The UFC is back with another stacked event on August the 7th, 2021, when UFC 265 headlined by Derrick Lewis and Ciryl Gane takes place in the Houston Toyota Center. The two men involved in the main event will fight for the UFC Heavyweight Interim Championship
Here we go over the fights of UFC 265 and predict the winners while looking at some betting lines to find some valuable picks.
UFC 265 Best Bets
UFC 265 Main Card Predictions
Heavyweight Interim Championship: Ciryl Gane (-350) vs. Derrick Lewis (+280)
Bantamweight Bout: Jose Aldo (-115) vs. Pedro Munhoz (-105)
Welterweight Bout: Vicente Luque (-110) vs. Michael Chiesa (-110)
Women's Strawweight Bout: Tecia Torres (-140) vs. Angela HIll (+115)
Bantamweight Bout: Casey Kenney (-125) vs. Song Yadong (+105)
UFC 265 Main Event Prediction
Heavyweight Interim Championship
Derrick Lewis vs. Ciryl Gane Prediction
The knockout versus the decision.
Derrick 'The Black Beast' Lewis
Derrick Lewis, renowned for his crazy knockouts, gets to fight for a title for the second time in his career. ‘The Black Beast’ got his first title fight against Daniel Comier back in 2018, a fight which would end unfavorably for Lewis. Now, he has the opportunity to wrap a belt around his waist, after a four-fight win streak would elevate him to the top of the division.
Lewis, 36, is a natural power striker, evident by his 20 wins by knockouts. He has won a single fight by submission, and four fights by decision.
'The Black Beast' wants to win by counter striking. He usually hangs back and waits for his opponent to throw something, which he can then counter with his legendary power.
DERRICK LEWIS HIGHLIGHT
Since Lewis has such incredible power, he usually doesn't throw many strikes in order to conserve energy. At the same time, his opponents are very cautious of engaging him due to the danger he possess in his hands. These tendencies are reflected in his striking stats. He averages 2.59 strikes every minute, and absorbs 2.16. He lands with an accuracy of 50%, and has a striking defense of 44%.
Grappling wise, Lewis mostly works defensively. He only shoots for 0.52 takedowns every 15 minutes, and rarely attempts submissions. One of his biggest chinks in the armor is his takedown defense of 54%, yet in recent outings his anti-wrestling has held up. Against Curtis Blaydes, the best grappler in the 265-pound division, Lewis stopped all of Curtis' takedown attempts.
Lewis is 4-1 in his last five.
Ciryl 'Bon Gamin' Gane
Ciryl Gane, 31, is the most technical 245 lb man you’re ever going to see. The guy moves like someone half his size, and has a large toolbox to work with on the feet. He uses kicks, elbows, knees and every other strike you can think of to outstrike his opponents, and he prefers getting the job done by decision.
Gane is an extremely technical striker. The volume he throws makes him a rarity in the heavyweight division and he has an uncanny ability to dance around big power guys and take them to the scorecards.
CIRYL GANE HIGHLIGHT
Ciryl lands 5.13 strikes per minute while absorbing 2.60 strikes per minute on average. He lands with a 54% accuracy, and is well-versed defensively with a 63% striking defense.
Gane is very well-rounded, and can handle himself on the ground. He averages 0.82 takedowns per 15 minutes, and has a 21% takedown accuracy. Defensively, Gane has never been taken to the mat, and has a perfect takedown defense of 100%. He attempts 0.3 submission every three rounds, and has two 'sub wins in the UFC.
Gane is 5-0 in his last five, and has yet to taste defeat as a mixed martial artist.
So who wins? Lewis is obviously at a disadvantage in a point fight. However, he has shown before that he can lose 90% of a fight and win via last-second knockout. But can he do that against Gane?
It depends on how much space Gane will give Lewis. If he fights too cautiously, he might run into something big off Lewis at some point. That’s because giving Lewis space and giving him the center of the octagon allows him to fight in his preferred positions. Gane was perhaps too cautious in his last fight, which is why he got touched up a little bit by Volkov, at least more than we’re used to seeing Gane get hit.
Gane needs to establish himself as an authority in the octagon, and put Lewis on the back foot. Go back and watch Volkov completely dismantle Lewis for three rounds, and proceed to throw it all away in the end when giving Lewis some space to work with.
