In the UFC heavyweight rankings, Derrick Lewis is No. 2 and Ciryl Gane No. 3.
Despite the rankings, Gane is a heavy -370 favorite over Lewis in their interim heavyweight title fight Saturday in the main event of UFC 265 in Houston.
Rather than play a side, MMA handicapper Lou Finocchiaro recommends half-unit plays on the fight to go over 3½ rounds, which pays +117 at Circa Sports, and over 4½ rounds, which pays +170 at William Hill.
“This is an example of a polished professional in mixed martial arts in Gane fighting a guy in Lewis who has very, very little MMA skill,” said Finocchiaro (@GambLou). “What Lewis does have is tremendous aggression and power, especially in his right hand. This fight comes down to Gane being measured and using the whole 30-foot cage in Houston and staying away and pecking and pecking until he eventually slows Lewis down.
“I think it goes into the late rounds because Lewis is determined and Gane is not going to risk himself because he knows he doesn’t want to get hit with that right hand. This fight is going to manifest itself into a pretty boring fight. It could easily go to a decision.”
Here are Finocchiaro’s other best bets on the card:
Aldo (-111) over Munhoz
In the co-main event, Finocchiaro likes Jose Aldo (-111) to defeat Pedro Munhoz in their bantamweight bout.
“Munhoz is too willing to trade and take a shot and give a shot. He lands 5.6 significant strikes a minute but he takes 5.9,” he said. “Aldo is a little bit younger and the taller and longer man. Aldo is large for that bantamweight division, and his experience, reach and size is going to make it difficult for Munhoz to compete with him.”
Chiesa (-105) over Luque
Vicente Luque is on a roll, winning nine of his last 10 fights against elite competition. But Finocchiaro is backing Michael Chiesa (-110) over Luque in their welterweight bout on the main card.
“Chiesa is nowhere near as well-rounded as Luque. But he is the much larger man in the octagon. He’s taller, much heavier and longer,” he said. “Chiesa is a clincher, a grappler and a wrestler. If he can get ahold of his opponents and drag them to the mat, his size is so clasping and like a wet blanket, they can’t get up.
“He’s going to be able to get Luque to the ground.”
Morales (-104) over Rodriguez
In the prelims, Finocchiaro likes Vince Morales (-104) to defeat Drako Rodriguez.
“Both of these guys are coming off a loss and need a win,” he said. “Morales has faced a higher level of competition and has taken ample time off after that loss.”
Compiled by Todd Dewey Las Vegas Review-Journal