Preview – Heavyweight clash for interim championship at UFC 265
The big boys are back. The UFC returns to Houston this Saturday with the interim heavyweight championship on the line just months after a new king was crowned. And whenever you get two of the world’s best heavyweights in the octagon at the same time, you’re guaranteed to get fireworks.
Derrick Lewis and Cyril Gane will compete for the right to be called the best heavyweight in the world (at least until Francis Nnannou returns). Plus, an incredibly exciting fight will see two of the best welterweights the UFC has to offer face off against each other, and an all-time great will take on a bantamweight contender.
Welterweight fight: Michael Chiesa vs. Vicente Luque
Every once in a while a fight pops up and you know it will be exciting. It’s one of those fights. These two guys are on fire right now and are climbing up the welterweight rankings fast. Chiesa is one of the strongest pound-for-pound grapplers in the UFC and overwhelms his opponents with relentless pressure. He brings in an 18-4 record and a four-game winning streak, each of those wins being some of the best the division has ever seen. He’s going to want to use that grappling to get Luque here and win another big win.
It’s a lot easier said than done as Luque is incredibly dangerous on the pitch. He arrives with a 20-7 record, winning his most recent fight against former welterweight champion Tyron Woodley, whom he submitted with a brabo choke. In fact, it was Luque’s third victory via brabo starter and it becomes a bit of a signing for him. These submissive skills, combined with his powerful strike, make him a very dangerous opponent for Chiesa and anyone for that matter.
My choice: Chiesa via decision
Bantamweight fight: Jose Aldo vs. Pedro Munhoz
Anytime you get the chance to see one of the greatest fighters of all time in the Octagon, you must be excited. Jose Aldo is certainly one of the most accomplished UFC champions of all time and he is still a very effective fighter, even at the age of 34. With a 29-7 record, the infallible Hall of Fame player seeks back-to-back wins and a chance to make another run for a championship. He still has some of the most dangerous legs in the game and he’s going to want to keep Munhoz within reach here.
Munhoz is another of the best bantamweight in the game right now and is looking for streak wins as well. The US Top Team fighter will likely look to take Aldo to the ground to use his grappling here en route to improving his 19-5 record. If he can get into Aldo’s strike range and grab him, he can certainly control this fight. Of course, he’s going to have to go through a circular saw to get there.
My choice: Aldo via decision
Heavyweight Championship fight: Derrick Lewis vs. Cyril Gane
Just a few months ago, we witnessed Francis Ngannou’s long journey finally reaching a lead as he won the UFC Heavyweight Championship. Now, due to injury, he is unable to defend his crown and two of the division’s top contenders will face off for the interim title.
Cyril Gane’s young MMA career has been incredibly impressive. At 9-0, he dominated his opponents with his superior athleticism and very strong grappling. Most recently, he controlled perennial contender Alexander Volkov en route to a dominant decision victory. Now he’s going to have to use the same skills to negate Lewis’s enormous knockout power.
Lewis won’t make it easy. There are a few fighters in each division who can be considered a knockout artist and Lewis is definitely one of them. With a 25-7 record, he racked up 20 knockouts, including a brutal one against Curtis Blaydes in February. He’s going to have to keep Gane at bay and not let him use those wrestling skills. If he can do that, it will only take a good blow for Lewis to be crowned interim champion. The big question here is what happens when these two go into deep water.
My choice : Gane by KO in the 4th round
UFC 265 will be held on Saturday night, August 7 at 10 p.m. ET. Fighting fans can order pay per view via ESPN + and receive a special offer: $ 89.98 for UFC 265 and an ESPN + annual plan. ESPN + subscribers can order pay per view for $ 69.99.
Mike is a writer who has covered comics, theme park events, video game showcases, and other fun events. He is a fan of amusement parks, sports, movies, Marvel Comics and is a self-proclaimed “nerd”.