Best bets for UFC 265: Derrick Lewis vs. Ciryl GaneESPN PLUS ($ MATERIAL)
The UFC 265 main event features an interim heavyweight title fight between Derrick Lewis and Ciryl Gane. The true heavyweight champion, Francis Ngannou, will be watching as one of those two state their claim for an upcoming title shot.
Amanda Nunes was also scheduled to be on this card, but after a COVID diagnosis her bout was scrapped. At this point, we're used to strange things happening to fight cards, but Saturday night's collection of fights isn't all that bad. We're left with an interim heavyweight championship between top contenders and a stacked card full of ranked fighters, former title challengers and even one former champ.
From an action standpoint, there are a few must-see fights on this card. But where's the betting value? Let's find out.
Interim heavyweight title fight: No. 2 Derrick Lewis (+270) vs. No. 3 Ciryl Gane (-340)
Tale Of The Tape
|DERRICK LEWIS||CIRYL GANE|
|Last fight weight class||Heavyweight||Heavyweight|
|Stand-up striking offense|
|Total knockdown ratio (scored:received)||7:2||2:0|
|Distance knockdown rate||4.7%||1.1%|
|Head jab accuracy||25%||37%|
|Head power accuracy||28%||36%|
|Total stand-up strike ratio||1.0||1.3|
|Total head strike defense||64%||80%|
|Distance knockdown defense ("Chin")||98%||100%|
|Wrestling and grappling|
|TD attempts per min standing/clinch||0.18||0.26|
|Advances per takedown/top control||1.9||0.4|
|Opponent takedown attempts||77||3|
|Share of total ground time in control||30%||97%|
|Submission attempts per trip to ground||0.00||0.40|
When Gane defeated Alexander Volkov in his last outing, he did so against one of the better technical strikers in the division. That cements his transition from professional Muay Thai kickboxing to MMA, and suggests that it will take a lot of power, and maybe a bit of luck, to defeat him on the feet.
Coincidentally, that's exactly what Lewis brings to the table. It's also just about the only thing he brings to the table. Lewis either lands big shots, or eventually slows down and gets finished himself. Against a proven five-round fighter, Lewis's only path is a KO. However, given Gane's striking background, and excellent strike avoidance to date (even against far more skilled distance strikers than Lewis), Gane seems well positioned to avoid a fight altering punch, or at least weather the early storm. If he can do that, the fight then will stay wherever he wants it.
Gane can win rounds from a distance, but he's also attempted more takedowns than you might expect from a heavyweight striker. And at just 55%, Lewis's takedown defense probably won't stand up to any sustained effort from Gane to take the fight down. If that happens, Gane will have all the advantages from top control.
Whether it's an accumulation of damage, a vicious body blow, or even a surprise submission, Gane has numerous paths to victory on top of being the better standup striker who wins round to round.
E+ recommends: Moneyline play on Gane, even at three-to-one or more. Consider a small play on Gane Inside the Distance at a much more affordable price.
Best bets elsewhere on the cardFor a far more affordable favorite, consider bantamweight Casey Kenney against Song Yadong. Kenney recently came up short in a split decision against another former champion, Dominick Cruz. But on paper, Kenney is the more balanced fighter compared to Song, as Kenney comes from a wrestling base that he's only mildly utilized to date.
Still, Kenney will be the more likely fighter to change levels, while the standup a near tossup. With similar offensive striking metrics, the defense favors Kenney to stay out of trouble, though neither has been damaged much in their careers to date.
This is also a potential fight of the night contender, given the blistering pace both are capable of throwing.
E+ recommends: Moneyline play on Kenney.
For a potential upset, consider Pedro Munhoz against former champion Jose Aldo. Munhoz is only a mild underdog, and I'm actually surprised the numbers lean his way. But on paper he's similarly matched with Aldo in striking metrics, and will be the busier striker. Munhoz is also more assertive on the ground, and is the more likely one in this fight to change levels.
As with Kenney's matchup, it's close on paper, and it could be a barnburner. Yet this time it's the underdog that offers the better return.
E+ recommends: Moneyline lean on Munhoz at plus money.