UFC 265 takeaways: Gane’s victory over Lewis is way larger than only a title

MMA

Ciryl Gane dominated Derrick Lewis to win the UFC interim heavyweight title at UFC 265. There was no huge punch or comeback second from Lewis this time round as Gane dictated each second of the struggle. Now Gane is about as much as face Francis Ngannou for the undisputed title.

Gane is the UFC’s first French-born champion, and he and Ngannou skilled collectively for a time on the MMA Manufacturing facility in Paris. The UFC is raring to debut in France, which legalized MMA final 12 months, and whether or not or not that debut will embody a heavyweight unification bout, the actual fact there’s a French-born champion is a crucial improvement for the promotion.

Previous to the principle occasion, Jose Aldo returned to the Octagon with hopes of proving he belongs within the dialogue of the perfect bantamweights within the UFC. The 2-time former featherweight champion confirmed spectacular boxing and persistence as he defeated Pedro Munhoz by unanimous determination, and whereas he’s nonetheless not less than a struggle or two away from one other title alternative, he is starting to construct some momentum with back-to-back wins after a three-fight shedding streak.

Vicente Luque can be making a case at welterweight after an exhilarating submission victory over Michael Chiesa, and Rafael Fiziev confirmed coronary heart in his newest win over Bobby Green. What does the longer term appear to be for every?

Marc Raimondi, Brett Okamoto, Phil Murphy and Carlos Contreras Legaspi react to a giant night time of fights in Houston.

Gane with gold is boon for UFC’s international plans

Raimondi: The UFC lobbied to get MMA legalized in France for greater than a decade and actually ramped up efforts there 4 years in the past. Lastly, the game was permitted in France in 2020 and the UFC plans on holding a number of occasions there per 12 months, UFC COO Lawrence Epstein informed ESPN final month.

What higher strategy to debut in France — which the UFC has pegged as a red-hot market — than with a French-born fighter holding a UFC title?

Gane was dominant, ending Lewis within the third spherical by way of TKO after placing on a clinic the whole method. On a person stage, it is an unimaginable story. Gane solely began coaching in MMA three years in the past — he fought in Muay Thai for 2 years earlier than that — and now he is among the best heavyweights on the earth, queued as much as struggle for the undisputed belt towards his former teammate Ngannou.

For the UFC, although, Gane’s win is extraordinarily significant for its enterprise. The UFC was already prepping to go to France with a card as quickly as COVID-19 restrictions are lessened. Now, the promotion can probably do this with Gane headlining — or, even higher, Ngannou vs. Gane for the heavyweight title in a battle of fighters who got here up coaching collectively in Paris.

One of the keys to the UFC’s expansion efforts is hometown heroes. Gane’s rise couldn’t have come at a greater time.

“Every part in life is about timing,” UFC president Dana White mentioned within the postfight press convention. “This child turns into the heavyweight champion tonight. We labored lengthy and laborious and spent some huge cash to get France accomplished. And right here we’re.”

Gane is barely 31 years outdated and simply accomplished his tenth profession struggle. It doesn’t matter what occurs between him and Ngannou, “Bon Gamin” is not going anyplace. He’ll be a serious cog in that heavyweight division for a very long time. Credit score should go to Gane’s coach Fernand Lopez of the MMA Manufacturing facility, who additionally constructed Ngannou right into a UFC heavyweight title contender in an analogous time frame. Absolutely, there are others in France proper now seeing what Ngannou and Gane have been capable of do and eager to strive their fingers at MMA.

In Gane, the UFC now has a ready-made star to showcase in France when it needs to go there, very similar to Alexander Gustafsson as soon as was in Sweden. The UFC packed 30,000 folks right into a Swedish stadium to observe Gustafsson towards Anthony Johnson again in 2015. There may very well be related large fights like that for Gane in his house nation.

“Because the NFL tries to develop its fanbase in France, for instance, they want some French athletes,” Epstein informed ESPN in reference to the hometown hero concept. “That is powerful. Now we have a very sturdy benefit in that house with athletes from everywhere in the world.”

