UFC 265 will take place at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas this weekend as hometown hero Derrick Lewis battles the highly touted Ciryl Gane for the interim heavyweight belt.
The co-main event features a top-10 bantamweight fight between former featherweight champion Jose Aldo and Pedro Munhoz. Elsewhere on the main card, top welterweight contenders Michael Chiesa and Vicente Luque fight for a place in the top-5, strawweights Tecia Torres and Angela Hill rematch, and bantamweight prospects Song Yadong and Casey Kenney take each other head-on.
Derrick Lewis vs Ciryl Gane
Despite the wide disparity in the talents of these two gentlemen, Lewis vs Gane can go either way, thanks to The Black Beast’s vicious knockout power. From a technical standpoint, Gane has the edge, but Lewis doesn’t care about technique or skill, he’s just there to knock people out, make money, and take the UFC title home.
That isn’t to say that Lewis doesn’t have any skills. Although he jokingly says that he has no talents, Lewis is a special athlete. He’s not as fast and agile as Gane, but his ability to exploit his opponents’ weaknesses is second to none, and his timing is impeccable. That is why he jointly holds the record for the most knockouts in UFC history (12).
That being said, Gane is clearly the superior fighter as far as pure skills are concerned. His striking is elite, his movement and angles are flawless and he’s a very fine grappler. Lewis will have his work cut out for the majority of the fight, but he will throw leather whenever he finds an opening, and if the Frenchman isn’t careful, it will be curtains for him.
Jose Aldo vs Pedro Munhoz
Sorry for the spoiler, but Jose Aldo vs Pedro Munhoz is going to be an absolute war. The all Brazilian contest between two very well-rounded athletes, with similar skill sets guarantees a fun fight.
Aldo is an excellent striker, who is famous for his vicious leg kicks, but he’s a world-class grappler as well. Munhoz is primarily a grappler, but his boxing is crisp and he relies heavily on calf kicks as well. Against Aldo, who is a Muay Thai specialist, his kicks may not work, however. Aldo will also enjoy a significant reach advantage, which will force Munhoz into taking some risks in order to close the distance.
The King of Rio will try and use his reach advantage to attack his opponent’s legs early on in the fight, unsettle him and then pile up damage. Munhoz should pressure Aldo right from the word go and put him in uncomfortable positions if he’s to win this fight. Aldo’s cardio has been a problem for him in the past, so Munhoz should try to exploit the holes in his game.
Michael Chiesa vs Vicente Luque
Michael Chiesa vs Vicente Luque is a classic grappler vs striker fight, which could go either way, depending on who executes his game plan better. Luque is a relentless striker, who lands nearly six significant strikes per minute, while Chiesa is a relentless grappler, who averages nearly 4 takedowns per fight.
Luque will try to keep the fight standing because that’s where he feels the most comfortable, while Chiesa will try to take it to the mat. Whichever of the two gentlemen succeeds in implementing their game plan will take the win home. Luque does have a very sneaky submission game, however, so he has a slight edge heading into UFC 265.
Tecia Torres vs Angela Hill
Tecia Torres won the first encounter against Angela Hill by unanimous decision in 2015, and she will be looking to repeat history at UFC 265. But Hill is tough as nails.
Torres is a very explosive fighter, who’s good everywhere, and has cardio for days. She does a great job of mixing her strikes up, with jabs, low kicks, high kicks, and occasional superwoman punches. Torres is also a very explosive wrestler and will have the edge in the department against Hill, who comes from a Muay Thai background, and has excellent movement, angles, and boxing.
Don’t let her record fool you, Hill is a game opponent and she always puts up a fight. Torres vs Hill is another matchup to keep an eye on.
Song Yadong vs Casey Kenney
Both Song Yadong and Casey Kenney are surging prospects looking to break into the top 15. Both are coming off decision losses and will be looking to rebound at UFC 265.
Yadong is a very explosive striker, who has excellent timing, but he does get carried away with bagging knockouts, which would allow Kenney openings to take him down and neutralize his threat on the feet. Make no mistake about it, Kenney can crack, but he will be better off using his wrestling as a polished striker like Yadong.
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