UFC 265 goes down this weekend at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas as hometown hero Derrick Lewis takes on rising star Ciryl Gane for the interim heavyweight title.
Lewis was originally expected to face Francis Ngannou, but the UFC took a different route when the heavyweight champion said that he wouldn’t be able to fight in August and needed more time to prepare. A bantamweight title fight between champion Amanda Nunes and Julianna Pena was set to co-headline the event, but it was canceled after ‘The Lioness’ tested positive for COVID.
Jose Aldo vs Pedro Munhoz will serve as the new co-main event. Here are the keys to victory for Derrick Lewis, Ciryl Gane, Jose Aldo, and Pedro Munhoz at UFC 265.
Derrick Lewis vs Ciryl Gane
Keys To Victory For Derrick Lewis
Start Aggressively: Gane is an extremely well-rounded fighter. He’s exceptional on the feet, and uses his movement and angles to great effect. He’s also an excellent grappler, so he will be comfortable anywhere the fight goes. Lewis doesn’t have a whole lot of tools in his arsenal, especially for an opponent like Gane, but his one-punch knockout power will surely cause him problems.
If Lewis fights at distance or engages in a grappling contest, his chances of winning will significantly drop. Therefore, he should start each round aggressively, and try to close the distance quickly looking for knockout blows. Lewis’ power will be the equalizer.
Counter Attack: If being aggressive doesn’t work for ‘The Black Beast’, counterattacking will be the second-best option. Gane does a great job of moving in and out of range, making it hard for his opponents to land shots. He does rely heavily on kicking, but also closes to distance with his punches. That’s when Lewis should try and catch him with a counter shot. He should throw every punch with the intention of knocking Gane out.
Keys To Victory For Ciryl Gane
Manage Distance: Gane is arguably the most agile heavyweight in the UFC. His movement, explosiveness, and fight IQ are second to none, and his striking is world-class. He’s talented, but what makes him so special is that he’s extremely smart and doesn’t get carried away with getting the finish. For him, winning is always the sole focus. Against a fighter like Lewis, who loves to stand and trade, Gane needs to apply his usual gameplan when striking, which is attacking his opponent from distance and constantly bouncing in and out of range.
If he sticks to his game plan, he will cruise to victory, unless Lewis pulls yet another rabbit out of his hat at UFC 265.
Grapple: Grappling has proved to be Lewis’ Achilles heel in the past, although he did show improvements to his game against Curtis Blaydes. While Gane may not be on the same level as Blaydes when it comes to wrestling, he would have the edge in the striking department which will give him chances to take the fight to the mat.
Gane is physically very imposing, and if he takes the fight to the mat, he will be able to control Lewis and do damage on the mat. He has also got an excellent submission game, so Lewis will have to be watchful wherever the fight goes.
The battle for G O L D is only 3 days away…🏆
— UFC (@ufc) August 4, 2021
Jose Aldo vs Pedro Munhoz
The UFC bantamweight division is one to watch right now. Both Jose Aldo and Pedro Munhoz are very similar in the way they approach their fights. Both are high-level BJJ fighters, who rarely rely on their grappling and like to engage in a striking contest. Both have crisp boxing and leg kicks, but they do differ in their execution, however.
Keys To Victory For Jose Aldo
Fast Start: Jose Aldo always starts off in an explosive fashion, and this fight should not be any different, especially given the fact that Munhoz is more calculated in his approach and takes his time to settle in. A fast start will allow Aldo to land the more impactful strikes at UFC 265 early on, and allow little time for Munhoz to settle and get going.
Another major benefit of starting off aggressively is that it may intrigue Munhoz to fight in a similar manner, which plays to Aldo’s advantage as he’s more clinical in the pocket. A major benefit of a three-round fight for Aldo is that he can fight at a fast pace without having to worry about getting tired.
Leg kicks: Jose Aldo’s leg kicks are vicious, and they should inflict a lot of damage on Munhoz. Not only that, but leg kicks will also compromise his movement, and make him a stationary target for Aldo. Ideally, the former featherweight champion should mix things up, with punches and kicks and overwhelm his opponent.
Keys To Victory For Pedro Munhoz
Movement: Aldo has had his struggles with cardio in the past, therefore, making him work harder than usual, especially early on will be key to victory for Pedro Munhoz. Against a striker as clinical as Aldo, Munhoz needs to be very light on his feet and use his movement to absorb minimum damage. He should also patiently wait for his openings and catch Aldo off guard whenever possible. Munhoz also tends to get stronger as the fight progresses, so he should be looking to take Aldo into deep waters.
Body Shots: Munhoz relies greatly on calf kicks in his fights, but he might struggle against Aldo, who does a great job of checking leg kicks. Munhoz would be better off attacking Aldo’s body, and he should avoid trading in the pocket with his compatriot at UFC 265.