I know the narrative is that Lewis has a chance as an underdog, but Lewis actually does have a chance here as an underdog, and not just because of a lucky punch. Gane has some defensive tendencies that might cause him trouble against big punchers such as Lewis.
All in all, this fight being in the heavyweight division means everything for Lewis. In any other division, I’d pick Gane without a moment’s hesitation, but because of Gane’s overly defensive tendencies I think Lewis has a good shot here.
On the ground, Lewis has shown great defensive improvements in recent outings. His strength makes him very hard to keep down, and most heavyweight grapplers tend to gas out if they try to chain wrestle. I don't see Gane attempting more than a few takedowns.
Gane's reach advantage of two inches is statistically insignificant. His best chance of winning is to pressure Lewis and look for a finish with body kicks. I just don't think he wants to throw himself into range. He's too cautious, which is unfortunate for him because it might cost him the fight against Lewis.
Since I'm already leaning toward Lewis who is the underdog, it makes sense to go with him for the pick. He has a ton of historical betting upside as the 'dog in his UFC career - and of course he gets it done with a signature knockout.
Jose Aldo vs. Pedro Munhoz Prediction
After coming up short in a 135 lb fight for the title against Petr Yan, Aldo recently got back in the win column with a unanimous decision over Marlon Vera. Now it’s time for the Featherweight GOAT to show if he still has what it takes to compete at the highest level of MMA.
Jose 'Junior' Aldo
34-year old Jose Aldo has done it all. He conquered the UFC 145-pound division in his early twenties where an 18-fight win streak would leave him at G.O.A.T status. He has eight title wins under the UFC mantle.
The 5' 7'' Brazilian is renowned for his striking skills, and his leg kicks are out of this world. Furthermore, Aldo possess impeccable anti-wrestling abilities with a 91% takedown defense over 25 pro fights against the best of the best. He has only been taken down nine times.
JOSE ALDO HIGHLIGHT
Jose lands 3.45 strikes and absorbs 3.52 per minute. He strikes with a 45% accuracy and has a striking defense of 61%.
It's rare that we see Aldo willingly engaging in grappling exchanges, as he averages 0.57 takedowns and 0.1 submissions per 15 minutes.
Aldo has a reach of 70'' and fights in the orthodox stance.
Pedro 'The Young Punisher' Munhoz
Pedro Munhoz was your run-of-the-mill Bantamweight contender until a KO win over former champion Cody Garbrandt put him among the top contenders. After beating Garbrandt, Munhoz would lose two in a row, firstly dropping a unanimous decision to current Bantamweight Champion Aljamain Sterling and most recently being on the receiving end of a controversial loss to Frankie Edgar. However, in February of 2021 Munhoz bested former rival Jimmie Rivera and got back in the win column. Now it's his time to prove he can hang with the best of the best.
Munhoz, 34, is a high-volume striker averaging 5.60 strikes per minute while absorbing 5.87. He tends to throw himself into close range because he knows his chin can take whatever his opponent throws at him. It has held up so far as Munhoz has yet to taste defeat inside the distance in his 25 pro-fight career.
PEDRO MUNHOZ HIGHLIGHT
'The Young Punisher' strikes with a 43% accuracy, and does quite well defensively with a 58% striking defense.
The 5'6'' Brazilian has a reach of 65''. Like his opponent in this fight, Pedro rarely shoots for takedowns, but actually has a dangerous submission game. The 'sub is his main path to victory, and he has eight pro wins on his resume by way of submission.
Both fighters predominantly fight standing, yet Aldo made some interesting adjustments in his most recent bout that makes me favor the veteran over a guy like Pedro Munhoz. After two rounds judges had Aldo and Marlon Vera at 1-1. Round three saw a composed Aldo stick to Vera like a backpack for the majority of the round. Offensive grappling skills aren’t something we’ve seen a lot of from Aldo, so it’s interesting to see what he can do if he chooses to make grappling a part of his arsenal from here on out.
Munhoz is a power striker who prefers winning with a knockout. However, on the rare occasion that he somehow gets his opponent to the ground, he has a killer guillotine to work with. Dragging opponents down isn’t something he actively works to do though.
Given that Munhoz doesn’t go for takedowns (he has gotten four takedowns in his last 10 bouts), I think this matchup favors Aldo. He has a wealth of experience trading with some of the best strikers at 145 and 135-pounds. Jose also has a nice reach advantage of five inches which will do him very good against the more aggressive fighter. He can calmly stay at range and be the matador on Saturday.
