The UFC is back with its monthly pay-per-view for August with a banger of a card stacked with amazing fights to kick off the month. July offered us a couple great cards and a couple cards that were nowhere near as good as usual, but the UFC looks to rev back up with the Interim Heavyweight Championship between Derrick Lewis and Ciryl Gane. Sadly, we lost the women’s Bantamweight Championship fight with Amanda Nunes and Julianna Pena due to Nunes contracting COVID-19. That fight has been pushed back to a later date for us fans to enjoy, but all eyes will be on Houston this Saturday to see who will face off with the undisputed heavyweight champ, Francis Ngannou. The whole card is stacked, so let’s dive into a few that I am on the watch for this weekend.
Prelims for UFC 265 has a few recognizable names fighting this weekend like Alonzo Menifield and Ode Osbourne, but the one fight that is a must watch is the lightweight bout between “King” Bobby Green (27-11-1) and Rafael “Ataman” Fiziev (9-1). Green comes in with a lot more experience in the octagon, but Fiziev is a skyrocketing 155-pound contender that could do damage to the rankings before too long. Green is coming off a unanimous decision loss to the skilled Thiago Moises and looks to bounce back with a huge win over Fiziev. This will be his 16th UFC bout since he entered the UFC back in 2013, with this being one of his most important fights for the stake of his career. Fiziev comes from Korday, Kazakhstan with a skillset that is intimidating to the lightweights sitting on the backside of the top-15 rankings. He comes into the fight with a three-fight win streak over Alex White, Marc Diakiese, and Renato Moicano. Fiziev is looking for his shot to climb the ladder to the belt but must get by the savvy veteran in Green. I believe that Fiziev will get the job done as he will be too much in the octagon for Green to handle. The fight will be great all around, so be sure to catch this prelim before the main card.
UFC 265’s main card has a three-headed monster of fights to end the night, with the first being between Michael “Maverick” Chiesa (18-4) and Vicente “The Silent Assassin” Luque (20-7-1). Chiesa is a fighter that is not liked by the casual community, while Luque is one of the UFC communities’ favorite fighters under the radar. Chiesa is known for his amazing ground skills as he averages 3.6 takedowns each fight. Many people think his fight style is boring, but it is a true art to see him pick apart his opponents with his side control on the ground. He is coming into the fight on a four-fight win streak, with his last bout being a dominant performance over the veteran Neil Magny. Luque is a well-rounded fighter who is known for his tremendous power for a welterweight. He has a great resume of knockouts as he has 11 in his 20 wins. Luque last beat the former champion Tyron Woodley to push his win streak to 3 before facing Chiesa. This is a massive fight for both fighters as a win will push them into contention for getting to a title shot. I believe that Luque will get the job done with a knockout, but Chiesa is a tough competitor that could sneak a win or push it to a decision at least.
The co-main event for UFC 265 features one of the best fighters ever and possibly the best featherweight ever, Jose “Junior” Aldo (29-7) as he faces off against one of the toughest men in the 145-pound division Pedro “The Young Punisher” Munhoz (19-5). Aldo is a former featherweight champion who reigned as the champ for 5 years, racking up 7 title defenses. Aldo has a wide range of weapons in his arsenal but is known for his deadly kicks. He is looking for his second straight win, after he finally broke his 3-fight skid with a win over Marlon Vera. Munhoz has been in many brawls over his career, most notably his fight with former champion Cody Garbrandt. That fight had some of the craziest exchanges, where Munhoz came out victorious with a knockout. A win will get him back into the top 5 in the division. I choose Munhoz to come out on top in this fight. Aldo has the experience, but he has not looked the same in recent history. Munhoz will be hungry for a win.
Finally, the fight that everyone will be waiting for, the Interim Heavyweight Championship between Derrick “The Black Beast” Lewis (25-7) faces off with the Frenchman Cyril “Bon Gamin” Gane (9-0). The fights will be in Lewis’s hometown of Houston, Texas, so he will have the whole arena on his side. Lewis is tied for the most knockouts ever in UFC history with 12 as he looks to take sole possession of the knockout crown with one this weekend. He comes in with four straight wins with one of the most brutal knockouts ever coming in his last fight against Curtis Blaydes. Lewis is the crowd favorite, but he will have his hands full with the freak of nature Gane. Gane is a massive 6’5 heavyweight who is in the best shape we have ever seen a heavyweight fight at. Gane has a background in Muay Thai. It is incredible how light he is on his feet in the octagon, so Lewis will be facing a fighting style he has never seen before in the heavyweight division. Gane has had two straight dominant wins over Alexander Volkov and Jairzinho Rozenstruik. Gane has the checkmark on every category besides power on Lewis, but he could fight a perfect fight and Lewis could knock him out cold with one punch. The mind tells me the Gane will dominate for a win, but my gut is telling me that Lewis will use his home crowd to his advantage and get a knockout.
Even with Amanda Nunes being pulled from the card, UFC 265 is bound to be full with amazing fights for everyone to watch. Be prepared for a chaotic evening full of potential crazy knockouts and beautiful well fought battles between warriors. Be sure to catch the fights starting at 6 PM eastern standard time on ESPN+.