On Saturday night, Ciryl Gane and Derrick Lewis clash in Houston in the main event of UFC 265 with the interim heavyweight championship on the line. It's a big fight featuring big men and there's likely to be plenty of money moving at the sportsbooks for the bout -- as well as the rest of the card.
While this may not be the strongest card UFC has ever put out, there's still plenty of intrigue filling out the undercard. This event was supposed to mark two-division champion Amanda Nunes making her return to the bantamweight division against Julianna Pena -- her first fight at 135 pounds since December 2019 -- but superstar contracted COVID-19 in the weeks leading up to the fight and was forced to withdraw. Instead, a pair of Brazilian strikers meet in the co-main event when Jose Aldo takes on Pedro Munhoz at bantamweight. Plus, a battle for welterweight contendership gets a featured slot on the PPV when Vicente Luque takes on Michael Chiesa.
The prelims also see the return of some interesting names. Former women's strawweight title challenger Karolina Kowalkiewicz is back and moving up in weight to take on Jessica Penne at 125 pounds. Kowalkiewicz, 35, hinted at retirement following her latest loss in February 2020 to Yan Xiaonan. The defeat ran Kowalkiewicz's losing skid to four and she's dropped six of her last eight. Penne presents an interesting challenge, however, as the fellow veteran is coming off a split decision win in April that was her first Octagon appearance in four years. The win also ended a three-fight losing skid for Penne.
Caesars Sportsbook has you covered with every angle of UFC 265 to get in on the action. We're going to give you a few options to consider with this card from our favorite moneyline play, prop play and parlay play. Let's take a closer look at those picks now.
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Best moneyline pick
Casey Kenney -120 vs. Song Yadong
Kenney vs. Yadong is a great fight on paper but we learned some very important things about Kenney in his most recent fight. Kenney managed to push Dominick Cruz hard, giving the former bantamweight champion fits despite deservedly coming up on the short side of the decision. His other UFC loss came against Merab Dvalishvili, another fighter who has proven to be quality. Yadong has put on some impressive performances himself, but Kenney's fight with Cruz was a real eye-opener. If Kenney performs the same way against Yadong, he will come out of the fight with a victory.
Best prop pick
Jose Aldo to win by decision +163 vs. Pedro Munhoz
There are two major factors at play here. First, Aldo holds a significant technical edge over Munhoz. Second, Munhoz is a game fighter with excellent toughness, never being stopped in his professional career. Aldo has yet to score a stoppage at bantamweight and Munhoz is the kind of fighter who should be able to survive three rounds, even at a high pace. Munhoz will try to push the pace and ugly the fight up, but he just can't hang with Aldo on a technical level. This just all adds up to a recipe for a decision win for the former longtime featherweight champion.
Best parlay pick
Jose Aldo via decision +163, Ciryl Gane via decision +188, Alonzo Menifield -240 (+969)
It's certainly taking a big swing on a parlay that sets out at +969, but it's a swing worth taking. We've covered the logic behind Aldo and that play feels like a must-include pick in any parlay. Gane vs. Lewis is an interesting fight, but Gane taking the decision comes from thinking there will be some slow rounds early as the Frenchman looks to avoid Lewis' power and Lewis looks to load up a big counter. Gane is good at not getting hit clean and equally good at picking his spots to get in and out with combinations. Gane outpointing Lewis by a significant margin seems like the likely outcome of the fight unless Lewis gasses out and becomes more vulnerable late.
Menifield is taking on Ed Herman, who has managed to stick around the UFC almost exclusively since 2006, with only one fight in Strikeforce in the middle of his two runs in the Octagon. Herman has done so by managing to bring himself back from a host of losses and just remain on the fringe of cut lists. He's now rattled off three straight victories but Menifield is a different animal. Menifield is a big finisher and the kind of fighter that gives Herman fits. Herman's biggest chance at victory would be if Menifield gasses out, which has been a problem in the past, but he has the game to overwhelm Herman and is a -240 favorite for a reason.
If you are uncomfortable with getting in on the title fight based on the volatility of heavyweight fights, consider swapping out the Gane via decision pick for Vicente Luque to beat Michael Chiesa at -120. That would set your overall parlay at +582.
Who wins Lewis vs. Gane? And which fighter delivers an upset? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed top picks on UFC 265, all from the ultimate insider who's up nearly $9,500 on MMA picks in the past year, and find out.