UFC 265 Preview: Jose Aldo – Pedro Munhoz

Tomorrow night in the co-main event of UFC 265, we will see a big time matchup in the bantamweight division. Former featherweight champion Jose Aldo (29-7) is back as he’s taking on Pedro Munhoz (19-5).

Pedro Munhoz is going to be looking for the biggest win of his UFC career tomorrow night. The last time we saw Munhoz was back in February when he took on Jimmie Rivera. That night, Munhoz used a steady diet of leg kicks to get the win.

That win snapped a two-fight skid for Pedro Munhoz. The former UFC featherweight champion is in a very similar position as Munhoz. The last time we saw Jose Aldo was back in December when he defeated Chito Vera by decision.

That win by Aldo snapped a three-fight losing streak including his first two fights at bantamweight. Granted, I’ll still maintain to this day that Jose Aldo defeated Marlon Moraes in his bantamweight debut.

Both men are coming off of a big win leading into UFC 265 and there’s a lot on the line. Whoever wins tomorrow night should be inching ever closer to a shot at the bantamweight title.

UFC 265 Prediction

I cannot wait for these two to fight tomorrow night at UFC 265. To me, this fight has Fight of The Night potential and it’ll be very interesting to see their strategies.

It’s crazy to think that Jose Aldo is just getting ready to turn 35 years old. The former UFC featherweight king rose to the top of the sport so young and at just 34 years old now, he still has plenty of fight in him.

Pedro Munhoz has always been that contender that’s been on the verge of breaking out, but has slipped in some big spots. As mentioned, UFC 265 gives him the opportunity to win the biggest fight of his career.

When looking this fight, I think were going to see a standup war tomorrow night. Ultimately, I like the speed and efficiency of Jose Aldo. While Pedro Munhoz has made strides and he’s tough as hell, I like the crisp technique of Aldo. I’m expecting the former champion to win his second straight tomorrow night.

Prediction: Jose Aldo by Unanimous Decision

UFC 265 Preview: Michael Chiesa – Vicente Luque

Tomorrow night on the main card of UFC 265, we will see a pivotal matchup in the welterweight division. The fifth and sixth ranked welterweights go head-to-head as Michael Chiesa (18-4) takes on Vicente Luque (20-7-1).

Luque will be looking to pick up his fourth consecutive win tomorrow night at UFC 265. Luque has been fighting with the promotion since 2015 and he’s consistently been one of the best. After losing his UFC debut, he’s gone 13-2.

Those two losses came against Leon Edwards and Stephen Thompson. Luque has consistently gone on winning streaks, but he seems to falter when he reaches the very top of the division. At UFC 265, he’s looking to change that narrative.

Standing across from Luque is Michael Chiesa. Chiesa has completely changed his career after moving to the welterweight division. For years, Chiesa struggled to get down to lightweight. Eventually, he decided to move up to his natural weight class of 170 pounds.

Since making that move, Chiesa has been sensational. He’s gone 4-0 in the UFC‘s welterweight division. Back in January he had a dominant five-round victory over Neil Magny to setup this fight with Vicente Luque. Chiesa is hoping a win vaults him into the title picture.

UFC 265 Prediction

When thinking about this matchup at UFC 265, it’s pretty easy to see the path to victory for both men. For Michael Chiesa, it’s all going to be about the takedown and his control.

There really isn’t a secret to his game plan at UFC 265. Chiesa is going to look to close the distance and get Luque to the ground to avoid standing with him. Luque on the other hand wants this to be a striking matchup.

If these two strike for three rounds, Vicente Luque is going to walk away the winner. However, if Chiesa can get Luque to the ground or make him tired by utilizing a ton of grappling, he can easily win this fight.

I wouldn’t be surprised by either man winning tomorrow night, but I’m going to go with Vicente Luque. Expect Luque to keep this fight standing enough over three rounds to win at least two rounds and get the nod on the scorecards.

