Fans looking for drama and high-intensity combat in the UFC 265 interim heavyweight title fight featuring Derrick Lewis and Ciryl Gane were certainly left wanting more when the dust cleared. Rather than a spectacular battle in the big show, Gane executed a technical masterwork, dismantling Lewis with leg kicks and winning the title by third-round TKO.
Lewis’ deadly assault never materialized in the title match from Houston’s Toyota Center. Gane maintained control of the match with his punches and kicks and a stinging jab, keeping things closer to his reach edge. Lewis landed with just one major blow in the opening round due to the attack’s effectiveness.
Lewis’ fortunes did not improve in the second or third round, as the leg kicks continued to land, eliciting larger responses and indicating Gane’s opportunity to attack. Once Lewis was properly knocked down, Gane attacked with a barrage of hard punches, ultimately knocking Lewis on the ground and covering up until the referee stopped the bout at the 4:11 mark of Round 3.
Gane finished with a 98-16 lead in important blows landed. Gane improved to 10-0 overall and 7-0 in the UFC Octagon as a result of his mastery of range, footwork, and timing.
“Everyone already knows what my game plan is,” Gane remarked after his triumph. “I like movement. There are no hidden agendas. Naturally, this was the game plan.”
When Francis Ngannou was unable to defend his title on the program after his victory in March, the interim belt was linked to Gane vs. Lewis. Lewis had been slated to replace Ngannou but was forced to settle for a chance at temporary status versus Gane. Lewis defeats Ngannou, whose style is more geared toward exchanges in which Lewis’ startling power can be used than Gane’s technical approach.
Gane, who is now the interim title and the first French champion in UFC history, has a straightforward message for heavyweight champion Ngannou ahead of their now-almost-guaranteed rematch.
Elsewhere on the night, Jose Aldo looked everything but old in his co-main event bout with Pedro Munhoz. The former featherweight champion competed and fought to near-perfection versus his rival Brazilian on route to claiming his second successive bantamweight title. At 34, he may still be a force in the race for the championship at 135 pounds. Additionally, Vicente Luque continued to defeat everyone in his way, as he knocked Michael Chiesa during the first set of their welterweight battle with a D’Arce choke. Luque improved to 14-3 in the UFC, with 13 of those wins coming by stoppage.