The UFC returns to Houston, Texas this Saturday night for UFC 265. The headliner features an interim heavyweight title fight between Ciryl Gane and local fighter Derrick Lewis. Jose Aldo is also in action as he takes on fellow Brazilian Pedro Munhoz in a ranked bantamweight encounter. Bantamweight champ Amanda Nunes was set to face Julianna Peña in the headliner, but the belt holder tested positive for COVID-19 delaying the match-up. MMA Viking takes a closer look at all of the action with their betting preview and tips for another night of explosive octagon action.
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UFC 265 Prelim Card
Bantamweights open the card as Johnny Munoz takes on Jamey Simmons. While Munoz is coming off a loss in his UFC debut, his overall record should see him favored against Simmons.
Victoria Leonardo takes on Melissa Gatto in women's flyweight action. Gatto should remain unbeaten in this contest.
More bantamweights collide as Miles Johns battles Anderson Dos Santos. Johns should have enough to get past Dos Santos and earn his third UFC victory.
Manel Kape will be targeting his first win in the UFC when he faces Ode Osbourne in a flyweight contest. Despite losing on the judges’ scorecards in his first two appearances, Kape should break the duck and beat the less experienced Osbourne.
Former title challengers Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Jessica Penne are matched up in a critical bout in the strawweight division. Despite being on a four-fight losing streak, Kowalkiewicz is only slightly favored over Penne who returned after a four year USADA suspension with a split-decision win earlier this year.
Alonzo Menifield squares off against Ed Herman in a light heavyweight encounter. Menifield is a big favorite going into this and should get the win, however it is unbelievable that the 40-year old “Short Fuse” is on a 3 fight winning streak.
Another bantamweight bout sees Vine Morales and Drako Rodriguez duke it out. Rodriguez is the less experienced fighter, but should come out on top.
The featured prelim bout sees Bobby Green take on striking specialist Rafael Fiziev in a lightweight matchup. Green is durable and experienced, but should have no answer to the dangerous kicking game of Fiziev who is a massive favorite.
UFC 265 Main Card
Song Yadong (16-5-1, 1NC) vs. Casey Kenney (16-3-1)
An exciting bantamweight encounter opens up the UFC 265 main card as Song Yadong battles Casey Kenney. Yadong is coming off a unanimous decision defeat to Kyler Phillips earlier this year. The Chinese fighter was unbeaten in six UFC appearances prior to that setback.
Kenney is also coming off a loss after getting outpointed by former bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz which halted his three-fight winning streak.
This should be a close-fought encounter that goes the distance, and one of the fighters will climb back into the rankings.
Tecia Torres (12-5) vs. Angela Hill (13-9)
Women’s strawweights are in action on the main card as Tecia Torres takes on Angela Hill in a rematch. Torres is back on a winning streak after dropping four in a row. The #10 ranked fighter outpointed Brianna Van Buren last summer before TKO’ing Sam Hughes in December.
Hill, meanwhile, returned to the win column with a unanimous decision victory over Ashley Yoder in March. In total, the #12 ranked fighter has won four of her last six.
While Hill has shown improvements, expect Torres to come out on top again and get the decision.
Michael Chiesa (18-4) vs. Vicente Luque (20-7-1)
An exciting welterweight affair between Michael Chiesa and Vicente Luque is a must-watch match-up. The #5 ranked American is undefeated since moving up to welterweight and is coming off a unanimous decision win over Neil Magny to make it 4-0 at 170 pounds.
Luque, #6 ranked, is on a three-fight winning streak and has won nine of his last 10 outings overall with his only loss coming to Stephen Thompson.
Chiesa has looked too good since his move up, and his grappling ability is a clear advantage. I like the former The Ultimate Fighter to get a finish.
Jose Aldo (29-7) vs. Pedro Munhoz (19-5, 1NC)
The new co-main event sees Jose Aldo taking on the always-entertaining Pedro Munhoz in a ranked bantamweight contest. Aldo, #5 ranked, officially earned his first win at bantamweight after outpointing Marlon Vera back in December. Even in his two defeats prior at 135 pounds, the former featherweight champion has proven he has found the right weight class late in his career.
Munhoz, #9 ranked, meanwhile, returned to the win column after an impressive unanimous decision win over Jimmie Rivera in February. He had lost his previous two to current champ Aljamain Sterling and former champ Frankie Edgar but they were certainly competitive affairs.
Given Munhoz’s durability and the lacking cardio of Aldo, if this was a five-rounder, one would give the edge to the former. It is only three rounds which is why Aldo is just about favored to get the victory. However, I like Munhoz to get the win in this one.
Ciryl Gane (9-0) vs. Derrick Lewis (25-7, 1NC)
The main event sees the undefeated striker Ciryl Gane take on knockout artist Derrick Lewis for the interim heavyweight title. Gane has had a dream start to his UFC career as he has won six in a row with his most recent outing being an impressive unanimous decision win over Alexander Volkov.
Lewis, meanwhile, has remained a perennial contender but will be looking to earn his first title with a win over Gane. “The Black Beast” has won his last four fights with his most recent outing being a devastating uppercut knockout of Curtis Blaydes.
There’s no doubt that Gane is the more skilled and all-round better fighter. However, Lewis has undeniable knockout power, only the current champ Francis Ngannou could claim more. While there’s always a chance of Lewis losing the fight only to land a fight-ending punch, Gane seems much more disciplined and composed than other fighters who have suffered defeat to the American.
Gane has the easiest path to victory by keeping his distance and using his crisp striking to stay out of danger. This is the safest bet, but if you want to root for the local fighter to get another upset, put your money down on the Black Beast.
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About Ryan O’Leary
Ryan O’Leary is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist and commentator. The Swedish-based writer is the founder and editor at MMAViking.com, which is the premier source for Nordic mixed martial arts news since 2008.