everything you need to know about UFC 265: Lewis vs. Gane

Publish Date
Friday, 6 August 2021, 8:43AM


ACC UFC resident expert Felix Heath-Collins with everything you need to know ahead of UFC 265: Lewis vs. Gane.

While UFC 265 has a quantity of elite MMA on display, the whole card is soured by the slimy nature of the interim heavyweight title fight between Derrick Lewis and Ciryl Gane. Both are talented, exciting contenders, but the creation of an interim belt at heavyweight at this time is outrageous. Former champions at heavyweight Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier typically spent a year or longer recovering between defences of their titles, whereas N'Gannou only won the belt in late March, and the UFC is creating an interim belt because asked for a month to train to defend his title against Lewis at UFC 265 in Texas. Why would the UFC burn their new heavyweight champion from the burgeoning African market Francis N'Gannou? It's simple. The immediate paycheck is in Houston, Texas. And Derrick Lewis just so happens to be the hometown hero there, so the ticket-buying mass of unvaccinated mouth-breathers will be huge. It wasn't enough that Derrick Lewis headlines the whole damn UFC 265 PPV, but he also had to be undeservedly fighting for the belt too. So imperative was this that the UFC management created a belt just for the occasion. It's comical really. This interim heavyweight title is unethical, even by the UFC's shady standards.

Needless to say, as the undisputed heavyweight champion of the UFC who is ready to defend his title, Francis N'Gannou is pissed. And I know who I'd pick in a fight between the crimson-coloured, obese UFC president Dana White and the 115 kg, 6'3" heavyweight champion Francis "The Predator" N'Gannou.

While it's a bitter pill for N'Gannou fans (and fans of fairness) to swallow, as a fight itself, this one should be explosive.

True to his "Black Beast" moniker, Derrick Lewis (25-7) (wins-losses) is a knockout artist of the highest calibre - he's got slow but devastating cannons for arms. Derrick has been known to take most of a fight off while looking for that one devastating haymaker he keeps cocked and ready at all times. And Derrick usually lands it. Twelve of his sixteen UFC wins have come via some form of punch KO or TKO. Most famously he was down two-and-a-half rounds against Russian kickboxer Alexander Volkov, only for "The Black Beast" to play possum (faking that he was hurt), only to land a series of savage strikes on an adversary who smelt blood, and finishing the fight with only 11 seconds left before he would've lost via decision. Instead, he had 3rd round, 4:49 second knockout victory. A truly legendary comeback KO.

Ciryl "Bon Gamin" Gane (9-0) is in many ways a direct contrast to Derrick Lewis. Lewis has power, while Gane has technique. Lewis is a dangerous plodding beast, while Gane is an agile assassin. Lewis has a mixed record of dramatic wins and losses, while Gane is an undefeated 9-0 prospect with a degree of notoriety growing among MMA fans for slow fights. Lewis is a charismatic troll who always has a one-liner ready, while the French Gane bearly grasps the English language at all. Unsurprisingly Houston, Texas will cheer for their hometown hero and boo the Frenchman Gane.

On paper, Gane should out-smart and out-strike the lumbering "Black Beast". In reality, the MMA Gods rarely seem to let that happen. It almost seems more likely that the "Black Beast" will land that one power strike to the chin of the Frenchman Gane. And he only needs one, whereas Gane has had a mixed bag as far as finishes go. Whoever wins, the real heavyweight champion loses. And so too does the UFC. Either the Texas hometown hero wins the "belt" in (hopefully) devastating fashion and has the opportunity to drop a "balls was hot"-Esque meme bomb post-fight that immediately goes viral, or they get to capitalise on a French "champion" after France only legalised MMA recently, while the champion N'Gannou has a history training in France with Ciryl Gane, creating an organic rivalry. I'd like to see N'Gannou get his murderous hands on either of these gentlemen if I'm being honest.

As has come to be expected, there have been significant fight cancellations due to COVID-19, despite the managements increasingly anti-vaccine sentiments. Yet the virus matches on. And it has claimed the show-stealing co-main event match-up featuring the female double-champion Amanda "The Lioness" Nunes, as she, along with her wife and infant child, have tested positive for COVID-19. Just more in a growing list of infections among the largely unvaccinated roster.

In the new co-main event the featherweight great Jose Aldo will face Pedro "The Young Punisher" Munhoz at bantamweight.

Jose Aldo "Junior" (29-7) has fallen somewhat since his prime. But it was one hell of a prime. Perhaps the best at featherweight. Rising through the WEC and UFC rosters on a seemingly unending undefeated streak, prime Aldo demolished the likes of Cub Swanson, Mike Brown, Urijah Faber, Kenny Florian, Chad Mendes, Frankie Edgar, Chan Sung Jung, and Ricardo Lamas. Then he ran into "The Notorious" Conor McGregor, who KO'd him in only thirteen seconds, taking his belt. Now down at bantamweight, the Brazillian legend is still in prime form, although he is nearing the natural end of his MMA career. Whether he retires or not is up to him, but he debuted in MMA professionally at only 17 years of age and has been fighting ever since. Before then he was a Jiu-Jitsu champion, a Muay Thai (Thai kickboxing) master, and a promising amateur footballer. All of those elite skillsets have led to Aldo being one of the best and most exciting fighters in modern MMA. His many years as a professional combat athlete have made the 34-year-old battle-worn beyond his years.

Pedro "The Young Punisher" Munhoz (19-5) has one of the best nicknames in modern MMA, along with one of the best boxing styles in the stacked UFC bantamweight division. Making his UFC debut back in 2014, Munhoz has wins and losses against the best in the bantamweight division. A mixture of decision losses, guillotine choke wins, and punch combo KO's, Munhoz is a dedicated finisher of fights. In his most impressive performance "The Young Punisher" KO'd former bantamweight champion Cody "No Love" Garbrandt with a KO-of-the-year counter punch combination at the end of the first round. Munhoz is a powerful and precise boxer with a strong Jiu-Jitsu base. Much like Aldo, however, Munhoz is 34 years old. Unlike Aldo though, he hasn't been fighting his whole adulthood (and most of his adolescence), so he should have a few more wars in him. Otherwise, Munhoz will soon have to update his nickname to "The Middle-Aged Punisher" or something.

Who wins, the Muay Thai master or the brawling boxer? No idea. It'll be one hell of a spectacle, though.

While the heavyweight title picture is truly shameful on the UFC's part, the fights themselves should deliver, at least. It would be humiliating if the main event is boring, or doesn't end in a finish since the UFC has branded the winner an arbitrary championship title. That would sure make Dana White look dumb, yet again. And who honestly wouldn't want that?

The UFC 265 main card starts for us here in New Zealand at 2:00 PM this Sunday, while the early prelims begin earlier at 10:00 AM. In that 6-8 hour window of fights, the UFC should deliver something, even if that something is not a legitimate heavyweight champion. Enjoy!




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