Derrick Lewis will have the support of his home state when facing Ciryl Gane in the main event of UFC 265 on Saturday night. The winner of the headlining bout from the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, USA, will be crowned the interim UFC Heavyweight Champion, setting them up for a fight against current champ Francis Ngannou sometime down the line.
Here’s a full preview of that fight, and the entire evening of bouts expected to happen at UFC 265.
Early Prelims (6:00PM EDT / 5:00PM CDT) (UFC Fight Pass)
Bout 1: Johnny Munoz (10-1) vs. Jamey Simmons (7-3) (Bantamweight)
Bantamweights Johnny Munoz and Jamey Simmons will both look for their first UFC win in the opening fight of the card.
Munoz made his UFC debut just over a year ago, where he lost a unanimous decision to Nate Maness. He joined the promotion after an undefeated 10-fight run on the regional scene from 2015 to 2019.
Simmons lost his UFC debut in the fall, getting stopped within a round by Giga Chikadze.
This fight was originally set to happen in April, but the matchup had to be moved ahead after Simmons suffered an injury.
Bout 2: Victoria Leonardo (8-3) vs. Melissa Gatto (6-0-2) (Flyweight)
Undefeated flyweight Melissa Gatto will make her long-awaited UFC debut on the prelims when facing Victoria Leonardo.
Gatto signed to the UFC in 2019, although injuries, a one-year USADA suspension, and more have kept her out of the cage this entire time. Luckily for her, she is still only 25 and is entering the promotion with a record that doesn’t have any losses.
Leonardo, an Invicta FC vet, lost her UFC debut earlier this year to Manon Fiorot.
Bout 3: Miles Johns (11-1) vs. Anderson dos Santos (21-8) (Bantamweight)
Bantamweights Miles Johns and Anderson dos Santos will meet on Saturday’s prelims.
Dos Santos scored his first UFC win late last year, stopping Martin Day within a round with a guillotine choke. The win was his first victory since 2018, as his two previous UFC fights were in 2019 and 2018 respectively.
Johns scored a stoppage victory in his last showing, catching LFA alum Kevin Natividad in the third round of a bout in October. The bout moved his promotional record to two wins and one loss.
Johns and dos Santos were originally scheduled to meet in July but were moved to UFC 265 due to COVID-19 protocol.
Bout 4: Manel Kape (15-6) vs. Ode Osbourne (9-3) (Flyweight)
Former RIZIN Bantamweight Champion Manel Kape might be in a must-win position when he faces Ode Osbourne on Saturday night. Kape has lost two fights since joining the UFC roster, dropping a unanimous decision to Alexandre Pantoja and a controversial split decision to Matheus Nicolau.
To make things worse, Kape missed weight for his upcoming fight by three pounds on Friday.
Osbourne is appearing after scoring a quick 26-second knockout win against Jerome Rivera earlier this year.
Preliminary Card (8:00PM EDT / 7:00PM CDT) (ESPN2 / TSN 5)
Bout 5: Karolina Kowalkiewicz (12-6) vs. Jessica Penne (13-5) (Strawweight)
Karolina Kowalkiewicz will attempt to break a four-fight losing streak when facing Jessica Penne.
Kowalkiewicz, a former title challenger, has been on the losing side of things since 2018. She has been out of the cage for over a year now, with her last fight being a loss to Yan Xiaonan in early 2020.
Penne is coming back just months after her return. Penne made her first appearance in nearly four years earlier this year, breaking a three-fight losing streak with a split decision win against Loopy Godinez. She had been out of the cage for many years due to injuries and a long battle with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.
Bout 6: Ed Herman (25-14) vs. Alonzo Menifield (10-2) (Light Heavyweight)
Alonzo Menifield will face veteran Ed Herman on Saturday’s prelims.
Herman is on his strongest streak of wins since 2012, as he has come up successful in his past three fights. His last fight was in September, where he secured a kimura submission on Mike Rodriguez.
Menifield broke a two-fight skid in his last showing, defeating short-notice opponent Fabio Cherant in just over a minute with a von flue choke.
Bout 7: Drako Rodriguez (7-2) vs. Vince Morales (9-5) (Bantamweight)
Bantamweights Drako Rodriguez and Vince Morales will fight to get back into the win column tonight.
Rodriguez had his UFC debut spoiled by Aiemann Zahabi earlier this year. The Tristar Gym fighter pulled off an upset win in the matchup, finishing Rodriguez in the fourth minute with strikes.
Rodriguez was joining the UFC after a submission win on “Dana White’s Contender Series” last year.
Morales is currently on a two-fight losing streak that includes losses to Benito Lopez and Chris Gutierrez.