The head movement of Aldo is very good, so Munhoz might have a bad time trying to find the target with a reach disadvantage.
All in all, Aldo is the more technical fighter, and his range and toolbox is bigger than Munhoz’ granted he uses his body shots and legendary leg kicks.
I'm going with Aldo to get the win over Pedro Munhoz at UFC 265. His five-inch reach advantage over a higher strike differential makes him a great valuable play here. Munhoz is tough to finish however, so I think Aldo beats him on the cards.
Vicente Luque vs. Michael Chiesa Prediction
This bout is the grappler versus the brawler.
A win for Vicente Luque would most likely leave him one win away from a title shot. A win for Chiesa could at the very least cement his spot among top-ranked 170-pound contenders, or leave him next in line for a title elimination bout.
Vicente 'The Silent Assassin' Luque
Vicente Luque is one of the most violent fighters on the roster. In his 20 pro wins, 18 have been finishes. At the same time, he has never finished with strikes. Luque is 20-7-1 in MMA, and 13-3 in the UFC.
Luque lands 5.74 strikes per minute and absorbs 5.87 on average. 'The Silent Assassin' lands with a 54% accuracy, and has a striking defense of 52%. He is 5'11'' tall with a reach of 75''
VICENTE LUQUE HIGHLIGHT
Grappling wise, Luque rarely shoots for takedowns, averaging 0.66 per 15 minutes, but is very dangerous on the ground with a 0.9 submission rate every three rounds.
The 29-year old Luque has a takedown defense of 65%, but is willing to give up takedowns in order to secure submissions. His most frequently utilized submission is the D'arce choke.
Michael 'Maverick' Chiesa
Chiesa is in many ways the exact opposite of Luque. A point fighter who prefers getting top position on his opponents to win going the distance. Chiesa rarely inflicts heavy amounts of damage on his opponents, and usually looks to turn his bouts into a grappling match.
The 33-year old American mixed martial artist stands 6'1'' tall with a reach of 75''. He is 18-4 in MMA and 11-4 in the UFC.
Striking is not Chiesa's preferred area of expertise evident by his low striking numbers. 'Maverick' averages only 1.89 strikes per minute and lands with a 40% accuracy. He absorbs 1.71 strikes per minute and has a striking defense of 54%.
MICHAEL CHIESA HIGHLIGHT
On the mat, Chiesa averages 0.9 submissions per 15 minutes. He gets 3.60 takedowns every three rounds, and has a 52% accuracy on his takedowns. Defensively, he stops 68% of opponents' takedowns.
Chiesa fights in the southpaw stance and has an average fight time of 9:59.
How Luque’s UFC run through the welterweight division isn’t more talked about is beyond me. He is 13-3 with wins over former Welterweight Champion Tyron Woodley, Randy Brown, and Belal Muhammad. He is the real deal.
Luque is no slouch on the ground himself, as he has a renowned submission ability. However, the wrestling aspect of his game is lacking, and he has been outwrestled before, most notably in his UFC debut against Michael Graves. However, since that fight happened six years ago, I’m sure the Brazilian has made some improvements since.
Against Chiesa who averages almost four takedowns every three rounds, Luque needs to decide whether he wants to try and remain standing to get a knockout, or if he wants to go down with Chiesa and hunt for the submission. Chiesa has been susceptible to submissions before.
All in all, Luque brings an extremely violent game to the octagon when he fights, and I don’t think someone like Chiesa will be able to fight Vicente for three rounds without sustaining heavy damage. Luque’s violence gets him a late finish against a gassed Chiesa.
Going with Luque, I think it's safe to assume he gets the 'dub inside the distance, in typical Luque fashion. The guy has a finish rate of almost 100%, and Chiesa does not have the offense to establish an effective authority in the octagon. He will get finished unless he neutralizes Luque himself.
Women's Strawweight Bout
Tecia Torres vs. Angela Hill 2 Prediction
Tecia 'The Tiny Tornado' Torres
31-year old American mixed martial artist, Tecia Torres, is on a two-fight win streak. She is mainly a point-fighter, winning 10 of her 12 pro wins via decision. Torres is 12-5 in MMA and 8-5 in the UFC.
