UFC is back this Saturday night with UFC 265 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. The card features an interim heavyweight title fight as the headliner, with undefeated Ciryl Gane facing off against hometown hero Derrick Lewis. The main event should be a great fight as long as it lasts, along with four other main-card bouts.
With @MMAdamMartin we preview the five UFC 265 main card bouts below as we take a deeper dive into this weekend’s stacked card.
Ciryl Gane vs. Derrick Lewis - Heavyweight (five rounds)
Ciryl Gane to win 1.27: An emerging threat to UFC heavyweight champ and former training partner Francis Ngannou, Gane has taken the UFC by storm since entering the promotion two years ago. The Frenchman is a perfect 6-0 in the Octagon and has looked better every time he steps into the cage. In the UFC, Gane has defeated fighters such as Alexander Volkov, Junior dos Santos and Jairzinho Rozenstruik. He’s an incredible striker on the feet with volume, technique and power, and he also has a solid ground game, which makes him truly unique. Against Lewis, look for Gane to mix in his striking and wrestling to get the job done.
Derrick Lewis to win 3.98: Known as “The Black Beast,” Lewis is one of the most powerful knockout artists ever seen in MMA. Coming off of four straight wins, including a massive KO upset win over Curtis Blaydes in his last outing, Lewis is quickly closing in on the UFC heavyweight title. For a fighter who has been in the promotion for over seven years, he is truly fighting at an elite level now. Over the years Lewis has defeated the likes of Francis Ngannou, which shows he can compete with anyone. Historically a slow starter with defensive wrestling and cardio issues, Lewis has improved those aspects of his game as of late as he’s turning into a more well-rounded MMA fighter. Is he good enough to be the champ? We’ll find out on Saturday.
Total rounds: The Over/Under has been set at 4.5 rounds - a rarity for a heavyweight title fight, most of which end inside the distance. That said, I get it, because Gane has won his last two fights against Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Alexander Volkov by decision, so a lot of people think that’s how he’ll beat Lewis. Thing is, Lewis has only gone the distance six times in 33 pro MMA fights, and he’s actually only lost two decisions in his career. Meanwhile, he’s been knocked out four times. I think Gane’s finishing abilities are being undersold in this total as I believe he can finish the fight - so there’s more value on the Under here.
Betting tips: Ciryl Gane/Under 4.5 rounds.
Jose Aldo vs. Pedro Munhoz - Bantamweight
The co-main event features Brazilian bantamweights Jose Aldo and Pedro Munhoz going at it for three rounds or less. This is going to be a phenomenal fight, as Aldo and Munhoz are both elite fighters at 135lbs today.
Jose Aldo to win: 1.91
Pedro Munhoz to win: 1.98
Aldo is coming off a big win over Marlon Vera, while Munhoz beat Jimmie Rivera in a standup war. It should be a fantastic fight for as long as it lasts - and picking a winner is not easy.
I’m really high on Munhoz and love the improvements that he’s made in his striking over the years, and I do think he can win this fight.
But at the same time, you can’t ignore how good Aldo is on the feet. He’s world class, and if this fight is going to stay contested on the feet - as I expect - I have to go with the guy who has proven himself for over a decade as one of the best strikers in MMA.
Total rounds: The total rounds has been set at 2.5 rounds, and I see this going the distance… with Aldo edging out a close decision on the judges’ scorecards in a wild fight.
Betting tips: Jose Aldo/Over 2.5 rounds.
Vicente Luque vs. Michael Chiesa - Welterweight
One of the most intriguing fights on the card features welterweights Vicente Luque and Michael Chiesa. Although Luque is a capable submission artist, this is essentially a striker vs. grappler match-up, with Luque the striker and Chiesa the grappler.
Vicente Luque to win: 1.88
Michael Chiesa to win: 2.02
Luque is going to want to keep this fight standing for as long as he can and batter Chiesa on the feet, while I expect Chiesa to shoot early and often for takedowns. Whoever is able to get the fight into their world is going to get their hand raised, and I’m leaning towards Chiesa.
