The Toyota Center in Houston, Texas was home to a great night of fights at UFC 265: Lewis vs. Gane. The card saw four (T)KOs, three submissions and six decisions, including one split-decision.
The early prelims opened with Johnny Munoz Jr defeating Jamey Simmons by rear-naked choke midway through the second round to kick off a night filled with exciting moments. Melissa Gatto finished Victoria Leonardo by TKO (doctor stoppage) at the end of round two after Leonardo’s arm was likely broken. Miles Johns destroyed Anderson dos Santos by massive hammer in the third round after tuning him up for most of the fight. Dos Santos had some moments, but according to his corner, he came in with an injured knee. Manel Kape logged his first octagon win with a sensational flying knee-punches combo that stopped Ode Osbourne at the end of round 1 to round out this portion of the card.
The regular prelims started with Jessica Penne gaining her second-straight win when she submitted Karolina Kowalkiewicz with an armbar in round 1. Alonzo Menifield and Ed Herman’s fight surprisingly went the distance, but it was one-way traffic for Menifield who took the unanimous decision nod. Vince Morales defeated Drako Rodriguez via unanimous decision after a tough battle. The featured prelim saw Rafael Fiziev and Bobby Green put on a very entertaining scrap, that saw Fiziev score massively with nasty body kicks and Green gut it out, often returning fire and having an outstanding third round. In the end it would be Fiziev that would take the unanimous decision.
The main card kicked off with a wildly entertaining scrap between Song Yadong and Casey Kenney. Yadong battered Kenney’s body and face with hard shots, taking him to a split-decision victory, although by my count, it should’ve been unanimous for Yadong. Tecia Torres put on a dominant performance for a second time against Angela Hill. It was a fun scrap, but Angie was outclassed for most of the fight and Torres took the unanimous decision as a result. Vicente Luque fought off a tight neck crank to score a D’arce choke submission victory over Michael Chiesa. That’s a great argument for him to get the winner of Usman-Covington II.
The co-main event saw a masterclass from Jose Aldo. He had a close round one with Pedro Munhoz, but rounds two and three were much more clear. Munhoz lacked urgency and couldn’t compete with Aldo’s pace. Great performance from The King of Rio.
The main event saw Cyril Gane outclass Derrick Lewis all three rounds it lasted, but he was faster, more aggressive and more defensively sound. They exchanged eyepokes early on that were debated by the commentary team and Tan Dan, but they soldiered forward to the exciting conclusion that saw Cyril Gane just destroy Lewis for the last couple minutes of the third, ultimately taking the TKO just before the horn in that round. Gane is the new interim heavyweight champion. Bring on Big Franci!
Performance of the Night: Penne, Luque, Johns, Gane (White: “F— it, Ciryl gets $50,000” at post-event presser, per Marc Raimondi)
Johnny Munoz Jr def. Jamey Simmons by submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:35 of round 2, Melissa Gatto def. Victoria Leonardo by TKO (doctor stoppage) at 5:00 of round 2, Miles Johns def. Anderson dos Santos by KO (punch) at 1:16 of round 3, Manel Kape def. Ode Osbourne by KO (flying knee and punches) at 4:44 of round 1, Jessica Penne def. Karolina Kowalkiewicz by submission (armbar) at 4:32 of round 1, Vicente Luque def. Michael Chiesa via Sub (D’arce) at 3:25 of Round 1, and Ciryl Gane def. Derrick Lewis via TKO (punches) at 4:11 of Round 3 all finished their fights inside the distance, but it would be Jessica Penne, Vicente Luque, Miles Johns AND Cyril Gane taking the bonuses tonight.
Fight of the Night: Rafael Fiziev vs. Bobby Green
Alonzo Menifield defeated Ed Herman via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27), Vince Morales defeated Drako Rodriguez via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27), Rafael Fizeiv defeated Bobby Green via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28), Song Yadong defeated Casey Kinney via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27), Tecia Torres defeated Angela Hill via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28), and Jose Aldo defeated Pedro Munhoz via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) all heard the final horn but it would be the marvelous battle between Rafael Fiziev and Bobby Green that would take fight of the night honors.