Francis Ngannou won the UFC heavyweight title on March 27, 2021 when he scored a second-round knockout victory over Stipe Miocic. That bout headlined UFC 260. On Saturday, the UFC crowns an interim heavyweight champion when Derrick Lewis meets Ciryl Gane in the main event of UFC 265. The matchup headlines the ESPN+ streaming pay-per-view card from Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.
For Lewis, who calls Houston home, this is a second shot at UFC gold. His first UFC title fight came in 2018. Daniel Cormier, who held the title at the time, made quick work of Lewis when he handed him the first, and to date only, submission loss of his career. Cormier submitted Lewis in the second round of that fight, which headlined UFC 230. Former UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos knocked out Lewis in his next contest.
Lewis, who is the No. 2 ranked fighter in the official UFC heavyweight rankings, has won four straight since his loss to Dos Santos. Lewis’ most recent victory was a February knockout victory over Curtis Blaydes.
Gane is a perfect 9-0 in his MMA career. He joined the UFC in August 2019 with a record of 3-0. HIs first fight, a submission win over Raphael Pessoa didn’t make it out of the first round. Gane won that bout via submission. Gane, who is the No. 3 ranked UFC heavyweight, rocketed up the rankings after that win, taking on more difficult opponents as he climbed the heavyweight ladder. The French fighter is coming off a June decision win over Alexander Volkov.
One of the more impressive traits of Gane is his ability to avoid the offense of his opponents. His striking defense is 63 percent and his striking differential is an impressive plus 2.53, which is the highest striking differential among active UFC heavyweight competitors.
UFC 265 takes place at Toyota Center in Houston, Texas on Saturday, August 7. The main card streams on ESPN+ pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and ESPN+ and early prelims on ESPN+ UFC Fight Pass.
Below, see how Lewis and Gane compare in key stats ahead of the interim UFC heavyweight title fight
UFC 265: Lewis vs. Gane
|Sig. Strikes Landed Per Min.||6.85||5.13|
|Strikes Absorbed Per Minute||2.16||2.6|
|Takedown Avg./15 min||0.52||0.82|
|Submission Average Per 15 min||0||0.3|
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