Francis Ngannou is still the UFC Heavyweight Championship title holder. However, the interim UFC Heavyweight Championship will be on the line at UFC 265 this weekend when Derrick Lewis takes on Ciryl Gane. One of those two heavyweights is likely to get a shot at the belt soon, and the winner could get an opportunity to face Ngannou later this year if the rumored mega-fight between Ngannou and Jon Jones fails to materialize. This card was also supposed to feature the best female fighter in the UFC, but Amanda Nunes had to withdraw from UFC 265 last week after contracting COVID.
UFC 265 is scheduled for Saturday, August 7, 2021. This promotion will be held at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, so Lewis will have the crowd at his back since he resides in nearby Cypress. The prelims will start at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN or ESPN+, while the main event will be available via PPV at 10 p.m. ET.
Lewis vs. Gane
Derrick Lewis is the more familiar name to UFC fans, but Ciryl Gane is the fighter to beat in the eyes of the oddsmakers. Gane has only taken part in nine professional MMA fights and just six fights in the UFC, but he has been incredibly impressive in those bouts and is far from raw or inexperienced.
Prior to stepping into the Octagon, Gane was an accomplished Muay Thai fighter. Gane was a national champion in France and racked up a 13-0 record with nine knockouts in the discipline. He joined the UFC in 2019 after winning and defending the TKO Heavyweight Championship twice in three fights in that promotion, and he has three submissions, three knockouts, and three unanimous decision victories as an MMA fighter.
Lewis challenged for the UFC Heavyweight Championship at UFC 230 less than three years ago. He was submitted in the second round by Daniel Cormier, and he lost his next fight to Junior dos Santos by second-round TKO. However, he has won four straight bouts since that defeat and has knocked out his opponent in 20 of his 25 victories.
Aldo vs. Munhoz
Former UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo was the class of the division early last decade. Aldo was the inaugural champion in November 2010, and he successfully defended that title seven times during his record 1,848 days as the belt holder. However, he has lost five of his last eight fights, and his move to bantamweight did not pay the dividends he was hoping for after losses to Marlon Moraes and Petr Yan. Aldo did secure a unanimous decision victory over Marlon Vera last December though.
Pedro Munhoz has lost two of his last three fights. He is an exciting fighter as three of his last four fights ended in Fight of the Night bonuses being awarded, and the only convincing loss of his career came at the hands of current champion Aljamain Sterling. All of his losses have come by decision, but he has the power and grappling skill needed to end a fight inside the distance.
Chiesa vs. Luque
Michael Chiesa is a submission specialist that has racked up some impressive victories. He has yet to win a fight by knockout, but 11 of his 18 career wins have been via submission. Chiesa is on a four-match winning streak ahead of this bout with impressive wins over Rafael dos Anjos and Neil Magny in his last two fights.
The Silent Assassin has lived up to his nickname over the course of his UFC career. Vicente Luque has finished his opponent within the distance in 18 of his 20 victories, and he has a significant amount of power. Luque showed he has some ground skills with his submission win over Tyron Woodley at UFC 260, but he will want to stand and fight in this one.