Prediction: Vicente Luque by Unanimous Decision

UFC 265 Preview: Derrick Lewis – Ciryl Gane

Tomorrow night in the headliner of UFC 265 we will see two top heavyweights battle it out for the interim heavyweight title. The hometown favorite Derrick Lewis (25-7, 1 NC) takes on Ciryl Gane (9-0) in Houston.

The Black Beast enters tomorrow as the second ranked heavyweight in the UFC. He’s on a four-fight win streak, but his last performance really put him over the top. Back in February, he knocked Curtis Blaydes out cold to earn this shot.

Standing across from Lewis is Ciryl Gane. Gane has a perfect record and he’s been dominant since joining the UFC. Gane made his debut with the promotion back in 2019 and he’s gone 6-0.

This year alone, Gane has had two headlining fights against Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Alexander Volkov. In both of those fights, Gane used his footwork and incredible striking technique to pickup two lopsided decision wins.

Obviously tomorrow night is not for the undisputed heavyweight title. The UFC‘s heavyweight champion, Francis Ngannou (16-3), is waiting in the wings for the winner of the UFC 265 headliner.

UFC 265 Prediction

When you look at the skillset of both men, the UFC 265 headliner looks like it would be easy to predict. When going skill for skill, Ciryl Gane is a much better fighter than Derrick Lewis.

You’re looking at someone in Gane who has incredible footwork, tremendous striking technique, solid skills on the ground, and cardio that lasts five rounds. Simply put, he’s the full package at heavyweight.

That said, Derrick Lewis possesses the great equalizer. Derrick Lewis and Francis Ngannou are the two hardest hitters in the UFC’s heavyweight division. You could argue that Lewis has the most power out of anyone in the division.

It takes one mistake with Lewis and you’re seeing stars. Curtis Blaydes was controlling their fight in February, but he got caught with an uppercut from hell in the second round and he was put out cold.

All it takes is for Ciryl Gane to make one mistake and he’s going out. However, I don’t think he’s going to make that mistake. I believe Gane is going to use a very smart game plan and I think he’ll be able to avoid the power. It might not be the most exciting at the end of the day, but I think Ciryl Gane walks away the interim UFC champion tomorrow night.

Prediction: Ciryl Gane by Unanimous Decision

BREAKING: Amanda Nunes tests positive for COVID-19; Out of UFC 265

UFC 265 has taken a hit today by losing the co-main event of the evening. ESPN reported today that the promotion’s two-division champion and the greatest female fighter of all time, Amanda Nunes (21-4), has tested positive for COVID-19.

Nunes was set to make her return to the bantamweight division to defend her UFC title against Julianna Pena (10-4). These two have some serious bad blood and many were looking forward to the fight.

However, the fight is going to be delayed. The UFC‘s chief business officer Hunter Campbell told ESPN that the plan is for the promotion to rebook the fight once Nunes is healthy and ready to go.

At this time there is no word on how Nunes is said to be doing after testing positive. However, given the language from Campbell, my guess is that she’s experiencing symptoms from COVID.

For now, it would appear that the new co-main event of UFC 265 will be the bantamweight contest between Jose Aldo and Pedro Munhoz.

Plans for the UFC title fight

As Campbell said, the UFC is fully planning on rebooking this fight when Nunes is ready to go. However, we really don’t have any idea of when that will be. We’ve seen some fighters be ready just two weeks after a positive test.

However, we’ve also seen some fighters experience symptoms that kept them out for extended periods of time. Khamzat Chimaev and Alexander Volkanovski are two that stick out.

Volkanovski was set to defend his UFC title against Brian Ortega in March, but after a positive COVID test, that fight was scrapped. Those two will now fight in September. In reality, September might be the target date for the Nunes – Pena title fight.

Another possibility could be November. At the beginning of November, the UFC is returning to New York for UFC 268 which is headlined by Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington. Don’t be surprised if you see this bantamweight title end up at MSG.

Could Gane – Lewis at UFC 265 ultimately lead to Jon Jones – Francis Ngannou?

UFC, Jon Jones

Earlier this week we learned that UFC 265 would be headlined by Derrick Lewis (25-7, 1 NC) and Ciryl Gane (9-0). The PPV headliner will take place in Lewis’ hometown of Houston, Texas and the interim heavyweight title will be on the line.