Bout 8: Rafael Fiziev (9-1) vs. Bobby Green (27-11-1) (Lightweight)
Rising lightweight Rafael Fiziev will get a big test when fighting veteran Bobby Green in the final preliminary fight of the card.
Fiziev has an impressive record of nine wins and one loss. While he lost his UFC debut in 2019, he has since secured a trio of victories. His last outing was his first UFC stoppage win, where he defeated Renato Moicano in the first round with strikes.
Green is coming back after an incredibly active 2020. The UFC veteran of eight years scored three wins last year, although that momentum was broken in October when he lost to Thiago Moises.
Main Card (10:00PM EDT / 9:00PM CDT) (PPV)
Bout 9: Song Yadong (16-5-1) vs. Casey Kenney (16-3-1) (Bantamweight)
Both looking to come back after being on the losing side of a decision in their last appearance, Song Yadong and Casey Kenney will open the main card.
Song took his first UFC loss earlier this year when he went to a unanimous decision against Kyler Phillips. The win ended what was a flawless campaign in the UFC from 2017 to 2020, having previously earned five wins and one draw.
Kenney lost to former UFC champion Dominick Cruz earlier this year via split decision. The bout was a loss for Kenney after 2020, a year where he strung together three straight wins.
Bout 10: Tecia Torres (12-5) vs. Angela Hill (13-9) (Strawweight)
Facing each other for the second time in their career, strawweights Tecia Torres and Angela Hill will clash on Saturday.
Torres and Hill first met back in 2015 at UFC 188. The fight was the second UFC appearance for both fighters. Torres prevailed on that day, winning a unanimous decision to extend what was an undefeated record at the time.
This time around, both fighters are coming off small win streaks. Torres scored two victories last year, defeating Brianna Van Buren and short-notice opponent Sam Hughes. That success was a necessary turnaround for her after losing four straight fights before then.
Hill broke a two-fight skid earlier this year with a dominant decision win over Ashley Yoder.
Hill and Torres were originally scheduled to meet in December, although that iteration of the fight was later cancelled due to a positive COVID-19 test.
Bout 11: Vicente Luque (20-7-1) vs. Michael Chiesa (17-4) (Welterweight)
Rising welterweights Vicente Luque and Michael Chiesa will collide during the main card.
Chiesa is on a strong four-fight win streak at the moment. He earned his first five-round UFC win earlier this year, cruising to a decision victory against Neil Magny.
Luque has won his last three. His most notable victory was also his most recent, which came against former UFC Welterweight Champion Tyron Woodley in March.
Bout 12: Jose Aldo (29-7) vs. Pedro Munhoz (19-5) (Bantamweight)
Former UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo will get a tough opponent in the co-main event when facing Pedro Munhoz.
Aldo has seemingly never gotten a break in his schedule, always getting the toughest opponents in his fights. Aldo finished his 2020 with a win in December, defeating Marlon Vera via unanimous decision. The fight broke a three-fight skid that included a title fight loss he took to Petr Yan at UFC 251.
Similarly, Munhoz concluded a losing streak in his prior appearance as well. He avenged a 2015 loss in his last fight, defeating Jimmie Rivera in February. His previous losses were against former champ Frankie Edgar and current bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling.
Bout 13: Derrick Lewis (25-7) vs. Ciryl Gane (9-0) (Vacant Interim UFC Heavyweight Championship)
In a fight that could determine the next challenger for current UFC Heavyweight Champion Francis Ngannou, Derrick Lewis will meet undefeated Ciryl Gane in the main event of UFC 265.
This fight caused a mixed reaction when it was initially announced. Many questioned why this fight was made as an interim title bout when current champion Ngannou isn’t sidelined for any reason.
Nonetheless, the matchup is one of the best that can be made in the heavyweight division.
Gane has quickly ascended up the heavyweight rankings, having scored six wins in the UFC since joining the roster in 2019. His promotional run started dominant, as he earned three stoppage wins in four fights.
Gane put on dominant performances in his past two fights, going five rounds against strong heavyweight contenders Jairzinho Rozenstruick and Alexander Volkov this year. The title fight on Saturday for Gane is coming just over a month after his last appearance in the cage.
Lewis is back in the title picture, albeit an interim one, for the first time since 2018. His last title fight came against Daniel Cormier, who was able to submit him in the second round. Now three years later he gets another crack at a belt.
Lewis is in the title picture due to a four-fight win streak of victories he has scored over the past three years. Most notably, he has scored finish wins in his past two main event fights.
Lewis scored an upset win in his last fight, knocking out fellow contender Curtis Blaydes in the second round with a perfectly-timed uppercut. The previous main event bout saw him win against veteran Aleksei Oleinik last year, stopping him in the second round with strikes.