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Derrick Lewis vs Ciryl Gane set for interim title at UFC 265, Francis Ngannou’s team shocked

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Ngannou’s team is reportedly shocked by the news that Derrick Lewis vs. Ciryl Gane will headline UFC 265 for the interim Heavyweight title.

Francis Ngannou at UFC 260 Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Francis Ngannou will have to sit on the sidelines at UFC 265 and watch Derrick Lewis vs. Ciryl Gane compete for the interim Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight title, according to company President, Dana White.

ESPN’s Brett Okamoto reported on Monday that White has settled for the unlikely showdown to headline UFC 265, which takes place on Sat., Aug. 7, 2021, via ESPN+ pay-per-view (PPV). And it’s unlikely because Ngannou — who just lifted the strap of Stipe Miocic back in March — was reportedly unavailable to defend his title against Lewis in June or August.

Ngannou’s management was shocked to learn of the news, according to Okamoto, and will be following up with UFC.

“This comes as a complete shock,” Ngannou’s agent, Marquel Martin, told Okamoto. “To make an interim title so soon, if you look at the history of this division, it comes as a surprise. We hope to get clarity and figure out something with the UFC soon.”

Lewis (No. 2) is currently riding a four-fight win streak with finishes over Curtis Blaydes and Aleksei Olenik. Gane (No. 3) enters the fight on a perfect 9-0 career run, most recently beating Alexander Volkov via unanimous decision at UFC Vegas 30 on Sat., June 26, 2021 (full results here).

UFC 265 takes place on Sat., Aug. 7, 2021, via ESPN+ PPV. The card will be headlined by Derrick Lewis vs. Ciryl Gane for the UFC interim Heavyweight title and also boasts Amanda Nunes vs. Julianna Pena for UFC women’s Bantamweight strap.

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