The decision to create an interim heavyweight title at UFC 265 was perplexing. Mass confusion fell upon the MMA community due to the fact that Francis Ngannou (16-3) just won the heavyweight title back in March.

Ngannou has been on vacation and told the UFC he’d be ready to fight Derrick Lewis for the undisputed title in September. However, the promotion needed a main event for August 7th. Their solution was to book Lewis in an interim title fight.

Now, this leaves the undisputed heavyweight champion without a fight. The UFC has said that Gane and Lewis are fighting for the interim title because they are the two most deserving contenders and they are ready to fight on August 7th. Again, doesn’t make a ton of sense, but that’s their story.

However, there could be a silver lining here for all parties involved. Perhaps the UFC can now put together the fight that fans wanted to see all along. Maybe it’s time for the promotion to revisit the superfight between Ngannou and Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC).

Will the UFC try to make Ngannou – Jones happen?

Let’s rewind time back to just before UFC 260 where Ngannou defeated Stipe Miocic. The storyline leading up to the fight was that Jon Jones would be moving up to heavyweight and would be fighting the winner.

For months, that’s what Dana White and the UFC had been saying. Jon Jones vacated his light heavyweight title last year to prepare for his move to the heavyweight division.

However, immediately after UFC 260 we learned the fight was going to be hard to make. Jones and the promotion could never come close to a deal and as a result, the UFC moved on from Jones and focused on Derrick Lewis.

Now, we find ourselves in an interesting position. Jones recently hired Richard Schaeffer as his new representative. Schaeffer has a great relationship with UFC President Dana White and has already said publicly that he’s confident the Jones – Ngannou fight will get done.

Heavyweight Tournament?

With this interim title fight on the books for UFC 265, I think it’s time to go back to the negotiation table. There has never been a better time to book Jones against Ngannou. With the interim title fight booked, you get to give the top contenders the crack at gold that they rightfully deserve.

At the same time, if you book Ngannou – Jones, you’re also giving UFC fans the fight they want to see. A four-man tournament could be playing out for the biggest prize in all of combat sports. Of course, at this point it’s all talk, but even Ngannou’s coach talked about this potential silver lining. 

There’s also the outside chance that a four-man tournament plays out without Jones. Stipe Miocic (20-4) is bulking up and wants the trilogy with Ngannou. Perhaps the UFC moves in that direction if a fight with Jones still can’t be made.

This is definitely going to be a storyline to watch over the coming weeks.

Sound Off: Should the UFC book Ngannou against Jones/Miocic or wait for the Gane-Lewis winner?

Ciryl Gane knew about interim title fight before UFC Vegas 30

Ciryl Gane UFC

We are just days removed from learning that UFC 265 will be headlined by an interim title fight between Ciryl Gane (9-0) and Derrick Lewis (25-7, 1 NC). The PPV is being held in Houston which is the home of The Black Beast.

The news took everyone by surprised. For the last couple of months, the UFC had been working on Lewis fighting Francis Ngannou (16-3). Ngannou is the undisputed heavyweight champion who just won the title in late March.

However, Ngannou went home to Africa to celebrate his title victory. He just returned to the United States and voiced to the UFC that he wouldn’t be ready for August 7th. Ngannou and his management did accept a fight against Lewis for the undisputed title in September.

However, that didn’t fit the timeline for the UFC. The promotion wanted Lewis to headline the August card in his hometown. UFC 265 has another title fight in Amanda Nunes – Julianna Pena, but the promotion didn’t want that as the headliner.

While Nunes is the greatest female fighter of all time, she’s not a massive draw as her headlining PPVs show. With that, the UFC took an aggressive approach to finding a big time matchup to fill the main event slot. That big time matchup is the interim heavyweight title fight.

Gane knew before UFC Vegas 30

We now know that the wheels were in motion for UFC 265 before the fights last weekend. At UFC Vegas 30, Ciryl Gane defeated Alexander Volkov in the main event. It was a beautiful performance by Gane who took virtually no damage in the fight.

