Francis Ngannou, it seems, will have to wait even longer to defend his heavyweight title.
The pair, White said, are both deserving of a title fight. And since it couldn’t get a fight set with Ngannou, the UFC went a different route.
Lewis, a Houston native, is currently on a four-fight win streak dating back to 2019, and boasts a 25-7 record. He last beat Curtis Blaydes in February with a second round knockout. Gane is a perfect 9-0 in the UFC, and is coming off a pair of wins already this year over Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Alexander Volkov.
Amanda Nunes is also set to fight at UFC 265 in August, and will defend her bantamweight title against Julianna Pena in the co-main event.
Nunes is listed as a -750 favorite on BetMGM. A line for the Lewis-Gane fight is not yet available.
Ngannou team in 'shock' over Lewis-Gane bout
Ngannou won the heavyweight title in March at UFC 260, when he knocked out Stipe Miocic. The UFC wanted to book a fight between him and Lewis in June and then tried again for August, but Ngannou wasn’t ready in time.
Ngannou, per ESPN, went home to Cameroon in May and to Dubai before returning to the United States earlier this month.
Ngannou’s agent, Marquel Martin, said the news of the interim title bout came as “a complete shock.” Ngannou took to Twitter to throw shade ahead of the fight, too — which he thought was strange especially after his recent fighting schedule.
"To make an interim title so soon, if you look at the history of this division, it comes as a surprise,” Martin said, via ESPN.
"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 soon and figure out something with the UFC soon. At the end of the day, they're in control of these decisions.
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