UFC 265 may not have an official title fight due to Amanda Nunes testing positive for COVID-19 but we still have a potentially explosive main event for the interim heavyweight championship. Derrick Lewis was originally supposed to fight current heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou but a variety of variables sidetracked that plan. So now, we have Ciryl Gane stepping in place of Ngannou to take on ‘the Black Beast’ Lewis. Lewis is coming off a hellacious knockout of top heavyweight Curtis Blaydes while also riding a 4-fight winning streak. Lewis may be on a winning streak but Gane is coming into this fight with a perfect 9-0 record with his last win coming against an experienced Alexander Volkov. Bantamweights are featured in the co-main event, including Jose Aldo fighting Pedro Munhoz in what will be a showdown between two top 10 bantamweights.
All odds are via Fanduel Sportsbook. Odds are subject to change*
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Results from last event:
Results in 2021
Derrick Lewis (+300) Vs Ciryl Gane (-400)
Will the fight go the distance? Yes (+140) or No (-176)
Abraham’s Pick: Yes
I believe this fight goes the distance only if Gane wins, for obvious reasons. Gane approaches his fights with a high fighting IQ; he won’t risk staying in the pocket for too long with a hard hitter like Lewis. His style may not be exciting but it sure is effective.
Drew’s Pick: Lewis
Hear me out. This is a bit of an emotional pick, but seeing Lewis win in his home city with a starching knockout would be electric. Gane is better rounded and athletic, but that knockout power from Lewis might be too much since all he needs is one clear shot. Plus, 3/1 on someone like Lewis is too juicy to avoid.
Johan’s Pick: Yes
If Ciryl Gane is able to implement his game plan, then it will be a long night this Saturday. Gane is one of the most patient fighters in the heavyweight division and he is in no rush to find his openings. I see Gane picking Lewis apart with his jab and lead leg kick for a unanimous decision victory.
Jose Aldo (-128) Vs Pedro Munhoz (+104)
How will the fight end?
Abraham’s Pick: Points
This fight is extremely hard to pick a winner. So, I’m going to go with points on this one. My reasoning is simple: both men are extremely durable and tough. Plus, it’s a three round fight. If this would be a five round affair then it would be a different story, considering Aldo’s recent history in championship fights.
Drew’s Pick: Munhoz
I hate picking this fight, but I am going with the fighter that is closer to their prime and has more to lose. Munhoz is on a path toward the belt, and a loss to Aldo would be a major setback. This is a tossup and should be a great fight, but Munhoz will probably take it by points.
Johan’s Pick: Aldo
This was the hardest fight to pick on the main card. On one side you have a fighter in Munhoz who is finding his stride even through his setbacks. But Aldo has been finding success at 135, and as the featherweight GOAT, it will be hard to pick against him. With this in mind, I have Aldo winning this one in a tough contest.
Michael Chiesa (+102) Vs Vicente Luque (-124)
Abraham’s Pick: Luque
Chiesa has looked phenomenal with his recent weight change. He has looked strong, lean, and in stupendous shape at 170 pounds. If he can get this to the ground consistently then he should be in a great position to ride out a win. However, Luque’s underrated grappling defense has me going with him as the favorite. Luque is levels above Chiesa on the feet and if his defense holds up for him to keep it standing, he’ll no doubt win a kickboxing match.
Drew’s Pick: Luque
This has a chance to be the best fight of the night. Both of these dudes are quick and can get it done fast. I’m riding with Luque as he can knock people out while defending the takedown very well.
Johan’s Pick: Chiesa
Chiesa has been on a roll since moving to welterweight. He has looked dominant in all of his fights and it seems like no one has an answer to his jiu-jitsu game. Luque is a beast, but I think that Chiesa’s confidence is at an all time high. Chiesa will be the next contender after Colby Covington and Leon Edwards.
Tecia Torres (-142) Vs Angela Hill (+116)
Abraham’s Pick: Torres
A big part of me wants to take the underdog, Angela Hill. She has improved so much inside the octagon and she continues getting better. However, I have to go with the strong wrestler Tecia Torres. Her ability to get this fight inside the clinch or on the ground is going to steal her those close rounds which will be the difference maker.
Drew’s Pick: Torres
I do not like picking against Hill because she is so likeable and is embarking on a newfound energy in her career, but I think Torres is simply the right pick to make. She is much younger and quicker, so Hill will be on the retreat for much of the fight. For the fight to go the distance is -340, which is not worth looking at, but I have Torres by decision.
Johan’s Pick: Torres
In a traditional striker vs grappler matchup, I see the grappler coming out on top in this contest. Torres has high level wrestling and although I am a fan of Hill and her fighting style, I do not believe she can withstand Torres’s ground game.
Song Yadong (-105) Vs Casey Kenny (-115)
Abraham’s Pick: Song Yadong
Yadong has had some recent brutal fights that have not gone exactly his way. I expect that to bring out some urgency in his attack. Considering he is only 23-years-old, the sky's the limit for this kid especially at a highly touted gym like Team Alpha Male. Expect to see something new in his arsenal against Casey Kenny.
Drew’s Pick: Kenney
This is another nightmare to pick, in my opinion. I love this matchup and anything could happen. However, Kenny is going to have the experience advantage, not in fights but in years in the sport, and this could play a huge factor when the matchups are so close. I will pick Kenney, but I am really here for a banger either way.
Johan’s Pick: Kenney
I love watching Yadong fight. He is a Team Alpha Male member and part of that influx of talent out of China, but Kenney is a tough puzzle to solve. Kenney went the distance with Dominick Cruz in a bout that could have gone either way. Kenney has a press forward style that could be the key to defeating Song. We should see fireworks in this bout with Kenney coming out on top.