HOUSTON — Ciryl Gane stopped Derrick Lewis with a flurry of ground-and-pound strikes within the third spherical at UFC 265 on Saturday evening, profitable an interim UFC heavyweight title and the following shot at champion Francis Ngannou.
Simply over three years after Gane (10-0) made his blended martial arts debut, the Frenchman dominated the championship bout on the Toyota Heart in Lewis’ hometown.
Gane was booed vociferously from the second he stepped onto the sector ground, however he largely averted each strike thrown by the slower, extra deliberate Lewis earlier than hurting the veteran and ending him on the bottom.
Gane is all however assured to be the following opponent for Ngannou, who gained the precise UFC heavyweight title solely 4 months in the past by beating Stipe Miocic. The UFC’s determination to award an interim belt was met with derision round MMA, however Gane’s victory units up the title matchup that most likely would have occurred anyway.
The favored Lewis (25-8) had gained 4 straight fights over the previous two years, revitalizing his hopes of profitable his first UFC title. However he misplaced to Daniel Cormier in his solely earlier title shot three years in the past, and he gave the impression to be overmatched in opposition to Gane.
Gane received a title shot in simply his seventh UFC bout, capping his meteoric rise from a powerful muay thai profession to the top of MMA. Gane even accepted this combat whereas his spouse was because of give beginning in lower than two weeks.
Lewis could not get a hand on Gane within the opening two rounds, improbably touchdown simply two important strikes. Gane was way more athletic and elusive than the 36-year-old Lewis, whose success has at all times been constructed on touchdown energy photographs to make up for his athletic deficiencies.
Gane picked aside Lewis within the first two rounds, and he damage the veteran with an uppercut and a knee early within the third.
On the undercard, former featherweight champ Jose Aldo beat fellow Brazilian Pedro Munhoz by unanimous determination for his first back-to-back victories in 2 1/2 years. Welterweight Vicente Luque gained a back-and-forth grappling match with Michael Chiesa within the first spherical, touchdown a D’Arce choke moments after practically being submitted himself.