Gane spoke with MMA Junkie this week and said that the promotion approached his management before his fight last weekend. The UFC told the Gane camp that Gane would get a shot at Derrick Lewis for the interim title if he were to win and come out clean.

Once Gane got his hand raised on Saturday night and was cleared to compete, the UFC moved forward with the booking. I still don’t agree with the decision to create an interim title especially considering Ngannou just won the belt and would be ready a month later.

The decision makes absolutely no sense from a combat sports perspective, but it wasn’t a combat sports decision. This was strictly a business decision because the UFC needed a bigger fight to headline their August PPV in Houston.

Sound Off: Do you agree with the UFC’s decision to book an interim title fight in August?

What happened between the UFC and Francis Ngannou?

Francis Ngannou

Yesterday we all saw some shocking news in the world of mixed martial arts. We learned that UFC 265 in August will be headlined by an interim title fight between top contenders Derrick Lewis (25-7, 1 NC) and Ciryl Gane (9-0).

The two men will battle it out in Houston on August 7th. However, this move was incredibly puzzling to say the least. It’s puzzling due to the fact that Francis Ngannou (16-3) just became the undisputed heavyweight champion at the end of March.

After Ngannou became the champion, he spent a considerable amount of time in Africa to celebrate. Ngannou recently returned to the United States and resumed training in preparation for his first title defense.

For the last month or so, the UFC has been trying hard to book Ngannou against Derrick Lewis for the August PPV. However, with Ngannou’s travel schedule, he told the UFC that he wouldn’t be ready by the beginning of August.

The promotion then came back to Ngannou and asked about UFC 266 in September. Ngannou and his representatives accepted the fight for the end of September and moved forward with their preparations. However, everything changed yesterday.

UFC’s Change of Plans

The UFC had been moving forward with the September fight, but Ciryl Gane’s performance over the weekend made them hedge. After seeing Gane remain perfect by defeating Alexander Volkov, the promotion tried to use it for leverage to get Ngannou to fight in August.

Ngannou’s camp remained firm in their stance that he would defend the title in September, but not at the beginning of August. The UFC ultimately decided to pull the plug on Ngannou all together and booked the interim title fight.

In the history of the promotion, this is the quickest that they’ve ever instituted an interim title. It’s also incredibly interesting that it was made in the heavyweight division considering the title has been defended on average once a year over the past few years.

So now, the UFC’s superstar heavyweight champion is sidelined. This move makes no sense and to me the promotion just cut their nose off to spite their face.

BREAKING: UFC books interim heavyweight title fight between Derrick Lewis and Ciryl Gane

Massive breaking news this afternoon involving the UFC‘s heavyweight division. Dana White told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto that the promotion is moving forward with an interim heavyweight title fight between Derrick Lewis (25-7, 1 NC) and Ciryl Gane (9-0).

The fight will headline UFC 265 on August 7th which will take place in Houston, Texas. This is a massive shot as Francis Ngannou (16-3) just became the undisputed heavyweight champion a few months ago.

The promotion had been trying to book Ngannou against Derrick Lewis for August, but Ngannou wasn’t ready. The latest word was that the UFC was going to book the heavyweight title fight for September, but everything changed on a dime.

Over the weekend at UFC Vegas 30, Ciryl Gane dominated Alexander Volkov to remain undefeated. After witnessing his performance, the UFC decided to move Gane up the ladder for an interim title fight against Lewis.

The manager for the UFC heavyweight champion was completely stunned by the news. Ngannou’s reps told Okamoto, “This comes as a complete shock. To make an interim title so soon, if you look at the history of this division, it comes as a surprise. We hope to get clarity and figure out something with the UFC soon.”

UFC’s odd decision

I honestly don’t understand the UFC’s logic here at all. By all accounts, Ngannou was going to be ready to defend his title in September. Over the last few years, the heavyweight title has been defended on average once per year.

Ngannou just won the title at the end of March. To make an interim title so soon is absolutely insane to me. Nevertheless, the UFC is moving forward and Ciryl Gane will battle Derrick Lewis in his backyard for the heavyweight title.