'The Tiny Tornado' stands 5'1'' tall with a reach of 60''. She lands 4.30 strikes per minute with a 47% accuracy. She absorbs 3.37 punches on average, and has a 62% striking defense.
Torres averages 0.68 takedowns and 0.1 submissions every three rounds. When she shoots for her opponents' legs, she secures the takedown 15% of the time, and when she is on the receiving end of offensive grappling exchanges, she defends takedowns 56% of the time.
Tecia is 2-3 in her last 5 and has an average fight time of 13:32.
Angela 'Overkill' Hill
13-9 MMA veteran (8-9 in the UFC) Angela Hill is an aggressive striker with high volume. She lands 5.66 punches and absorbs 4.98 per minute on average, and lands with a 50% accuracy. Defensively, she avoids 64% of her opponents' strikes.
Hill stands 5'3'' tall with a reach of 64''.
The 36-year old is best when standing. Grappling wise, she lands 0.45 takedowns with a 36% accuracy every 15 minutes. She stop 76% of opponents' takedowns and attempts 0.1 submissions every three rounds.
Hill fights in the orthodox stance with an average fight time of 13:44.
Hill and Torres face each other for the second time on the UFC 265 card. Torres won the first fight via unanimous decision back in 2015.
Torres is a good striker with a strong clinching game. She doesn’t go for many takedowns and instead looks to win with control time in the clinch. She has a fairly wide strike differential and lands one more strike than she absorbs on average per minute.
Angela Hill is predominantly a striker that wants to outstrike her opponents from a distance. She has a decent finishing ability, but like most other fighters in the 115-pound division she mostly wins on the scorecards. It’s a divisional trend.
Torres will always have the clinch advantage, and the grappling advantage over Hill, which is a big x-factor in this fight. The first fight took place six years ago, but both fighters haven’t really evolved a lot since. Torres still looks to clinch and Hill still looks to strike at range.
Hill is definitely better striking wise, but the grappling aspect of MMA has always been a chink in Hill’s armor. Torres should look to clinch and wrestle.
I never know what to make of Hill, because she’s looked good recently, but she still has a tendency to drop split-decisions. There’s something in her game that makes her inconsistent.
This tendency is evident in her 13-9 record.
All in all, Torres has the advantage in the clinch, and statistically fighters that won the first fight win the second around seven out of 10 times. My pick is Torres.
Casey Kenney vs. Song Yadong Prediction
Striker versus striker.
Song 'Kung Fu Monkey' Yadong
Song Yadong, (5-1-1 in the UFC), looks to get back in the win column after losing his first UFC fight against fellow prospect Kyler Phillips.
Yadong strikes with a 42% accuracy and lands 4.35 punches on average, while absorbing 3.64. He has a 57% striking defense.
SONG YADONG HIGHLIGHT
In the grappling department, Yadong averages 0.59 takedowns per 15 minutes, and has a takedown defense of 56%. On the rare occasion that he shoots for a takedown, he lands with a 75% accuracy. Once on the ground, Yadong goes for 0.4 submissions every 15 minutes.
The 23-year old Chinese mixed martial artist is 5'8'' tall with a reach of 67''. He fights in the orthodox stance. He has won three of his last five.
30-year old Arizona native Casey Kenney is 5-2 in the UFC (16-3-1 in MMA). He has a reach of 68'' and is 5'7'' tall.
Kenney is a volume striker with good striking, as he averages 4.81 punches per minute and lands with a 42% accuracy. He has a striking defense of 59%, and absorbs 4.30 strikes per minute.
Kenney is well-rounded, and knows his way around the grappling area too, averaging 1.10 takedowns and 0.5 submissions per 15 minutes. He shoots with a 39% accuracy, and defends opponents' takedowns 59% of the time.
Kenney fights in the southpaw stance and has gone the distance in all but one of his seven UFC bouts.
Casey Kenney is coming off a loss to former UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz, a fight he lost via unanimous decision.
Yadong is the bigger power puncher of the two, while Kenney is more well-rounded when it comes to striking - he is good at switching up the targets with leg kicks and strikes.
I have an issue with Kenney because of his tendency to react instead of acting. He tends to only strike when his opponent is striking him first. It was quite evident in his last outing against Cruz. This tendency is also reflected in his narrow strike differential.
