Ciryl Gane has vowed to be a fighter who accepts any opponent at any time, and the undefeated heavyweight prospect kept his word by agreeing to fight Derrick Lewis for the interim title Saturday in the main event of UFC 265 in Houston. The main UFC 265 fight card is set for 10 p.m. ET from the Toyota Center. The third-ranked Gane already has fought twice in 2021 and went the distance just six weeks ago in a victory over seasoned veteran Alexander Volkov. But the French fighter told the media this week there was no way he was turning down a chance to fight for the interim belt despite the short notice. The second-ranked Lewis is coming off a knockout win over Curtis Blaydes in February.
Gane is a -380 favorite (risk $380 to win $100), while Lewis comes back at +310 in the latest Gane vs. Lewis odd from Caesars Sportsbook. Elsewhere on the UFC 265 odds board, bantamweight contenders take the spotlight as former champion and fifth-ranked Jose Aldo (-130) battles ninth-ranked veteran Pedro Munhoz (+110). Before making any UFC 265 picks, make sure you check out the MMA predictions from SportsLine insider Ian Parker.
A former fighter who's been in the industry for more than 15 years, Parker has managed some of the world's best, including former UFC middleweight champ Chris Weidman, Costas Philippou and Gian Villante. Parker trained alongside UFC Hall of Famer Matt Serra. Now, Parker breaks down fights and makes betting picks for the Voice of the UFC, Jon Anik.
Parker is coming off a mind-boggling 2020 season. On the Anik & Florian Podcast, Parker went an astounding 58-14, returning $9,465 to $100 bettors who followed him. He hit 11 of his 17 underdog picks and 19 of 30 main events. Overall, Parker nailed an astonishing 81 percent of his plays.
The revered MMA analyst continues to build on a massively profitable 2021 campaign for SportsLine members. He produced a 10-1 record at UFC 264 that netted his followers a profit of nearly $900. He's also posted a record of 21-9 on 2021 Bellator fights to bring his followers another $900 of profit. Anyone who has followed him has seen huge returns.
Now, with UFC 265 rapidly approaching, Parker has carefully studied the MMA odds and matchups from every angle and released his top selections. A successful parlay of these picks would result in a payout of nearly 9-1. You can only see these picks at SportsLine.
UFC 265: Lewis vs. Gane preview
Parker knows the UFC 265 main event is essentially a title eliminator in disguise, with the winner likely to take over the No. 1 ranking from former champion Stipe Miocic and become the next opponent for sitting champion Francis Ngannou.
Lewis was widely believed to be the next opponent for Ngannou but that fight was scrapped when the titleholder told the UFC he wouldn't be ready for a fight in early August. The promotion changed course and went with Lewis vs. Gane for the interim title. Putting a belt on the line gives the fighters greater compensation and also makes them eligible for pay-per-view points in future title matches.
The power-punching and jovial Lewis (25-7-1) has long been a fan favorite because of his knockout power and humor-filled interviews. The Houston native has faced some of the division's biggest names and has a decision win over Ngannou to his credit.
However, the 36-year-old Lewis is likely coming off the best performance of his career, when he knocked out rising contender Curtis Blaydes with a counter-punch in the second round of their February fight in Las Vegas. Blaydes was a 4-1 favorite and ranked No. 2 at the time, but has since slid to the No. 4 spot.
Gane (9-0) is a soft-spoken French fighter whose athleticism and varied skill set quickly caught the attention of UFC brass. He was signed in August 2019 and immediately won his first two fights by stoppage. His decision win over fellow prospect Tanner Boser in December 2019 moved Gane into the top-15 rankings and he has since made a rapid ascent.
However, his first two appearances of 2021 left something to be desired, although both main events resulted in victories. The 31-year-old appeared hesitant and lackluster but managed decision wins over contenders Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Alexander Volkov. You can only see who to pick here.
UFC 265 predictions
We'll reveal one of Parker's UFC 265 selections here: He is siding with Michael Chiesa (+110) to get his hand raised against Vicente Luque (-130) in a matchup of ranked welterweights on the main card that could have title-shot implications for the winner.
The No. 5-ranked Chiesa (18-4) is a ground-game savant who has seen massive success since moving up to welterweight from lightweight, where he regularly struggled to meet the 155-pound limit. He lost his last two fights at lightweight but has gone undefeated in four appearances at welterweight to rocket upward in the rankings. The 33-year-old is coming off a dominant decision win against fellow top-10 contender Neil Magny in January.
Luque (20-7-1) is noted as a fearsome striker who has logged some of the division's most vicious knockouts in recent memory. He has won nine of his 10, with the lone setback coming against veteran contender Stephen Thompson. The 29-year-old Brazilian submitted former champion Tyron Woodley in a March battle that earned both combatants a Fight of the Night bonus.
"Look for Chiesa to close the distance immediately and engage in the clinch, where he will have the advantage," Parker told SportsLine.
How to make UFC 265 picks
Parker also has strong picks for Lewis vs. Gane and other fights on the UFC 265 card. He's also backing one fighter to "push the pace early and often" and deliver an upset. Those selections are only available at SportsLine.
Who wins Lewis vs. Gane? And which fighter delivers an upset? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed top picks on UFC Fight Night, all from the ultimate insider who's up nearly $9,500 on MMA picks in the past year, and find out.
UFC 256 odds
Derrick Lewis (-310) vs. Ciryl Gane (-380)
Jose Aldo (-130) vs. Pedro Munhoz (+110)
Michael Chiesa (+110) vs. Vicente Luque (-130)
Tecia Torres (-135) vs. Angela Hill (+115)
Song Yadong (-110) vs. Casey Kenney (-110)
Rafael Fiziev (-345) vs. Bobby Green (+285)
Vince Morales (+100) vs. Drako Rodriguez (-120)
Alonzo Menifield (-240) vs. Ed Herman (+200)
Karolina Kowalkiewicz (-125) vs. Jessica Penne (+105)
Manel Kape (-200) vs. Ode Osbourne (+170)
Miles Johns (-200) vs. Anderson Dos Santos (+175)
Melissa Gatto (-130) vs. Victoria Leonardo (+110)
Johnny Munoz (-230) vs. Jamey Simmons (+195)