With this news, we likely won’t see Francis Ngannou against until the end of the year. Well, maybe the UFC will finally book Ngannou against Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC) for the undisputed title then have the winners face off. Who knows, but I don’t think anyone saw this coming.

UFC booking Michael Chiesa – Vicente Luque

The UFC has finalized a pivotal matchup in the welterweight division. MMA Junkie was the first to report this afternoon that the promotion had finalized a matchup between top ten welterweights Michael Chiesa (18-4) and Vicente Luque (20-7-1).

The matchup will take place at UFC 265 on August 7th. Vicente Luque will look to continue his rise towards the top of the welterweight division next month. Luque made his UFC debut back in 2015 when he lost to Michael Graves.

Since that loss, Luque has gone an astonishing 13-2 with the promotion. His only two losses came against Stephen Thompson and Leon Edwards. The Wonderboy loss came back in 2019 at UFC 244.

Since that loss, Luque has won three straight. The last time we saw Luque was back at UFC 260 when he took on former welterweight champion Tyron Woodley. Woodley looked more motivated than ever heading into that fight back in March.

Woodley stormed out of the gate and actually was able to hurt Luque in the first round. However, Luque remained composed and ended up hurting the former champion badly. Ultimately, Luque was able to get the fight to the ground and submitted Woodley at UFC 260 picking up the biggest win of his career.

Chiesa looks to remain perfect in UFC’s welterweight division

For years, Michael Chiesa struggled to make the UFC’s lightweight limit. 155 pounds was always a struggle and after missing weight at UFC 226 for his fight with Anthony Pettis, Chiesa announced he was done with lightweight.

Chiesa lost that fight to Anthony Pettis. However, that was the last time that Chiesa has tasted defeat inside the octagon. After moving up to the welterweight division, Chiesa has gone a perfect 4-0 including a win over former UFC champion Rafael Dos Anjos.

Back in January, Chiesa took on the tough Neil Magny in a main event. Chiesa completely dominated Magny and stayed perfect at welterweight. There’s been talk that Chiesa is close to a title shot and if he wins at UFC 265, he just might be in a good position to fight for the title or fight in a title eliminator.

Houston the front-runner to host UFC 265 per Dana White

It looks like the UFC will be heading back to Texas in August. At least, that’s how it’s looking right now. This week, Dana White sat down with Yahoo Sports’ Kevin Iole and they talked about all the happenings with the promotion.

Of course, one of the topics that came up was the UFC heavyweight division. Currently, the promotion is trying to finalize the first title defense for the new heavyweight champion, Francis Ngannou (16-3).

Ngannou knocked out Stipe Miocic (20-4) at UFC 260 to capture the heavyweight title. Prior to that night, it was understood that the winner would fight Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC) is a super-fight over the summer.

However, financial negotiations never got off to a hot start between Jones and the UFC. Now, it doesn’t appear that Jones is going to be fighting anytime soon. With that, the promotion moved to the top contender, Derrick Lewis (25-7, 1 NC).

Lewis is one of the more popular fighters in the UFC and he holds a decision win over the current champion. He’s won four fights in a row and he definitely deserves the next crack at the heavyweight title. Because Lewis is next, the promotion is honing in on Houston, Texas hosting UFC 265.

UFC 265 – Home Field Advantage

Now, the UFC hasn’t finalized the rematch between Ngannou and Lewis. However, the word is that the fight is getting pretty close to the goal line. The promotion is planning on the heavyweight title fight headlining UFC 265.

Currently, Amanda Nunes (21-4) – Julianna Pena (10-4) is the lone title fight on the August PPV. However, it appears that the promotion is going to have the heavyweight title on the line in the main event.

Derrick Lewis is a native of Houston and he got a massive pop when shown on screen at UFC 262 earlier this month. It looks like Lewis is going to get a little home field advantage for his second crack at UFC gold.

Of course, this situation is still fluid at the moment. For one, the promotion hasn’t finalized the fight and two, UFC 265 hasn’t been announced for Houston. However, the promotion is looking to lock up the location soon and my guess is the fight will be finalized just before.