HOUSTON — Derrick Lewis, who will headline Saturday’s UFC 265 main event against Ciryl Gane, got his first UFC title shot three years ago against Daniel Cormier. The self-deprecating slugger mocked himself — and his heavyweight peers — ahead of that bout.
“If I’m the champion, the whole UFC division should be ashamed of themselves for a guy that had no damn skills being the champion,” Lewis said at the time. “They should all just go relocate somewhere. … Have you seen my fights? Have you seen my technique?”
Cormier beat Lewis at UFC 230 in November 2018 via second-round submission, but since then, the man who calls himself “The Black Beast” has improved immensely. He has won four straight, and Saturday he’ll get another shot at UFC gold when he fights for the interim heavyweight title at Toyota Center.
The card is built around Lewis, a Houston resident, who combines humor with some of the most frightening knockout power in UFC history. The Lewis vs. Gane winner is expected to be next up for heavyweight champ Francis Ngannou. ESPN has Lewis and Gane ranked No. 3 and No. 4, respectively, at heavyweight.
Lewis (25-7, 1 NC) has the most KO/TKO victories in UFC heavyweight history (12). That mark also puts him in a three-way tie for the most knockouts in any division in the UFC ever, along with Vitor Belfort and Matt Brown. Lewis, 36, is coming off a second-round knockout win over Curtis Blaydes in February.
Gane (9-0) is one of the most promising up-and-coming fighters in all of the UFC. With a victory Saturday, Gane will become the first French-born fighter to win a UFC title. Gane, 31, has been training in MMA for only three years and sports an impressive 6-0 record in the UFC.
In the co-main event, a pair of bantamweight contenders will face off: MMA legend Jose Aldo and Pedro Munhoz. Aldo (29-7) is the former longtime UFC/WEC featherweight champion. Munhoz (19-5, 1 NC) has won four of his past six bouts. Also on the card, Vicente Luque meets Michael Chiesa in a battle of top welterweights, strawweight contenders Tecia Torres and Angela Hill face off and Casey Kenney takes on Song Yadong in a bout between promising up-and-coming bantamweights.
Follow live as Marc Raimondi and Brett Okamoto recap the fights from Houston or watch on ESPN+ PPV.
Still to come:
Interim heavyweight title fight: Derrick Lewis (25-7 1 NC, 16-5 UFC, +290) vs. Ciryl Gane (9-0, 6-0 UFC, -370)
Men’s bantamweight: Jose Aldo (29-7, 11-6 UFC, -120) vs. Pedro Munhoz (19-5 1 NC, 9-5 1 NC UFC, +100)
Welterweight: Michael Chiesa (18-4, 11-4 UFC, -105) vs. Vicente Luque (20-7-1, 13-3 UFC, -115)
Strawweight: Tecia Torres (12-5, 8-5 UFC, -140) vs. Angela Hill (13-9, 8-9 UFC, +120)
Men’s bantamweight: Song Yadong (16-5-1 1 NC, 5-1-1 UFC, +100) vs. Casey Kenney (16-3-1, 5-2 UFC, -120)
Lightweight: Bobby Green (27-11-1, 8-6-1 UFC, +240) vs. Rafael Fiziev (9-1, 3-1 UFC, -300)
Men’s bantamweight: Vince Morales (9-5, 1-3 UFC, -105) vs. Drako Rodriguez (7-2, 0-1 UFC, -115)
Light heavyweight: Alonzo Menifield (10-2, 3-2 UFC, -240) vs. Ed Herman (27-14 1 NC, 13-10 1 NC UFC, +200)
Strawweight: Karolina Kowalkiewicz (12-6, 5-6 UFC, -135) vs. Jessica Penne (13-6, 1-3 UFC, +115)
Men’s flyweight: Manel Kape (15-6, 0-2 UFC, -200) vs. Ode’ Osbourne (9-3, 1-1 UFC, +170)
Men’s bantamweight: Miles Johns (11-1, 21- UFC, -210) vs. Anderson dos Santos (21-8, 1-2 UFC, +175)
Women’s flyweight: Victoria Leonardo (8-4, 1-1 UFC, -110) vs. Melissa Gatto (6-0-2, 0-0 UFC, -110)