UFC 265 went down last night (Sat., Aug. 7, 2021) inside Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, which played host to an interim Heavyweight title fight that saw Ciryl Gane knockout Derrick Lewis in round three (see it here). In further action, Jose Aldo defeated Pedro Munhoz via unanimous decision in a thrilling Bantamweight scrap (recap here).
Winner: Ciryl Gane
Who He Should Face Next: Francis Ngannou
With an interim title being created for this fight, Gane will face Francis Ngannou next in a title unification bout, perhaps later this year. It’s a fight between two former training partners who both started their mixed martial arts (MMA) journey in France. Since he’s already spent time sparring with him inside the cage, Gane has a good feel for what the champ brings with him, though the intensity is elevated once it’s for real. Plus, Ngannou has learned some new tricks with his new team, so it won’t be the same “Predator” of old. This fight also has major big-money implications because the winner could be defending the strap against Jon Jones sometime in 2022.
Winner: Jose Aldo
Who He Should Face Next: Rob Font
Aldo picked up his second straight win in the stacked Bantamweight division after starting off his quest in his new weight class with two straight defeats. In the process, Aldo reminded everyone that he is far from done because he looked fresh as ever at the age of (almost) 35, going toe-to-toe with a great striker, getting the better of him time after time. It’s not too far-fetched to believe “Junior” can compete for the 135-pound strap. But, if he wants to get there, he will eventually have to get through Font, who is ranked above him at No. 4. A fight against Corey Sandhagen (No. 3) doesn’t make sense since he is coming off a loss, and T.J. Dillashaw will be out of action for a while. Plus, when he gets back he will probably fight for the strap, which will be defended by Aljamain Sterling against Petr Yan at UFC 267. Font has won four in a row and is looking for a big challenge to prove he’s ready to contend for the title, and they don’t get any bigger than Aldo at the moment. If Jose can stop Font’s momentum, a title fight should be next.
Winner: Vicente Luque
Who He Should Face Next: Covington vs Usman loser ... Jorge Masvidal?
Luque thwarted several of Michael Chiesa’s submission attempts to lock in his own, finishing “Maverick’s” run in the first round with an impressive d’arce choke. He has now won four in a row and is back on track for a shot at the title, much like he was before running into Stephen Thompson. As far as what’s next for him, it’s a bit tricky. I’d dig a fight between him and Gilbert Burns but they are currently training partners and aren’t too keen on fighting one another. He lost to Thompson (No. 4), and Leon Edwards (No. 3) will probably face the winner of Woodley vs. Covington. So without matching up Luque with someone below him, the only viable option is to face the loser of Usman vs. Covington. A win over either man should earn him a shot at the strap because he’ll either be facing the former long-time champion or an ex-interim belt holder who is also a two-time title contender. If not, perhaps Jorge Masvidal would be a good fight for Luque.
Winner: Tecia Torres
Who She Should Face Next: Yan Xiaonan
Torres picked up her third straight win in the Strawweight division, defeating Angela Hill a second time, closing that chapter of her life once and for all. Up next for “Tiny Tornado,” a fight against Xiaonan makes sense. Sure, Yan is coming off a tough loss to Carla Esparza, but it was her first defeat in a decade. Plus, she is ranked No. 4 and a win over her would be huge for Torres’ title fight aspirations.
Winner: Song Yadong
Who He Should Face Next: Miles Johns
Yadong got back on the winning track by escaping “H-Town” with a split decision win over Casey Kenney, improving his record to 6-1-1 so far inside the Octagon. So why not put him up against another streaking Bantamweight who also picked up a huge win last night in the form of Johns? “Chapo” scored a spectacular third round knockout over Anderson dos Santos, (see it here), giving him his second such win in a row. Overall, Johns is 3-1 inside the Octagon, improving to 12-1 as a professional. It’s a great fight between two surging 135-pounders looking to stake their claim in perhaps the deepest division UFC has at the moment.
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