Lewis vs. Gane has been confirmed as the main event for UFC 265 on August 7, UFC president Dana White tells ESPN‘s Brett Okamoto.
Derrick Lewis (25-7) will fight Ciryl Gane (9-0) for the interim heavyweight championship after current titleholder, Francis Ngannou, says he is unable to defend the title by August. White told Okamoto that he feels both fighters are deserving of a title shot.
Ngannou Unable to Defend Title
UFC expected Francis Ngannou (16-3) to defend his title by August, but after confirming that he is unable to fulfil that obligation, White confirmed the Lewis vs. Gane bout as the UFC 265 main event. This comes just four months after Ngannou won the title.
In March, Ngannou won the title at UFC 260 after a brutal Round 2 KO against Stipe Miocic. After the victory, White announced Lewis would be the first to challenge Ngannou for his belt.
Marquel Martin, Ngannou’s agent, told ESPN, “This comes as a complete shock. To make an interim title so soon, if you look at the history of this division, it comes as a surprise. Francis is just now returning to the States to begin training, and he just won the title three months ago. We’re unsure of what the reasoning is behind this, but we hope to get clarity and figure out something with the UFC soon. At the end of the day, they’re in control of these decisions.”
MMA World “Shocked” Over Lewis vs. Gane Decision
The news shocked many others in the MMA world, including Ariel Helwani and Ben Askren who retweeted the news on his personal account with the quote, “What a swerve.”
Backing Martin’s statement to ESPN, Miocic defended his belt in a trilogy against Daniel Cormier in July 2018, August 2019, and August 2020, with no interim title fights between the cards.
Looking at Lewis vs. Gane
Lewis defeated Ngannou at UFC 226 in July 2016. He currently comes to the Octagon riding a four-fight winning streak, most recently earning a victory against Curtis Blaydes in February.
No. 3 ranked Gane hopes to maintain his undefeated status with the UFC. The French phenom most recently defeated Alexander Volkov via unanimous decision at UFC Vegas 30 on June 26, 2021.
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