Ciryl Gane defeated Derrick Lewis by TKO at the 4:11 mark of round three to become the UFC interim heavyweight champion.
The booking of the interim heavyweight title received a fair amount of flak from fans and MMA experts alike, given the fact that it has only been four months since Francis Ngannou was crowned the new undisputed heavyweight champion. Several names came up in the aftermath of Ngannou's victory, including former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, who is preparing for a move up to heavyweight.
However, after Jon Jones became entangled in a pay dispute with the UFC and Dana White, the promotion booked Lewis against Gane to determine the top contender.
What happened at UFC 265: Derrick Lewis vs. Ciryl Gane?
Ciryl Gane was met with loud boos from the audience as Bruce Buffer announced his name before the fight, while Derrick Lewis received a lively cheer from his home crowd in Houston, Texas.
After a tense ten minutes, Ciryl Gane landed an elbow towards the end of the second round. In the third round, Derrick Lewis was expected to show more explosiveness, as he usually does, but Ciryl Gane did not let that happen.
Executing his game plan to perfection, Ciryl Gane chipped away at Derrick Lewis, hurting him in the third round, which led to 'The Black Beast' covering up. Gane showed relentlessness in his big shots and followed it up with a big knee, dropping Lewis. The action was stopped for a brief while to let Derrick Lewis replace his mouthpiece, but Gane started firing as soon as the action resumed. Lewis dropped again, and after a flurry of unanswered strikes, referee Dan Miragliotta stepped in for the stoppage.
ESPN's Brett Okamoto tweeted ahead of the fight that this was the fastest the UFC has ever created an interim title.
According to reports, Francis Ngannou was not ready to defend his belt in July or August, which is why the promotion decided to go ahead and set up an interim title fight between Derrick Lewis and Ciryl Gane.
Francis Ngannou himself had expressed disdain over UFC's decision, saying that nothing about it was right.
In another tweet, Ngannou referred to the time he allegedly asked for an interim title fight when former champion Stipe Miocic was out of action but did not get one.
However, the heavyweight champion did not shy away from giving Ciryl Gane his due credit after tonight's win.
"Impressive performance from Gane! He's now a legit contender. See you soon boy. When you know you know," Francis Ngannou wrote.