Despite of this chink in the armor, Kenney is the better wrestler of the two, and his takedowns could hand him key rounds in a three round fight against a striker such as Yadong.
The power Yadong throws with usually leaves his hips open to getting taken down, and that’s where Kenney can find success if he’s sneaky.
However since Casey usually doesn’t blow his opponents out of the water with control time on the mat, I find it hard to believe he will turn into a chain wrestler against Yadong at UFC 265. He has trouble keeping his opponents down, and Yadong is very strong for 135 lbs.
Kenney has only been able to finish one fight in seven UFC bouts, which tells me he doesn't possess a killer instinct. Some fighters, if good enough, can implement a point fighting style to great effect - such as Dominick Cruz. However, when you almost absorbs as many strikes as you land, you don't have point fighting abilities that will make you win on the cards consistently.
Yadong keeps it on the feet and does the most damage. The damage will be scored heavily in this bout, as Kenney's punches are mostly light attacks.
Lightweight Bout: Rafael Fiziev (-300) vs. Bobby Green (+240)
Bantamweight Bout: Drako Rodriguez (-115) vs. Vince Morales (-105)
Light Heavyweight Bout: Alonzo Menifield (-250) vs. Ed Herman (+200)
Women's Flyweight Bout: Jessica Penne (+120) vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz (-145)
UFC 265 Featured Preliminary Bout Prediction
Rafael Fiziev vs. Bobby Green Prediction
Hyped 155-pound prospect Rafael Fiziev gets to test himself against divisional veteran Bobby Green at UFC 265. Fiziev is fresh off a knockout win over Renato Moicano, while Green most recently dropped a controversial decision to Thiago Moises. Who will win?
Rafael ‘Ataman’ Fiziev
28-year old Rafael Fiziev flunked his UFC debut back in 2019, losing via first-round TKO to Magomed Mustafaev. He has bounced back since then, and has chained together three wins in a row. The 9-1, (3-1 in the UFC), Kyrgyz fighter is renowned for his striking ability, and has won six of his nine wins via knockout, one via submission, and two by decision.
Fiziev has a reach of 71 inches and stands 5' 8'' tall. He fights in the switch stance.
‘Ataman’ lands 4.67 strikes while absorbing 4.17 per minute on average. He is accurate for his high volume, with a 57% striking accuracy. Defensively, he avoids 55% of his opponents’ strikes.
RAFAEL FIZIEV WORKS THE HEAVY BAG AHEAD OF UFC 265
Rafael can back everything up with some grappling, as he secures 0.84 takedowns every three rounds, and while he doesn’t fish for submissions, he can boast about a 50% success rate with his grappling.
Once he gets his opponents down, he averages two minutes and fifteen seconds of control time.
Fiziev has a perfect 100% takedown defense.
The Kyrgyz has an entertaining forward-moving striking style. He’s always the aggressor and looks to pressure his opponents to take the center, and chop opponents down with leg kicks and heavy blows. In his last three wins, Fiziev has landed 48% of his strikes to his opponents’ heads, 31% to the body, and 21% to the legs.
Bobby ‘King’ Green
UFC veteran Bobby Green makes his 16th walk for the UFC when he faces Fiziev at UFC 265. The 34-year old American has fought the who’s-who of the 155-pound division, as well as the 145-pound division, including notable names such as Dustin Poirier and Edson Barboza. He has a wealth of experience from a long career.
27-11-1 ‘King’ stands 5' 10'' tall with a reach of 71 inches. He is a volume striker with an average of 5.17 strikes landed and 3.32 strikes absorbed per minute. Green is a wiz defensively and avoids getting hit by 63% of strikes thrown at him, while landing effectively with 51% of punches thrown by himself.
He is well-versed in grappling too, averaging 1.56 takedowns every 15 minutes, with a 41% accuracy rate. Green isn’t one to not know his way around submissions, and attempts 0.3 submissions every three rounds. Albeit early in his career, Green has won nine fights by ‘sub. His preferred method of victory is the decision though, and has gotten the win on the scorecards 10 times. He has eight KO wins.
Both fighters throw good volume on the feet and while Green has the better numbers, Fiziev does more damage when he lands. Damage is something the data doesn't account for and Green has a historical tendency to lose close fights.