Since moving up to 170lbs, Chiesa has been utterly dominant with his grappling as he’s beaten Neil Magny, Rafael dos Anjos, Carlos Condit and Diego Sanchez - dominating them all with his grappling. While Chiesa’s striking technique is still a work in progress, anytime he is able to get his opponents to the floor he can grind them out and out-wrestle them. As good as Luque is, the one concern is his 65% takedown defense, which is not a good number.
Although I do think Luque has improved his wrestling chops over the years, I’m not convinced it will be enough to thwart Chiesa’s takedowns.
Total rounds: This fight has been set at 2.5 rounds - give me Chiesa to win by decision.
Betting tips: Michael Chiesa/Over 2.5 rounds.
Money talks - Probability vs The Action
By Cloudbet staff
Cloudbet's proprietary Money Talks offers a direct representation of the odds on an event (the Probability line) and of the action taken so far by Cloudbet - shown by the Money Talks line. It's important to realise that the Money Talks line represents the number of bets taken, not the amount taken from bets so far.
The result - we can immediately see if bettors are toeing the odds-implied favoured outcome or not. So what does the action taken by Cloudbet so far say about this UFC line-up?
Gane vs Lewis: In the main event, Derrick Lewis is seen by the odds as quite a serious underdog.... but he's attracted significantly more action than Gane. It looks as if, at least in the minds of Cloudbet bettors, that there may well be some value to be found in them there odds.
Aldo vs Munhoz: In the co-main event, the odds are tight between the two fighters - at 1.91 to 1.98, there's really not a lot in it at all. Yet the action so far weighs heavily in Aldo's favour. Maybe there are a lot of people out there who share the view expressed above. As good as Munhoz may be, does he really have enough to get past Aldo?
Luque vs Chiesa: The odds on each fighter to win are also tight in this match up, at 1.88 to 2.02 and the difference between the two lines here isn't as stark as in the other two fights. Still, Chiesa to win pays more, suggesting Luque is slightly favoured - but the action seen so far has definitely been placed in Chiesa's favour.
Tecia Torres vs. Angela Hill - Strawweight
A rematch between Tecia Torres and Angela Hill, having first fought at UFC 188 in 2015, with Torres winning by a unanimous decision. Like many fights in the women’s 115lbs division, there is a good chance this goes the distance and is close on the judges’ scorecards just due to the nature of this weight class. Ultimately, I expect a standup fight that comes down to who is the more effective striker in the eyes of the three cage-side judges.
Tecia Torres to win: 1.77
Angela Hill to win: 2.17
The first time these two met, it was a close fight that Torres edged because she was slightly more effective on her feet, and also landed several takedowns. Hill has improved her wrestling in the years since then, but Torres is overall the more well-rounded mixed martial artist. If she is able to mix in her grappling with her wrestling, Torres should have her hand raised by decision. There have been some sketchy judges’ decisions recently, but ultimately Torres should do enough to convince them. The total rounds has been set at 2.5.
Betting tips: Tecia Torres/Over 2.5 rounds.
Casey Kenney vs. Song Yadong - Bantamweight
Kicking off the main card is a bantamweight bout between Casey Kenney and Song Yadong. I love this matchup and believe it will be one of the most exciting fights on the card as both fighters prefer to stand and trade.
Casey Kenney to win: 1.93
Song Yadong to win: 1.97
Of course, they have very different striking styles. Kenney likes to win his fights on volume by utilizing his punches and kicks, whereas Yadong is more of a knockout artist who relies on his hands, but who can also mix in some wrestling from time-to-time when needed, making this a very intriguing matchup.
This is going to be a very competitive fight - again, with the tight odds suggesting the same - but I slightly favor Kenney as his volume is likely to swing the judges his way. This should be an awesome matchup and the winner of the fight is certainly going to be a player at 135lbs in the future. It’s always tough to pick a fight when you really like both guys, but I’m slightly higher on Kenney right now and I’m going to pick him to win a competitive decision.
Betting tips: Casey Kenney/Over 2.5 rounds.