UFC 265: Lewis vs Gane Predictions & Fight Picks

UFC 265: Lewis vs Gane Predictions

Derrick Lewis vs. Ciryl Gane

With heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou not quite ready to compete yet, the UFC somewhat controversially pressed on with this interim title bout instead, propelling Gane into the title mix.

Gane has certainly impressed during his UFC run so far, being something of a rare commodity in that he’s a very big yet still athletic heavyweight who also has well-rounded skills and good cardio to go along with it.

Despite his size, Gane is not necessarily the heaviest hitter around, perhaps in part because he is more technical and less reckless in his approach. He uses his speed and lengthy 81″ reach to his advantage, while measuring both his range and his pace intelligently, with a recent win over another well-versed striker in Alexander Volkov adding even more credibility to his stand-up credentials.

On the other side of the Octagon, Lewis has built his career off the fact that he is exceptionally heavy-handed, and while he may not look in as good shape as Gane and has appeared to run out of gas multiple times during his UFC run, he’s still remained a big threat until the final bell as he’s only ever one punch away from a finish and can cover ground deceptively fast for his size, even on the verge of exhaustion.

Though he’s had success with his striking, Gane also has good wrestling too and is even a submission threat, so that’s something Lewis will have to be wary of as he relies more on brute strength than technique when he’s on the mat.

Overall Gane seems to hold too many advantages here to count against him. An important factor is that he’s always mindful of his defensive responsibilities on the feet, and his ability to change things up by mixing in wrestling with his striking also bodes well for him here, and will only further accentuate the cardio advantage he holds over Lewis too. So I see him emerging with a comfortable decision victory here to become the interim champ.

Prediction: Ciryl Gane to win by decision.

Jose Aldo vs. Pedro Munhoz

The 34-year-old Aldo may no longer be in his prime, and indeed not so long ago was on a three-fight losing streak, but he did look sharp last time out during a unanimous decision win against Marlon Vera.

Now he’s going up against a tough challenger in Munhoz, who also had to shake off a couple of losses to top-flight opposition, and did so earlier in the year with a win on the scorecards against Jimmie Rivera.

On the feet these two have some similarities in that they have good power and make effective use of leg kicks. Aldo’s been less consistent with his low kick usage in recent years though despite how good he is with them, sometimes even appearing to shy away from it, while Munhoz has no such reservations.

Stil, technically Aldo is a level above with his sharp boxing, ability to counter and work effectively in the pocket, while he’ll also have the speed advantage as well as a significant 5″ in reach over his opponent, but Munhoz can point to his durability, having never been stopped in his career so far.

Munhoz also has found a significant amount of success via his submission game over the years, but while a blend of striking and grappling would usually be a sound strategy to get the edge over an opponent, in this case Aldo’s first-class takedown defence is likely to shut down that aspect of his game.

This has all the making of a close fight, but with his boxing ability, fight IQ and speed on the feet together with his strong takedown defense I’ll take Aldo to just edge this one out on the scorecards.

Prediction: Jose Aldo to win by decision.

Vicente Luque vs. Michael Chiesa

Stepping up to welterweight has proven to be a fantastic move for Chiesa as he’s looked better than ever during his four-fight winning streak there, propelling himself into the top 5 in the process, and now he’s heading into a big fight against Luque, who is only one place behind him after his own three-fight unbeaten stretch over the past year or so.

Luque is a violent man in the Octagon who brings plenty of power and aggression to his high offensive output, but to his credit is also technical too, not to mention the fact that he’s very durable and has never been finished by strikes in his career.

Not that being KO’d was ever a likely fate for Luque here anyway as that’s certainly not Chiesa’s strong suit. Indeed, Chiesa’s own striking is merely functional and a means to an end as he looks to get in close and work his stifling wrestling game, which is bolstered by his excellent cardio and significant submission threat.

However, this won’t be an easy fight for Chiesa in the grappling department as Luque has solid takedown defense and will actively seek for submissions from his back. Chiesa has been tapped out in the past, including back-to-back losses via submission in his last two bouts at lightweight, so that’s something he’ll have to be wary of.

Overall this is a very intriguing match-up, but one where I feel Chiesa’s relatively mediocre striking could cost him as Luque brings the kind of dynamic volume and power all-fight long that will cause him real problems, while not being easy to deal with on the mat either. So, I’ll go with Luque to secure another finishes via strikes here in the second round.

Prediction: Vicente Luque to win by TKO in Rd2.

Tecia Torres vs. Angela Hill

Torres comes into this fight after back-to-back wins against lesser known opposition following a four-fight losing streak against some of the division’s top competition. Meanwhile, Hill came out on the wrong end of a couple of split decision losses to Claudia Gadelha and Michelle Waterson, but won plaudits for her performances and has since secured a decision win against Ashley Yoder.

These two fought once before back in 2015 at a time when Hill was just three fights into her pro-career, and it was Torres who emerged victorious on that occasion via unanimous decision as she utilized her wrestling to grind out a relatively uneventful win.

Hill’s got a lot more experience under her belt now, but she is essentially still a high-paced, high-volume muay thai striker with good cardio and pressure, though she is quite hittable too.

Torres operates more on the outside despite being at a 2″ height and 4″ reach disadvantage, but is still active offensively and uses her speed and movement to make up for her lack of stopping power.

Torres wrestling is still likely be an important factor here, though Hill’s own defence has improved and she’s tried to round out her skill-set since their last meeting. Nonetheless, in an otherwise close match-up I do still feel that it’s Torres spells of control on the mat that will help her to claim a decision victory here.

Prediction: Tecia Torres to win by decision.

Song Yadong vs. Casey Kenney

Yadong’s six-fight unbeaten start to his UFC run ended in March with a unanimous decision loss to Kyler Phillips, while Kenney had gone 5-1 in his first six UFC fights before dropping a split decision to Dominick Cruz.

Yadong is primarily a striker, and a very good one at that with his fast, dynamic offensive combinations and good power for the bantamweight division making him a real handful to deal with.

Kenney isn’t as explosive or hard-hitting as Yadong, but he’s still comfortable in the stand-up and that enables him to pick his moments to work for takedowns, and his best work is often done on the mat. That being said, he’s not a big finisher either upright or grounded, and will instead look to control the action to win on the scorecards.

Yadong trains at Team alpha Male, so you know his own takedown defense and grappling is being tested frequently, but I still think Kenney could help wear him down with his wrestling, which will also help take away some of the potency in his striking, helping him pave the way for a decision win.

Prediction: Casey Kenney to win by decision.

UFC 265 Prelims

(Predicted winners in bold)

Rafael Fiziev vs. Bobby Green

Vince Morales vs. Drako Rodriguez

Ed Herman vs. Alonzo Menifield

Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs. Jessica Penne

Fight Pass Prelims

Manel Kape vs. Ode Osbourne

Miles Johns vs. Anderson dos Santos

Victoria Leonardo vs. Melissa Gatto

Johnny Munoz Jr vs. Jamey Simmons

Ross Cole
About the Author: Ross Cole

Ross Cole is one of the most prolific mixed martial arts writers in the world, having written more than 17,000 MMA news stories for MMA Insight, which he founded in 2009 as a way to channel his passion for the sport of mixed martial arts, and reaching millions of die-hard MMA fans in the process.
You can read more of Ross’s work at MMAInsight.com.

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