The UFC 265 final face-offs have concluded, and all roads are clear to determine who will be the UFC’s interim heavyweight champion and the next challenger to Francis Ngannou‘s undisputed title.
Tomorrow night, UFC 265 will take place from The Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. The main event will feature Derrick “The Black Beast” Lewis (#2) facing the undefeated Ciryl Gane (#3) for the interim heavyweight championship.
Our staff members have already provided their predictions for the main card, and our own Doug Murray has delivered a closer look at the main and co-main events for tomorrow evening as well. In fact, we even have a fan preview of what’s to come for you to review right here! And with the official weigh-ins complete earlier today, now, all that’s left is the fighting!
The main card for UFC 265 begins at 10:00 PM EST (ESPN+ PPV), the preliminary card begins at 8:00 PM (ESPN2/ESPN+), and the early preliminary card starts at 6:00 PM EST (ESPN2/ESPN+).
Here’s a look at the final face-offs of the main card combatants and a recap of some of the stories surrounding their impending battles.
Song Yadong vs. Casey Kenney
Song Yadong is only 23 years of age, and he is already facing someone who has been ranked in the UFC and who fought arguably the bantamweight GOAT (Dominick Cruz) in his last fight in Casey Kenney. Will Kenney provide a masterclass for Yadong to learn from for the years ahead, or will Yadong inch closer to becoming a ranked UFC fighter before the age of 25?
Tecia Torres vs. Angela Hill 2
In 2015, Tecia Torres defeated Angela Hill in what Hill has called the “worst fight in UFC history.” That’s not all Hill has had to say about her UFC 265 rematch. She has also claimed that Torres was kicked out of a previous gym due to her alleged doping habit and that her 2015 loss to the “Tiny Tornado” should be considered a “pre-USADA” loss. Tomorrow night, Torres will have an opportunity to silence Hill and her accusation with a second win over her post-USADA arrival.
Michael Chiesa vs. Vicente Luque
Two top-10 welterweights with widely varying styles will clash tomorrow night when Michael Chiesa (#5) faces Vicente Luque (#6).
According to Michael Chiesa, a victory over the “dangerous” Vicente Luque would warrant him a title shot. That may depend on what kind of victory and the level of dominance attached to it. Whatever may come, Luque will be ready for Chiesa to bring a full bag of tricks with him into the Octagon.
In fact, Luque views this fight as a major opportunity for him as well, because a win here would be his first victory over an opponent ranked inside the top 5. Chiesa doesn’t think this scenario will materialize, however, and is envisioning his own scenario where he will face reigning champion Kamaru Usman and present problems to The Nigerian Nightmare that he has yet to see.
We’ll find out which of these top welterweights makes good on the opportunity before them tomorrow night.
José Aldo vs. Pedro Munhoz
This will be the legendary José Aldo’s first fight of the year, and it won’t be an easy one. Waiting for him is fellow Brazilian and top-10 bantamweight Pedro Munhoz (#9). Munhoz sees this fight as an opportunity to enter the conversation of the hyper-competitive bantamweight division, and the fact that this opportunity is coming against a compatriot is unbothersome to “The Young Punisher.”
As for Aldo, he got off to a rocky start in the division after going 0-2 at first, but he turned it around with a win over Marlon Vera at UFC Fight Night: Thompson vs. Neal last December. A win over a respected adversary like Munhoz would push this future Hall of Famer one step closer to becoming a titleholder in two separate weight classes during his career. Check out the face-offs between these two men below.
Derrick Lewis vs. Ciryl Gane
Finally, we have the main event that will determine the UFC’s interim heavyweight champion. Derrick Lewis has a tall task ahead of him as he tries to hand the elusive Ciryl Gane his first loss. What will make this undertaking even more daunting is the fact the Lewis won’t just be going for the win; he’ll be going for the kill and win by KO to become the sole owner of the UFC’s knockout record.
As far as UFC President Dana White is concerned, these are the two best heavyweights in the world, so it’s much more than just an “interim title fight” for him. And the gravity of the moment is not lost on Lewis, who will look to overcome the pressure of becoming the first Houston heavyweight champion and breaking the UFC’s KO record along the way.
The undefeated Ciryl Gane has bad news for Lewis, though. According to the Frenchman, Lewis will not only prove unsuccessful tomorrow night, but he won’t even be able to land a significant blow. To ensure this happens, Gane plans on continuing to use an elevated, evolved, and high-level fighting style that he believes MMA fans worldwide will someday come to better appreciate.
The winner of this fight will unify the interim title with Francis Ngannou’s heavyweight title at a later date. Check out the intense face-off between these two heavyweight headliners below.
MMA News is the place to be tomorrow night for full coverage of this pay-per-view, so be sure to stay with us for all the highlights, results, and breaking news concerning UFC 265!