On August 7, the Ultimate Fighting Championship returns to Texas for UFC 265 and a championship double-header in Houston’s Toyota Center. The 13-fight card is headlined by a heavyweight title fight no one expected, as second-ranked star Derrick Lewis will battle third-ranked Frenchman Ciryl Gane for interim gold. There was a great deal of controversy surrounding the booking since new champion Francis Ngannou just won the title in March, and his management team claims he was negotiating to defend his thrown in September. Now, the Cameroonian giant will have to wait a while longer for his first title defense.
In the co-main event, the top pound-for-pound female fighter on earth, and two-division champion, Amanda Nunes takes on the challenge of the endless gas tank and grinding wrestling of Julianna Pena. The card also features pivotal matchups in the welterweight and featherweight top 10 between Michael Chiesa and Vicente Luque, and 145-pound legend Jose Aldo against Pedro Munhoz.
Where to watch UFC 265 on August 7
- The card kicks off at 6 pm ET with the preliminary fights, and will be simulcast on ESPN and ESPN+
- Main card pay-per-view action starts at 10 pm ET and will stream exclusively on ESPN+
UFC 265 fight card
UFC 265: Appointment television fights
Derrick Lewis vs. Ciryl Gane
It’s the title fight no one asked for, but Lewis versus Gane is still a fascinating matchup. Both are massive heavyweights with the ability to turn the lights out on their opponents. Where the divide between the two lies is in technique and power. “Bon Gamin” is arguably the most skilled kickboxer in the division, and showed last month against Alexander Volkov that he can win a five-round points fight as well.
Derrick Lewis is the opposite of that. The 21-fight UFC veteran, and resident “Black Beast,” is an absolute crushing machine. He is a fantastic athlete for his size, however, mastery of striking techniques is not his strong point. On paper, Gane should win because he is a more gifted striker, but Lewis has made a career of proving doubters wrong with the not-of-this-world power he has in his hands.
Amanda Nunes vs. Julianna Pena
Nunes is a big favorite in this fight, and with good reason. She is the best female fighter in MMA history. Furthermore, Pena does not enter the fight on the heels of a dominant win streak. She’s actually split her last four fights. The UItimate Fighter season 18 winner has this opportunity because she talked her way into the fight by offering top-five talent and a fresh face to challenge “Lioness.”
Pena is the rare Nunes foe that does offer something different from past opponents, in a grappling heavy and cardio testing style. However, if she can’t get the bantamweight champion to the mat early and often, it could be a long night for “The Venezuelan Vixen.”
Vicente Luque vs. Michael Chiesa
Moving up to welterweight from lightweight was the best decision of Chiesa’s career. Since the switch, The Ultimate Fighter season 15 champion has won four straight and is in striking distance of title contention. The fifth-ranked 170-pounder proved a lot about his staying power in his recent victories over Rafael dos Anjos and Neil Magny. He will get another top 10 litmus test against Vicente Luque at UFC 265.
Luque has been a stalwart of the welterweight rankings for the last couple of years. He too is in the midst of a hot streak. Winning his last three following a tough setback to Stephen Thompson at UFC 244 in 2019. Chiesa offers Luque an attack he has not seen often during his run in the Octagon in a dangerous grappler. While the Brazilian has a style similar to what “Maverick” has seen in the past, the question in this fight is can Luque differ from Magny and dos Anjos, shut down Chiesa’s grappling, and skip ahead of him in line towards contending for champion Kamaru Usman’s title in the near future.