The Octagon is back in Texas on August 7 with an interim title on the line. In the main event of UFC 265, Houston’s own Derrick Lewis will take on French striker Ciryl Gane for the interim heavyweight belt, with the winner expected to face champion Francis Ngannou next in a unification bout. The co-main event pits former WEC and UFC featherweight king Jose Aldo against fellow Brazilian Pedro Munhoz in what should be a scintillating bantamweight battle.
We were supposed to see Amanda Nunes defend her women’s bantamweight title versus Julianna Peña, but Nunes tested positive for COVID-19 and that fight has been postponed. Before fight night arrives in H-Town, let’s look at some of the best bets across the UFC 265 card that you should consider on DraftKings Sportsbook.
Jose Aldo vs. Pedro Munhoz - Men’s Bantamweights
Aldo is an MMA legend and one of the greatest featherweights of all time. If there was skepticism about him dropping to 135, those questions have been erased even in his losses. After a disputed decision loss to Marlon Moraes, Aldo valiantly came up short by fifth-round TKO to eventual champ Petr Yan last July, then finally got in the win column with a gutsy decision over Marlon Vera. Munhoz has fought the who’s who of best bantamweights in the world. His career highlight is a first-round KO of former champion Cody Garbrandt, but let’s not forget that he has a first-round guillotine choke of rising contender Rob Font. After a two-fight losing skid against current champ Aljamain Sterling and Frankie Edgar, Munhoz bounced back this past February with a thrilling decision win over Jimmie Rivera, avenging his loss from 2015.
This is a phenomenal fight and it’s a shame that it’s only three rounds. With that said, the fact that it is just three rounds suits Aldo, whose cardio really can’t hold up for five hard rounds anymore. Munhoz has developed into a high-level striker who throws cutting calf kicks and sharp boxing combinations. Jose’s vaunted leg kicks feature less in his game these days but he has phenomenal hands and a lethal hook to the body. Aldo has some of the best takedown defense in the sport so this is likely to be a straight kickboxing match. Munhoz has the durability edge but I don’t think he’ll be able to outstrike Aldo over the course of 15 minutes. Expect Aldo to start strong, Munhoz to charge on late, but for the judges to score it for Jose in this battle of Brazilians.
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Vicente Luque vs. Michael Chiesa - Welterweights
Luque has won an extremely impressive nine of his last 10 fights. After getting stoppages over Niko Price and Randy Brown, Luque notched one of his highest profile victories earlier this year when he hurt and submitted former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley in a wild one-round thriller. Chiesa was a contender at lightweight before difficult weight cuts finally forced him up to welterweight in 2018, and so far it’s been a major success. The Ultimate Fighter winner is 4-0 at 170 pounds with victories over Carlos Condit, Diego Sanchez, Rafael dos Anjos, and most recently Neil Magny.
This should be one of the most exciting matchups on the card. Chiesa is a terrific grappler with underrated strength. On the flip side you have Luque as the superior, heavier hitting striker who’s also fantastic on the ground. Luque is the most potent opponent Chiesa has faced at 170 and I think that’ll be his undoing. Vicente can grapple with Chiesa and on the feet it’s not much of a contest, and if he attacks Chiesa’s body early and often I think he’ll break him down and stop him. Luque’s only decision win in the UFC was against the notoriously difficult to finish Mike Perry. Chiesa has been stopped in all four of his losses, and I think that’ll continue here.
Rafael Fiziev vs. Bobby Green - Lightweights
Fiziev is quickly making a name for himself as a potential contender at 155 pounds. The former kickboxer is coming off a brutal first-round KO of Renato Moicano at UFC 256 last December. His UFC debut was a TKO loss to Magomed Mustafaev, but his striking arsenal and overall skills have really shone during his three-fight winning streak. ‘King’ Green is an MMA veteran who’s entering his 40th professional bout. It was a busy 2020 for Green, going 3-1 with that one loss coming controversially versus Thiago Moises.
For all of the power he displayed against Moicano, Fiziev might find it difficult to beat Green inside the distance. Bobby Green has only been knocked out by Dustin Poirier and he’s historically shown a phenomenal chin. He has smooth boxing and very good wrestling, but Fiziev has shown outstanding takedown defense and is the more technical striker. Watch out for Fiziev’s heavy body kicks as a potential fight changer, as it may open up more opportunities to cleanly land upstairs on Green. I think Fiziev wins but he will be tested. Given he’s a sizable favorite in the moneyline, I see picking him by decision as the better move.
Manel Kape vs. Ode Osbourne - Men’s Flyweights
Kape came into the UFC with a lot of fanfare as the former RIZIN champion, but it’s not worked out for him inside the Octagon thus far. He lost his debut to Alexandre Pantoja and was very unlucky to lose a split decision to Matheus Nicolau. In RIZIN he notably notched wins over Ian McCall, Takeya Mizugaki, and Kai Asakura to win the Japanese promotion’s bantamweight title. Osbourne is moving down to flyweight after competing primarily at 135 pounds. His knockout win over Jerome Rivera in February was contested at 145 pounds, so he’s going to be one of the few to compete across three weight divisions. ‘The Jamaican Sensation’ signed through Dana White’s Contender Series, with his first UFC appearance ending in a quick guillotine defeat to Brian Kelleher.
One of the issues for Kape through his two UFC fights has been letting his hands go with more consistency. With his back against the wall, I think we see a more urgent and purposeful Kape against an arguable step down in competition. Osbourne will have a size and reach advantage over Kape, so he’s certainly no slouch given his own striking prowess, but I don’t believe his penchant for one-round fights bodes well stylistically against someone who has the power edge in striking exchanges and can grapple with him if needed. I see Kape getting his first UFC victory and he’ll stop him as well.
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