In his most recent outing, this tendency was witnessed again. Green lost a unanimous decision in a fight where he out-punched Thiago Moises 85 to 24 on the strike totals due to his inability to establish authority in the octagon. There’s too much pitter-patter to his striking game, and while he might out-strike Fiziev I can’t see him beating the younger and more hungry contender over three rounds.
Fiziev is like a version of Bobby Green with added killer-instinct. They’re both good at switching up the targets, but while Green throws to score a point, Fiziev throws with intent to put your lights out.
Green’s inconsistent record is also too big not to mention here as he has been unable to get his hand raised in 40% of his 15 UFC bouts. Bobby is 8-5-1 in the UFC.
This is a great matchup for Fiziev, who can showcase some great striking by teeing off on a veteran without too much danger of walking into something big.
Drako Rodriguez vs. Vince Morales Prediction
This is a must win fight for Vince Morales. He is 1-3 in his last four, and is most likely fighting for his job this Saturday. Drako Rodriguez has more to lose, as he is only one fight into his UFC contract. However, a win would still cement his place in the world's biggest MMA promotion.
Vince 'Vandetta' Morales
30-year old 5'7'' 'Vandetta' fights in the orthodox stance. He has a reach of 70'' and lands 4.22 strikes on average while absorbing 4.16. He throws leather with a 39% accuracy and has a striking defense of 53%.
Morales' preferred area of fighting is standing, as evident by his takedown and submission averages of 0. He has a takedown defense of 55%.
Drako 'The Great Drakolini' Rodriguez
Just nine fights into his pro MMA career, Rodriguez gets to make his second octagon walk under the UFC mantle.
Rodriguez is 25-year old and stands 5'8'' tall with a reach of 69''.
Drako is well-versed in the grappling department, as he averages around three takedowns and submissions every 15 minutes.
'The Great Drakolini' has an even strike differential, as he lands and absorbs 2.57 strikes on average, however he does his best work on the ground.
Morales has a great whole in his MMA game, which is his grappling defense. In his last five bouts, he hasn't attempted a single takedown or submission. He is a pure striker.
It's rare that we get a grappler versus a striker at pick'em odds, so I'll make this short.
If Rodriguez decides to do the blatant obvious thing here, which is to wrestle, he will win handily.
Drako has a huge advantage because he can dictate where the fight will take place. Vince can't do the same.
I trust Rodriguez' extensive unbeaten amateur career has given him enough experience to develop a strong fighting IQ here, so I'm going with him.
For some reason, lots of money has been coming in on Morales, the striker in this matchup, so now this fight is a pick'em bout. Let's take advantage of that!
Light Heavyweight Bout
Alonzo Menifield vs. Ed Herman Prediction
Veteran versus youngster.
Alonzo 'Atomic' Menifield
With a 100% finish rate 33-year old 'Atomic' is a force to be reckoned with in the octagon.
Menifield is 6'0'' tall with a reach of 76'' and fights in the orthodox stance.
Striking is Menifield's claim to fame, as he averages 3.31 strikes per minute with a 48% accuracy. He has a striking defense of 46% and absorbs 3.60 punches per minute.
Menifield rarely goes for takedowns, but did manage to win his last bout by submission. He has a takedown defense of 85%.
Alonzo has a record of 10-2 (3-2 in the UFC) and has won three of his last five outings.
Ed 'Short Fuse' Herman
Herman is one of the oldest veterans still in the UFC. Ed was under the bright lights of the UFC when the promotion still had double-digit events.
'Short Fuse' is 26-14 in MMA and 13-11 in the UFC. He has won three in a row coming into Saturday's fight.
Herman, 40, stands 6'1'' tall with a reach of 77''. He is well-rounded with good abilities in grappling as well as striking.
Ed has an even strike differential as he lands and absorbs around 3.35 strikes per minute. He lands with a 49% accuracy and has a striking defense of 43%.
Grappling wise 'Short Fuse' averages 2.21 takedowns and 1.2 submissions per 15 minutes. Once he shoots, he secures a takedown 48% of the time, and defensively he stops opponents' grappling attempts six out of 10 times.
Ed Herman (27-14) seems to be on a second wind in his career as he comes into this fight on a three-fight win streak. Not since 2012 has Herman gotten such consistent results in the UFC octagon.
Alonzo Menifield came into the UFC undefeated, and picked up two first-round KO wins over Paul Craig and Vinicius Moreira. The guy looked like a bulldozer.
