UFC 265 viewers information: Knockout artist Derrick Lewis will get second probability at UFC gold

MMA

Issues are altering within the UFC’s heavyweight division. Over the previous 10 years, the load class has revolved round a handful of acquainted names — comparatively older names at that. For a very long time, this small assortment of veterans held off the up-and-comers and battled for the UFC championship amongst themselves.

That group, nevertheless, has been dissolved. Cain Velasquez retired in 2019. Junior dos Santos, Alistair Overeem, Fabricio Werdum — they’ve all departed from the UFC. Daniel Cormier made his closing stroll final 12 months. Stipe Miocic continues to be energetic and really a lot related, however for the way lengthy? He turns 39 later this month.

That is fairly the graduating class. Over the previous 10 years, no less than a kind of six names has been included in each single heavyweight title struggle within the UFC.

Saturday’s UFC 265 interim title struggle between Derrick Lewis (25-7) and Ciryl Gane (9-0) in Houston is, on the very least, a step in figuring out what the subsequent heavyweight period will appear to be. A method or one other, a brand new class of heavyweights has to interchange the previous one.

For the second, Gane is the UFC’s mannequin of latest heavyweight blood. He is 31, with a professional document that does not even include double digits (9-0). He is expert and athletic, and was born and raised in France — a market the UFC is keen on growing. If Gane turns into an (interim) UFC champion on Saturday, he may have arrived forward of schedule.

Lewis, 36, is not new to the scene — in actual fact, he is tied for essentially the most knockouts in UFC historical past, with 12. But when he wins a title, it will likely be an underdog story. Few would have guessed he’d be right here two years in the past, when he suffered back-to-back losses and was tasked with constructing an prolonged win streak to climb again to the highest.

After all, looming over this weekend’s interim title struggle is undisputed champion Francis Ngannou, whose title reign has solely begun. And past that, there’s the eventual heavyweight debut of longtime gentle heavyweight king Jon Jones. That is anticipated to happen in 2022.

Frankly, it nonetheless feels bizarre to debate this division minus the handful of names that carried it for therefore lengthy. However that is, with out query, a brand new model of the UFC’s heavyweight division. And the results of UFC 265 will go a good distance in shaping it.

Purchase UFC 265 on ESPN+ PPV


By the numbers

16: Variety of heavyweight wins in UFC historical past for Derrick Lewis, tied for second all time with Frank Mir.

22: UFC fights for Lewis. If he wins the title, he can be tied with Dustin Poirier for the third-most fights to win a UFC championship.

6: Wins to begin Ciryl Gane’s UFC profession. Gane has an general document of 9-0 and will turn into the sixth heavyweight in UFC historical past to win an undisputed or interim championship with out struggling a loss in MMA competitors. Cain Velasquez was the final to do it, in 2010

54.6%: Ciryl Gane’s vital strike accuracy proportion. He has outlanded his opponents 470-238 within the UFC.

84%: The end price of Derrick Lewis — 21 finishes in 25 fights (20 by KO, one by submission)

Sources: ESPN Stats & Data and UFC Stats

5 vs. 5

Ciryl Gane’s most up-to-date outcomes
Win: Alexander Volkov (UD, June 26, 2021; watch on ESPN+)
Win: Jairzinho Rozenstruik (UD, Feb. 27, 2021; watch on ESPN+)
Win: Junior dos Santos (TKO2, Dec. 12, 2020; watch on ESPN+)
Win: Tanner Boser (UD, Dec. 21, 2019; watch on ESPN+)
Win: Don’Story Mayes (SUB3, Oct. 26, 2019; watch on ESPN+)

Derrick Lewis’ most up-to-date outcomes
Win: Curtis Blaydes (TKO2, Feb. 20, 2021; watch on ESPN+)
Win: Aleksei Oleinik (TKO2, Aug. 8, 2020; watch on ESPN+)
Win: Ilir Latifi (UD, Feb. 8, 2020; watch on ESPN+)
Win: Blagoy Ivanov (SD, Nov. 2, 2019; watch on ESPN+)
Loss: Junior dos Santos (TKO2, March 9, 2019; watch on ESPN+)

Keys to victory …

Dominick Cruz and Gilbert Melendez break down the struggle on Unlocking Victory.

And the winner is …

“I believe on this one Derrick simply must maintain his again off the cage,” stated Eric Nicksick, Xtreme Couture MMA coach. “He tends to let individuals dictate the geography, and that is what places him in essentially the most quantity of bother, and Gane goes to try to dictate the vary. [But] Derrick has gotten higher at that, and he is extra snug when he does it. He is blended in plenty of his energy photographs with what we name over-unders — overhands and uppercuts. I like the range that he is throwing with the ability hand facet.”

Take a look at how Nicksick and different consultants break down the main event and predict a winner.


Learn how to watch the fights

Watch the PPV and all different fights on ESPN+. Get ESPN+ here.

Watch the prelims and early prelims on ESPN and ESPN+. Download the ESPN App | WatchESPN | TV schedule

Haven’t got ESPN? Get instant access.

Bought the struggle in your telephone and wish to stream in your TV? Find out how here.

There’s additionally FightCenter, which gives reside updates for each UFC card.


Saturday’s struggle card

ESPN+ PPV, 10 p.m. ET
Interim heavyweight title struggle: Derrick Lewis vs. Ciryl Gane
Males’s bantamweight: Jose Aldo vs. Pedro Munhoz
Welterweight: Michael Chiesa vs. Vicente Luque
Strawweight: Tecia Torres vs. Angela Hill
Males’s bantamweight: Song Yadong vs. Casey Kenney

ESPN/ESPN+, 8 p.m. ET
Light-weight: Bobby Green vs. Rafael Fiziev
Males’s bantamweight: Vince Morales vs. Drako Rodriguez
Mild heavyweight: Alonzo Menifield vs. Ed Herman
Strawweight: Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs. Jessica Penne

ESPN/ESPN+, 6 p.m. ET
Males’s flyweight: Manel Kape vs. Ode’ Osbourne
Males’s bantamweight: Miles Johns vs. Anderson dos Santos
Girls’s flyweight: Victoria Leonardo vs. Melissa Gatto
Males’s bantamweight: Johnny Munoz vs. Jamey Simmons


4 extra issues to know (from ESPN Stats & Data)

1. Former featherweight champion Jose Aldo picked up his first win at bantamweight in December and now appears to be like to make it two in a row when he faces Pedro Munhoz within the UFC 265 co-main occasion. Munhoz snapped a two-fight shedding streak in February and seeks consecutive wins for the primary time since 2019.

2. Michael Chiesa is undefeated since shifting to welterweight, going 4-0 whereas shifting up the rankings to No. 5. He’ll tackle welterweight veteran Vicente Luque, who has completed his final three fights and 12 within the UFC, second most in division historical past.

3. The Tecia TorresAngela Hill strawweight bout is a rematch of a June 2015 bout at UFC 188 that Torres received by unanimous resolution. “The Tiny Twister” has received two straight, whereas Hill snapped a two-fight shedding streak in March

4. China’s Song Yadong appears to be like to get again on observe after his nine-fight unbeaten streak was snapped in March at UFC 259. He’ll face Casey Kenney, who misplaced on that card to Dominick Cruz, snapping his three-fight profitable streak.

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