Recap – UFC 265 Crowns an Interim Heavyweight Champion

Whenever the UFC heavyweight championship is on the line, people will take notice. Sure, tonight it was just the interim title, but we still got to see two of the best big boys in the world go to war for the right to have a strap put around their waist. And leading up to that main event, we got a whole bunch of exciting fights with some wild results.

Let’s take a look at some of the highlights of the night and break down the three fights we looked at in our UFC 265 preview.

Prelim Highlights

In one of the early bouts, Jessica Penne took advantage of a wild scramble to put Karolina Kowalkiewicz away in the first round by locking in an armbar. It was a good matchup of styles as Penne wanted that fight on the floor and she got what she wanted. That led to a big win for the slight underdog.

In the light heavyweight division, Alonzo Menifield and Ed Herman put on quite a show, trading big shots back and forth for the full 15 minutes. The difference maker though was the calf kicks from Menifield that essentially chopped Herman’s left leg out from under him. He still managed to land some big punches but he was unable to stay as active as his opponent and Menifield took the decision. An entertaining win like this over a very game veteran like Herman puts Menifield in a very good position.

In the final fight before the main card, Bobby Green and Rafael Fiziev put on quite a show. This was a perfect matchup stylistically, with an ultra aggressive volume striker against a guy who keeps his hands low and knows as well as anyone how to roll with the punches and throw counters. The crowd got fired up for this one and for good reason. These guys traded punches back and forth for 15 minutes and shared some truly wild exchanges in the closing minutes. In the end, it was the volume and activity of Fiziev that earned him the decision.

Main Card Highlights

In the first fight of the main card, Song Yadong and Casey Kenney kept the energy going with a very active fight on the feet. Kenney was the aggressor for most of this contest but it was the counters of Song that did most of the damage. Specifically, he busted Kenney up with body kicks throughout the three rounds but nothing ever really landed hard enough to finish the fight. Song earned a very close split decision victory, with which the fans in Houston did not agree.

Two of the best in the women’s strawweight division faced off for a rematch when Angela Hill and Tecia Torres went to war. From start to finish, Torres was the busier and more effective striker and that allowed her to control much of this bout en route to a decision victory. Hill was able to score som points in the grappling game, but Torres was very clearly the victor here. She should be in line for a very big opportunity her next time out.

Vicente Luque def. Michael Chiesa

This was a huge fight for the future of the UFC’s welterweight division with the #5 and #6 contenders going at it. It was clear what both guys were going to look to do here. Chiesa was going to look to take the fight to the ground and overwhelm his opponent while Luque wanted to stay on the feet and use his explosive striking. It didn’t take long for Chiesa to win that battle, scoring a big takedown about halfway through the first round. However, after surviving a couple of submission attempts, Luque managed to lock in a d’arce choke of his own and forced his opponent to tap. It was a huge win for one of the best fighters in the division and even more impressive to do it on the ground. Luque could be next in line for the welterweight crown.

My pick: Chiesa via decision

Result: Luque via 1st round submission

Jose Aldo def. Pedro Munhoz

This was a very interesting fight on paper as both of these guys had a very similar skillset. The difference maker was the fact that Aldo continuously and quite literally beat Munhoz to the punch. Every attack was just quicker and crisper for Aldo and while Munhoz landed many strikes of his own, it was Aldo that seemed to win every exchange. He especially truend it on in the final round, landing multiple big combinations and drawing big reactions from the crowd. Credit Munhoz for his toughness because he took some huge shots but never stopped coming. In the end though, it was Aldo who scored the decision victory and he will certainly be looking for a big fight his next time out. Perhaps one more title run is in the cards for the legend of the sport.

My pick: Aldo via decision

Result: Aldo via decision

Cyril Gane def. Derrick Lewis

With recently-crowned heavyweight champ Francis Ngannou dealing with an injury, the UFC decided to hand out an interim championship. Two of the very best contender the sport has to offer stepped into the octagon to take advantage of the massive opportunity and put on a show and they did not disappoint.

The elite athleticism of Gane. The one-punch knockout power of Lewis. This was another fun matchup stylistically, where we knew exactly what both guys wanted to do. Gane tried to keep at kicking range while Lewis tried to get inside and land one big bomb. But it was the superior and downright freakish athleticism and fight IQ of Gane that proved to be too much for Lewis. He chopped at the lead leg of his opponent until finally really hurting him in the third round. Once he saw that, Gane pounced and from there it didn’t take long for him to put Lewis away. The win gives us the first ever UFC champion from France and sets up an incredibly exciting fight between former teammates when Ngannou returns.

My pick: Gane via 4th round knockout

Result: Gane via 3rd round knockout

The UFC will return to ESPN on Saturday, August 21 for UFC Fight Night: Cannonier vs. Gastelum. Be sure to check back for a preview of the event.

Mike Mack
Mack is the Editorial Director for Marvel and ESPN content and he has covered comic cons, theme park events, video game showcases and other fun events. He is a fan of theme parks, sports, movies, Marvel Comics and is a self-proclaimed "nerd."