Menifield would then run into a unanimous decision loss to Devin Clark, followed by a late second-round KO loss against veteran Ovince Saint Preux.
Following those two losses, cardio seemed like a huge chink in the armor of “Atomic”. After the first round against Devin Clark he fell off a cliff and was too gassed to get off any significant offense.
Menifield did bounce back in March with a first-round ‘sub over Fabio Cherant, but we still don’t know whether he’s fixed that glaring whole in his game. The guy has terrible cardio.
Herman is a hard-headed, well-rounded veteran. He averages two takedowns per fight, which might be huge against a striker like Menifield. We saw how Devin Clark utilized takedowns to tire out Alonzo early not too long ago.
“Short Fuse” may be 40-years old, but there are still so many unanswered questions regarding Menifield’s skill set. Can he go three rounds and beat a veteran like Herman? His last two losses tell me no.
All in all, Menifield probably needs a finish here, and Herman has a wealth of experience against guys that want to take his head off.
Women's Strawweight Bout
Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs. Jessica Penne Prediction
Divisional veteran Karolina Kowalkiewicz needs to break her four-fight skid against Jessica Penne. If she doesn’t, her career in the UFC might be over. Penne, on the other hand, has less to lose in this matchup, but a win would still do the her good as she is 2-3 in her last five.
Kowalkiewicz, 35, is a volume striker landing a whopping 5.27 punches per minute. Because of her willingness to engage, she also absorbs 5.65 strikes on average which means she has a negative strike differential.
Karolina has a striking accuracy of and striking defense of respectively 39% and 56%.
Kowalkiewicz does her best work on the feet, and never shoots for takedowns in her outings. To counter grapplers, she has developed a 75% takedown defense.
The 36-year old Karolina has a reach of 64'' and stands 5'3'' tall. She fights in the orthodox stance and is 5-6 in her UFC career.
With her reach of 67'' Penne, 38, has a natural advantage over most fighters in her division. Unfortunately, this is not reflected in her metrics, as she has a negative strike differential of -2.05, averaging 2.40 and absorbing 4.45 strikes per minute.
The 5'5'' tall 115-pound fighter strikes with an accuracy of 33%, and has a striking defense of 48%.
In the grappling department, Penne averages 1.50 takedowns every 15 minutes with an accuracy of 23%. She has won two UFC fights by way of submission, and has a submission average of 0.6 every three rounds. Penne's takedown defense is at 42%.
Penne is the grappler in this matchup, while Kowalkiewicz has the superior striking.
The x-factor in this matchup is the takedown defense for Karolina, and the low level striking possessed by Penne.
Karolina hasn’t been getting good results as of late, but she still manages to land on her opponents quite a lot. Penne does her best work on the ground, but she seriously struggles to get off good offense on the feet which makes me doubt her chances against an experienced volume striker like Kowalkiewicz.
Penne also only averages one takedown every 15 minutes, which isn’t much when grappling is your path to victory.
Penne usually struggles to win on the scorecards too, and Karolina will most likely have the advantage cardio-wise going into the third round.
How much does Karolina have left in the tank, though? That’s a question this fight will answer. Ever since her title fight loss to Joanna she’s been different in the cage. Maybe it’s the level of competition, maybe it’s something mental. Either way she should be able to pick apart Jessica Penne in a three round bout.
Flyweight Bout: Manel Kape (-200) vs. Ode Osbourne (+165)
Bantamweight Bout: Miles Johns (-225) vs. Anderson dos Santos (+180)
Women's Flyweight Bout: Melissa Gatto (-110) vs. Victoria Leonardo (-110)
Bantamweight Bout: Johnny Muñoz Jr. (-275) vs. Jamey Simmons (+220)
Manel Kape vs. Ode Osbourne Prediction
Manel Kape has yet to get a win in the UFC. He is 0-2 in the promotion.
Ode Osbourne won his last fight in a big way, scoring a 30-second knockout over Jerome Rivera in February. Osbourne has a five-inch reach advantage.
Both fighters are quite well-rounded, while Kape’s experience advantage is perhaps the biggest x-factor in this fight.
On the feet, this fight is any man’s fight, and the same could be said about grappling.
Both fighters have a finish rate of almost 100%.
The physical advantages are in Osbourne’s favor, while experience is in Kape’s favor.
I think this is as close to a 50/50 fight you’re going to get. Either fighter could get takedowns at any point in time, and both are sharp submission artists.
