Flawless engineering meets immeasurable power this Saturday (August 7, 2021) in Houston, Texas when undefeated Ciryl Gane takes on knockout machine Derrick Lewis for the preliminary heavyweight title of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). At UFC 265, Jose Aldo will continue his bantamweight rise against iron-hard Pedro Munhoz, swap Michael Chiesa for Vicente Luque leather and Tecia Torres against former The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) castmate Angela Hill.
UFC 265’s eight “Prelims” sub-card battles are evenly split between ESPN + and ESPN2; Let’s take a look at the first batch:
125 pounds: Manel cape vs. Ode Osbourne
Angola’s Manel Kape (15-6) cracked his ticket to the Octagon with three consecutive knockouts under the ricin banner, including an annoyance from Kai Asakura for the promotion bantamweight title. He has not yet found similar success in the UFC and dropped tight decisions on Alexandre Pantoja and Matheus Nicolau on his first two appearances.
His 14 professional placements include nine via (technical) knockouts.
Ode Osbourne (9-3) received both his fourth straight first-round result and a UFC contract by tapping Armando Villareal on the Contender Series, only to accept a submission to Brian Kelleher on his Octagon debut to have to. A year-long hiatus followed, after which “The Jamaican Sensation” only took 26 seconds to crush Jerome Rivera and enter the UFC’s victory column.
On Kape it will be two inches tall and ten inches wide.
I really think both Kape and Osbourne have considerable potential, and the clash of styles should result in a great high-speed slugfest. However, as good as Osbourne is, it depends on Kape’s willingness to let go of his hands. I thought he lost to Pantoja and beat Nicolau, but he was too passive in both fights and could have apparently made simple decisions just by letting go of his hands.
When he has learned his lesson, he wins it comfortably. Despite his promise, Osbourne goes unproven against high-profile opponents, while Kape has fought one killer after another throughout his career, holding up against two of the UFC’s top flyweights. Kape’s experience leads him to victory in a fast-paced war of insurrection.
Prediction: Kape over technical knockout in the second round
135 lbs .: Miles Johns vs. Anderson dos Santos
A rescheduled fight from last month repackaged below for your convenience …
Seven months after Miles Johns (11: 1) defeated current top prospect Adrian Yanez for the LFA bantamweight belt, he used a steady diet of takedowns to beat Richie Santiago in the Contender Series and land a UFC contract to earn. He’s now 2-1 in the world’s largest mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion, including a bonus-winning knockout from Kevin Natividad in his most recent attempt.
“Chapo” is the taller man by two inches, although he gives up the same range.
The winning streak of three fights for Anderson dos Santos (21-8) ended with his arrival at the Octagon, left Nad Narimani a decision after a two-week turnaround and then stayed behind against Andre Ewell. 17 months later, he finally made it into the UFC Victory Column and choked out the popular Martin Day in November 2020.
“Berinja” has finished 17 professional fights in the distance, 12 of them by submission.
While I’m not going to pretend Johns got me excited about three UFC bouts in his tenure, this definitely looks winnable. Dos Santos’ upright, hook-heavy attack leaves him vulnerable to the same butt thrust Johns used to neutralize Natividad, and “Chapos” rock-solid wrestling ensures that he sets the terms of all ground fighting.
Dos Santos’ formidable ground attack poses a legitimate threat, but the wrestling discrepancy mentioned above makes it unlikely that he will get a chance to use it. As long as Johns doesn’t play the same passive game that stopped him from Bautista, he’s racing to a big win.
Prediction: John’s by unanimous decision
125 pounds: Victoria Leonardo vs. Melissa Gatto
Although Victoria Leonardo (9-3) faced the outstanding Chelsea Hackett as an underdog in the Contender Series, she used an aggressive grappling attack to beat the Aussie and land a UFC contract. The next prospect proved to be tougher when Manon Fiorot ended her placement on both women’s UFC debut.
“Fury” has achieved four professional victories through submission.
After a 2-0-2 stretch, Melissa Gatto (6-0-2) signed on for future UFC star Karol Rosa in Cris Cyborg’s rise. While she gave up a few takedowns at the beginning, she wrapped a triangle kimura in transition to achieve a submission win in the first round.
This will be her first fight in nearly three years after pulling out of three scheduled Octagon debuts.
Melissa Gatto is 25 years old and has not fought since 2018; Hence, chances are her style became something completely unrecognizable in her absence. For her sake, that should better be the case, as Leonardo beats the final incarnation of Gatto with ease to enter the cage. Despite being a capable submission artist, Gatto has no response to Leonardo’s wrestling as of 2018 and appears to be inferior on the feet as well.
I’ve seen more than one young talent come back from a long hiatus as a whole new fighter, including other Brazilians in Amanda Lemos and Amanda Ribas. However, since I don’t know about the improvements made by Gatto, I can only work with what I’ve seen. In short, Leonardo makes an easy decision.
Prediction: Leonardo by unanimous decision
135 lbs .: Jamey Simmons vs. Johnny Munoz Jr.
A postponed fight from April; Here’s the breakdown from back then with some minor tweaks …
Jamey Simmons (7-3) – who won five out of six – made a three-week turnaround in November 2020 to face Giga Chikadze on short notice. Though brave, the move didn’t pay off as Chikadze put it away with a headbutt and floor-and-pound late in the first round (see highlights).
He is the shorter man by three inches.
After almost a year on the sidelines, Johnny Munoz Jr. (10-1) faced Nate Maness at short notice in August 2020. Although he managed to dominate the opening round on the mat, he ultimately ran out of breath. Maness allows you to turn the tables and make the decision.
His professional placements are split 6/2 between submissions and (technical) knockouts.
Simmons’ first UFC fight hit him against a significantly larger and exponentially more experienced striker. In his second, he competes against a world-class submission artist with some wrestling chops of his own.
Sometimes you are the hammer, sometimes you are the nail.
To Simmons’ credit, he’s battling someone closer to his size this time around and has a chance if Munoz’s cardio problems recur. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely for him to last long enough to figure it out. In the end, Munoz wraps his neck in the opening round.
Prediction: Munoz on submitting the first round
Four more UFC 265 “Prelims” undercard fights are yet to be seen and predicted, including a clash of bantamweight finishers and an intriguing lightweight tiltpitting Bobby Green against the fast-rising Rafael Fiziev. Tomorrow at the same time, maniacs!
Remember it MMAmania.com delivers LIVE, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 265 battle map, lap after lap herestarting with the early ESPN + “Prelims” games online that are scheduled to start at 6pm ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN2 /ESPN + at 8:00 p.m. ET, before the main PPV card start time at 10:00 p.m. ET ESPN + PPV.
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