UFC 265: Gane vs Lewis - Predictions - 8/7/21
The last time the UFC was in Houston, I advised to be weary of the historical ineptitude of the commission there. But lately, Sal D'Amato and Chris Lee have been dragging the Vegas judging to all new lows. Both weren't judging last weekend's event as far as I can tell (and what do you know, the judging stabilized) which probably means they will be in Houston this weekend. Anyway, I guess we will continue to practice tilt resistance when Bruce Buffer starts his split decision routine on fights that are obvious lopsided wins for us.
Let's look at some of these matchups below.
My picks in bold, all odds are mean odds from www.bestfightodds.com
Derrick Lewis vs. Ciryl Gane
Gane by decision or Lewis by KO. Pretty standard two-true outcome for this one. Breaking this down in terms of attributes, Gane will have the edge in cardio, footwork, technical striking, reach (2”) and speed. While Lewis will hold the edge in power and size (routinely weighing in at the max 265 limit where Gane usually comes in at 240-245 range). Gane will also have the edge in grappling/submissions but I don’t see him getting the fight to the mat. Lewis has fought his share of wrestlers over the years and although he wasn’t always successful defending them, Gane is not on the same grappling level as Lewis’ previous competition. His attempts to grapple Volkov seemed more like a distraction as it was apparent there was no chance of getting him down. In terms of technique and execution, the takedown attempts were pretty weak.
So with that point, this fight is most likely to take place on the feet for as long as it lasts. Gane should be able to comfortably stay at range and point fight “The Black Beast” for the entirety of this one. However, there was a point in his last fight with Volkov where he began to let his guard down. He started attempting more flying knees and spinning $%#@ late in the fight. What that got him was a wake up call as Volkov landed a crisp uppercut. If Lewis landed that uppercut the fight would be over. In fact, just look at his last fight against Blaydes where he timed an incredible uppercut which instantly separated Blaydes from consciousness.
He will also have 25 minutes in which to do it as Gane really is content to just sit back and strike from the safety of range. When looking back through Lewis’ competition, the aforementioned Volkov is probably the closest to Gane in terms of style. A rangey, technical striker with a good chin. That fight consisted of Volkov picking apart Lewis on the feet for 98.7% of it. In the last 1.3%, Lewis finally landed and brutally finished Volkov. And that one was a 3 round fight. He will have an extra 10 minutes to land that telling blow for this one. I certainly wouldn’t blame anyone for putting a sprinkle on Lewis as those odds are pretty wide.
I’m ultimately going to side with Gane on this though. He has shown good fight IQ and doesn’t really care if the crowd doesn’t like what they see with respect to his point fighting. His kicking game is good enough to land on Lewis whenever he wants while keeping him out of the way of haymakers. With a pretend title on the line and facing one of the hardest hitting men on the planet, I’m going to bank on Gane remaining focused for the 25 minutes and not leap into a fight ending shot.
Prediction: Cyrl Gane
José Aldo vs. Pedro Munhoz
Great match up here. Munhoz used low kicks to great success in his last fight against Jimmie Rivera. Ironically, this was something Aldo used to be known for but has gotten away from that attack in the modern era. This one should play out entirely on the feet for the duration of this match. Aldo will have 5” of reach advantage and will be looking to counter Munhoz, who is a pretty aggressive, high output striker. That isn’t to say Aldo won’t push the action as well but he’ll typically do so in more controlled bursts. People were ready to write Aldo off during his featherweight stretch where he lost to Holloway twice. Thing is, Aldo has been fighting top competition for the majority of his career.
The bantamweight Aldo version has looked pretty good other than Petr Yan’s destruction as well. However, if Munhoz connects with one of his hooks then it’s probably a short night for the former champ. I brought up the leg kicks earlier because this is another strategy Munhoz could use to slow Aldo down and rack up points. So there’s a couple avenues of victory for Munhoz with mainly just the point fight win route for Aldo (Munhoz has never been knocked out). This one could be incredibly competitive and separated by only a few strikes if it goes the distance. I’m going to ultimately side with Munhoz to get his hand raised because even if he falls behind on overall strike count, his power and granite chin could end up being the difference during a frantic trade.
Prediction: Pedro Munhoz
Michael Chiesa vs. Vicente Luque
I’ve been underestimating Michael Chiesa his entire career. Well no more! Not to spoil it or anything but I’m picking him here. Luque will have the edge in the standup and power for sure but he will be basically defending takedowns or trying to get things back to his fight for the 3 rounds. Luque has decent takedown defense and BJJ but you really need to have exceptional takedown defense to keep Chiesa off of you. Chiesa has racked up numerous takedowns on every opponent during this 4 fight win streak but more impressive still, is his control time. It’s a shame because Luque is an awesome fighter to watch. He’s incredibly violent, tough as hell, and always ready to trade. Chiesa is smart enough to avoid getting sucked into an entertaining brawl, while doing what has been working so well for him recently. The additional factor is how often Chiesa gets things to the mat from clinch trips, which is something we've seen Luque be suspectible to in the past.
Prediction: Michael Chiesa
Tecia Torres vs. Angela Hill
This fight was scheduled back in December but Angela Hill tested positive for Covid and had to withdraw. Torres stayed on that card and took on newcomer Sam Hughes on short notice. She looked absolutely fantastic in that fight. Mind you, that’s a fight she’s supposed to win over a newcomer on short notice but still. We got to see the game plan she was most likely going to bring against Hill and I think it is a recipe for success. Even with the 4” reach disadvantage she is going to face, I think her volume will be enough to win over the judges in a competitive fight. She also landed a powerful double leg in that fight with Hughes which would pay dividends if she brings that to the table against Hill. Mind you, Hill’s takedown defense is pretty solid and she has the edge in power for this so I can see both fighters having their moments. Again, I’m going to side with Torres to win a split decision with a higher volume attack.
Prediction: Tecia Torres
Song Yadong vs. Casey Kenney
I thought Kenney had an impressive showing in his last fight against Dom Cruz. Unfortunately for Kenney, Cruz returned to form and put on a great performance of his own, earning the decision win. Kenney’s teammate, Kyler Phillips, fought on the same card against Yadong that night and really showed the blueprint for how to beat Yadong. You would have to think Kenney would employ the same strategy. Sorry, I should say that you’d have to think a teammate of Phillips with the exact same skill set as Kenney would employ the same strategy...but not Casey Kenney. He seems to have fallen in love with striking more and more even though he has world class judo skills. He’s not a terrible striker by any means, but Yadong is better, and the avenue for the victory is right there for the taking for Kenney. Which I’m sure he will promptly ignore and he’ll let this one become a razor close split decision. I was curious to see if there were any interviews where Kenney talks about this fight and low and behold the ones I’ve found, he’s talking about throwing down and getting a knockout. Sigh, he has 1 knockout in 20 pro fights and Yadong hasn’t been finished in the UFC - great plan. I guess I’ll pick him just in case his coaches talk some sense into him and they exploit Yadong’s 56% takedown defense, but I’m not holding my breath or betting him.
Prediction: Casey Kenney
Bobby Green vs. Rafael Fiziev
Vince Morales vs. Drako Rodriguez
Ed Herman vs. Alonzo Menifield
Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs. Jessica Penne
Early Preliminary Card
Manel Kape vs. Ode’ Osbourne
Miles Johns vs. Anderson dos Santos
Victoria Leonardo vs. Melissa Gatto
Johnny Muñoz Jr. vs. Jamey Simmons