Both are very powerful strikers with a wide range of tools on the feet. Osbourne has the better stats in the striking department though, but his short amount of fighting time in the UFC makes his data skewed.
Watching tape on these guys confirmed my suspicion about this being an incredibly even matchup. Both are very well-rounded fighters.
You know the drill, in a 50/50 fight we go with the ‘dog.
Miles Johns vs. Anderson dos Santos Prediction
Miles Johns' claim to fame is his well-roundedness. 'Chapo' is 2-1 in the UFC with a 66-inch reach, and will surrender four inches in reach despite being two inches taller than his opponent on Saturday.
Both fighters have given good accounts of themselves in the octagon, but Johns has been the far more consistent mixed martial artist, winning three of his last four bouts on the big stage. The same can't be said for Santos, whose 1-2 UFC record most likely means he is fighting for his job this Saturday.
Just going by the numbers alone, Miles Johns should be levels above Anderson dos Santos. Johns averages more strikes per minute at 3.33, compared to Santos' of 2.66. He also lands with an 48% striking accuracy which is significantly greater than Santos' of 28%. Defensively Johns also trumps his opponents statistically with a striking defense of 68% and a strikes absorbed per minute average of 2.42. 'Berinja' has a striking defense of 55% and absorbs a whopping 4.80 punches per minute.
Now throw in a nine-year age advantage for Miles Johns. Pretty much everything in the data points in his direction here.
If we dive more into the matchup itself, Johns has the better striking in my book, and comes forward with more determination to win.
Anderson dos Santos' main path to victory is the submission, but Miles Johns is a shark on the mat himself, so I think Santos will be severely compromised pretty much anywhere this fight goes.
Santos' biggest advantage is his experience, on paper, but Johns is young and hungry enough to work around that disadvantage.
I always try to make a solid case for underdogs, since they tend to be the valued side in MMA, but there just isn't sufficient information that makes me think Santos can beat a young contender like Johns.
Women's Flyweight Bout
Melissa Gatto vs. Victoria Leonardo Prediction
Unbeaten 125-pound UFC debutant gets to test herself against Victoria Leonardo in this preliminary bout of UFC 265.
Leonardo is currently 0-1 in the UFC, losing her debut via knockout in January.
Both fighters are quite young in their careers, however Gatto, 25, is six-years younger than her opponent in this fight.
I rarely like backing fighters that are as green in MMA as Gatto is. She’s only had eight pro fights, and probably isn’t as far on her learning curve as more experienced fighters are. Leonardo is no world-beater, but she’s faced far better competition and has learned some important lessons.
Gatto also has yet to win via knockout, as she prefers getting it done on the ground. However Leonardo is no slouch on the ground either, and if Gatto thinks she can climb the UFC rankings with the same path to victory, she’s in for a rude awakening.
Leonardo has good kicks, and she’s actually a potent anti-wrestler. She can also reverse positions on the ground, and knows when to go for takedowns herself.
The inexperience for Gatto is everything in this matchup. She’s making her big UFC debut too soon. We’ve seen these prospects come in too young before - Chase Hooper being a great example.
Johnny Munoz Jr. vs. Jamey Simmons Prediction
'Kid Kvenbo' verus 'The Afro Samurai'.
In pretty much every statistic, these two are matched equally. Of course, Munoz had the better debut performance, and lost a close decision where a point was deducted due to a low blow.
Simmons, on the other hand, was flatlined just seconds into the first round in perhaps the most uneven matchup in UFC history, against raging contender and striking specialist Giga Chikadze.
Value wise there's a great deal of value on Simmons as both fighters have only had one UFC outing, meaning we can't pinpoint the exact skill level of either fighter - neither can the sportsbooks. In fact, if you've picked the dog in matchups where both fighters only have one UFC outing since 2018, you would be at a profit.
I think that statistic alone is enough to make me side with Simmons in this fight. Now throw in the fact that he's a potent grappler with high amounts of control time in his bouts.
Munoz is a very gifted grappler too, but at this level anyone could get the better of the other in a grappling contest.
The statistical significance behind backing Simmons in this spot is actually quite strong, so I'll go with him for the fourth and final best bet of UFC 265. I might be completely off here, but we just don't know what level these new guys possess until they've had at least half a dozen outings under the bright lights.