UFC 265: Main talking points
This weekend saw UFC 265 take place in Houston, Texas. The main event saw the crowning of France’s first UFC champion in Ciryl Gane. The Frenchman’s flawless performance saw him claim the Interim heavyweight title over Derrick Lewis. While a new star emerged in the heavyweight division in Gane, the co-main saw Jose Aldo roll back the years against Pedro Munhoz. Meanwhile, Vicente Luque made the welterweight division take notice with his first-round submission over Michael Chiesa.
Ciryl Gane is a problem for everyone
Ciryl Gane dominated hometown hero Derrick Lewis to capture UFC gold on Saturday. Gane outclassed Lewis with his leg kicks and ability to keep Lewis at distance, finishing him in the third round via TKO. While much controversy surrounded the bout, Gane has now set himself up with a mouth-watering clash against Francis Ngannou.
Ciryl Gane’s rise has been nothing short of sensational. Having only started MMA three years ago, Gane has comfortably overcome every obstacle in his way. The likes of Gane have not been seen at heavyweight. His movement is like a middleweight, while his technical ability is far greater than any other heavyweight.
Gane used his technical ability to stop Lewis. His movement and ability to keep Lewis at a distance meant Lewis could never land the powerful knockout blow he’s known for. The difference in output showed Gane’s dominance, landing 116 significant strikes to Lewis’s 16. Gane is a puzzle the division is yet to solve, with his unique style and variety of strikes proving too much for his opponents.
The sky is the limit for Gane. Depending on the COVID-19 pandemic, a title unification bout in France could be a possibility. Illegal till recently in the country, Gane is the perfect fighter to promote the sport. At 31 and only getting better, Gane is a problem for everyone at heavyweight.
However, his biggest test is yet to come in Francis Ngannou. The frightening power of Ngannou has made him feared across the division. Given the circumstances that surrounded this interim belt, Ngannou will look to remind everyone why he’s the champion in what should be a fascinating match-up. The power of Ngannou against the movement and technicality of Gane.
Jose Aldo proves he’s still a contender
In the co-main event, Jose Aldo rolled back the years with a clinical display in the victory over Pedro Munhoz. In a similar clash of styles, it was Aldo who implemented his game plan to greater effect to seal the victory. At the age of 34, Aldo has shown he can still compete at the highest level.
Despite being past his prime, Aldo has shown no signs of slowing down. The speed of his striking reminded fans of his glory days. Aldo used his counter striking and defensive qualities to gain the decision victory over Munhoz. Aldo’s heavy body shots and trademark leg kicks stopped the momentum of Munhoz and helped Aldo take control of the exchanges.
Aldo has now put himself back into title contention following his first back-to-back wins in the bantamweight division. Following his victory, Aldo called out former champion Tj Dillashaw, floating the idea of December as a possible date. However, with Dillashaw currently injured and expecting a title shot on his return, a clash with Aldo may not interest him. A clash with Rob Font or Cory Sandhagen could put Aldo in the mix for another title shot.
Luque makes welterweights take notice.
Vicente Luque was hoping to get the attention of the welterweight contenders on Saturday and succeeded. Not only did he escape Michael Chiesa’s submission attempt, but he also turned his position to submit Chiesa with a D’arce choke in the first round.
Luque has been quietly going about his business at welterweight. With 10 wins in his last eleven, Luque has shown he’s a problem for anyone at 170. His powerful striking mixed with the ability to pull off a submission makes him guaranteed entertainment. Saturday showed another example of Luque’s mentality of not knowing when he’s defeated. Looking like seconds from defeat, Luque somehow turned the fight around to secure another victory at UFC 265.
While Luque’s ability is undeniable, he hasn’t received the attention he deserves. A quick finish was needed to put everyone on notice and that’s just what he achieved. In doing so, the champion Kamaru Usman responded to his victory. Usman tweeted shortly after the bout: “You looked great my man we might be dancing soon”. Usman has hinted at fresh opponents for some time now. Luque is arguably the most exciting contender at welterweight, so a title shot may be a real possibility.