So far as France goes, UFC execs actually consider, based mostly on analytics, that it has an opportunity to be one among its most necessary worldwide markets. For one, followers there have by no means been to an MMA occasion — it was unlawful. France additionally has an amazing historical past in martial arts, particularly judo and karate. Per the UFC, France has the second-most followers on the UFCEurope Fb web page. The one area with extra is the UK, which has hosted UFC occasions for 20 years.

Epstein mentioned the UFC does not simply need to maintain occasions in Paris, both. There are plans to run occasions in a number of elements of the nation as quickly because it’s logistically potential.

All of the elements are in place, and with Gane’s surge, the sky may very well be the restrict.


Aldo title shot aspirations have extra life than we thought

Murphy: Following an eerily quiet struggle build-up for the King of Rio, Aldo proved there could be some magic left within the former pound-for-pound king. His sweep of countryman Munhoz was comfortably the perfect Aldo has seemed in his 4 bantamweight appearances. It is believable to credit score better consolation along with his weight reduce, time spent with the Brazilian Navy boxing or simply profession twilight desperation because the clock ticks down, however Aldo picked an excellent night time to have an excellent night time.

You possibly can confuse Saturday’s placing exhibition with any of Aldo’s title defenses in his prime. Aldo’s 114 important strikes landed are a career-high in his 26 UFC/WEC appearances — and that features five-round fights. That is a staggering stat. Apart from bantamweight champ Aljamain Sterling and certain title challenger Petr Yan, the one higher-ranked fighters at 135 kilos are TJ Dillashaw, Cory Sandhagen and Rob Font — an inventory which can shrink with the following ballot. Take your choose: any struggle pairing amongst these has No. 1 contender potential. With a fast consideration of what an Aldo loss Saturday would’ve meant — a seventh dropped bout of his final 11 — any hopes of future big-money fights have been on life help.

Turning 35 subsequent month, the UFC 265 co-main felt like a now-or-never state of affairs for Aldo’s championship resurrection. The Aldo aura will not be all the best way again, however a visual, plausible avenue again to a title shot has reemerged.


Luque turned heads with spectacular submission end over Chiesa

After submitting Randy Brown final August, Vicente Luque mentioned he was prepared for the massive names within the division and referred to as out Nate Diaz. That point out on the mic did not achieve any traction. One 12 months later, after choking out Michael Chiesa on Saturday, Luque received again on the mic and referred to as out the champ. The response was completely different this time. Champion (and Luque’s former teammate) Kamaru Usman replied on Twitter that his title shot aspirations have been nearer to changing into a actuality.

Usman will struggle Colby Covington in November, however after that rematch there is a logjam among the many high contenders of the division. Jorge Masvidal and Diaz are coming off losses, and whereas the names are interesting, they are not essentially the most aggressive fights. Usman’s actual competitors for the title is Leon Edwards, who’s on a 10-fight unbeaten streak and defeated Luque in 2017. A struggle between Luque and Edwards makes plenty of sense if the winner have been to safe the best to face the champion.

Usman appears so full at this second that solely an opponent who is aware of him nicely and has the abilities to finish a struggle with one motion can put him in danger. And that is what Luque brings to the desk.


Rafael Fiziev confirmed rather a lot towards Bobby Inexperienced, and that have will make him higher

Okamoto: Anybody who has adopted my commentary on Fiziev is aware of that I am tremendous excessive on this light-weight from Kyrgyzstan. And nothing I noticed on Saturday modified that.

For essentially the most half, Fiziev dominated Inexperienced throughout the first half of that struggle. He was sharper, extra technical, he confirmed selection, quantity and plenty of offensive swagger. The momentum of the struggle truly swung after Fiziev practically completed Inexperienced. He thought he had Inexperienced harm and unloaded a protracted flurry close to the fence. Fiziev is a well-built light-weight and throws with a ton of energy, so when Inexperienced survived that onslaught, it was instantly clear that Fiziev had gassed himself out a bit.

From that time on, I assumed Inexperienced did the higher work, nevertheless it was already Fiziev’s struggle on the scorecards. I am impressed with Fiziev sustaining his composure even when he was drained, and his means to complete a bout comparatively sturdy towards a veteran who is aware of the best way to use these later rounds to his benefit. You may wager Fiziev will suppose twice about emptying the fuel tank on a harm opponent sooner or later, however that is an necessary lesson for him, and he received to be taught it with out having to take a loss.

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