The odds don’t favor him, but in this weekend’s UFC 265 headliner, Derrick Lewis will have a hometown Houston crowd behind him.
Lewis (25-7), one of the biggest fan favorites in all of MMA, meets undefeated heavyweight favorite Ciryl Gane (9-0) in Saturday’s main event.
The bout headlines the pay-per-view event at Toyota Center in Houston, and an interim heavyweight belt is on the line.
“The Black Beast” is a pretty big underdog against Gane in their big-man rumble. But when fans pack the Texas venue, you can bet their allegiance will be with Houston resident Lewis.
Betting public also backs Lewis at UFC 265
Lewis, a New Orleans native, moved to Houston as a teenager, and he’s been a proud Texan ever since. Come Saturday night, the crowd will undoubtedly be on his side.
However, the Virginia sports betting public is also on Lewis’ side. At least as of Wednesday, anyway.
At DraftKings VA, for example, the oddsmakers have installed Lewis as a +280 underdog (bet $100 to profit $280). Gane, meanwhile, is the heavy favorite at -375 odds (bet $375 to profit $100).
Still, the public has heavily favored Lewis in early-week betting at online sportsbooks in Virginia. As of Wednesday, DraftKings officials reported that 54% of the bets on UFC 265’s headliner were for Lewis and 46% for Gane. However, a whopping 91% of the betting dollars have been wagered on Lewis to win.
Is that public support warranted, though? Do the oddsmakers or the public have it right?
Breaking down Lewis vs. Gane
Lewis originally was slated to fight reigning heavyweight champion and all-around badass Francis Ngannou. However, after a not-atypical UFC negotiating spat with Ngannou, officials ultimately booked Lewis against Gane for the interim strap.
The 36-year-old’s assignment doesn’t get much easier with Gane, though.
Gane, a 31-year-old French striker, has already defeated UFC contenders Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Alexander Volkov in 2021. Now, he puts his well-rounded skills on the line against Lewis.
Lewis has shown a remarkable ability to shake off damage, get off the mat, and score come-from-behind wins. Additionally, he has the type of one-punch power that can instantly shift the trajectory of a fight.
Gane, though, has put together some exceptionally diverse skills in recent years. Those tools include underrated wrestling and grappling, along with much more accurate striking.
Over the scheduled five rounds, Gane is likely to do some serious damage. Then again, Lewis, who has 20 knockouts in 25 career wins, can always pull the curtains with a trademark uppercut or brutal ground-and-pound.
Those are a few reasons some UFC 265 bettors are also considering some “total rounds” bets. For Lewis-Gane, you can bet under 4.5 rounds (-182) or under 3.5 pounds (-148). At under 2.5 rounds, the odds shift to plus-money (+110). You can also get -200 odds if you bet “No” on the prop bet of “fight to go the distance,” which just means someone needs to score a knockout, submission, or DQ win before the five rounds expire.
But if you like that betting angle, there’s another wager possibility to consider. And you can thank veteran UFC broadcaster Jon Anik for it.
UFC 265 betting special: Jon Anik’s Fast Finishes
When Jon Anik left ESPN to join the UFC broadcasting corps in 2011, the world’s most prominent MMA organization got some instant credibility.
The UFC also got an enthusiastic and unabashed sports bettor.
Anik has never hidden his love for sports wagering, and the UFC has done nothing to make him stay hush about it. Like many mid-level sports organizations, UFC officials realized early on that legal and regulated wagering could lead to more engagement and a bigger fan base.
Leaning into his propensity for sports betting, Anik and DraftKings actually come up with an Anik-centric bet for UFC 265.
If you look under the “Odds Boost” section on DraftKings, you’ll see the special betting market:
Jon Anik’s Fast Finishes: Under 4.5 Rounds in Lewis/Gane & Under 2.5 Rounds in Chiesa/Luque (8/7): +235, boosted to +265
The other bet in the parlay features a main-card matchup between welterweights Michael Chiesa (18-4) and Vicente Luque (20-7-1). The crowd-pleasers have earned 29 stoppage wins in 38 combined career victories.
The regular odds for the fight to go “under 2.5 rounds” is +115, and the odds are -106 for the fight not to go to decision.
Anik, who hosts the “Anik & Florian Podcast” with retired UFC vet Kenny Florian, has combined the “under” on both of those fights. With that quartet of veteran showmen, you’re bound to get some viewing entertainment even if the bet comes up short.