While Ciryl Gane is a big favorite heading into Saturday’s interim heavyweight title fight with Derrick Lewis, the head coach of undisputed champion Francis Ngannou sees the Houston native as a very live dog at the betting window.
Eric Nicksick of Xtreme Couture will certainly be paying close attention the the fight between Lewis and Gane, which is set to headline UFC 265 at the Toyota Center in Houston.
Currently, Gane is listed as a -365 favorite on DK Nation, while the comeback on Lewis is +280. Nicksick certainly sees value on “The Black Beast,” who cashed as an even bigger underdog in his most recent KO win at February’s UFC Vegas 19 event.
“I actually won a lot of money on the Curtis Blaydes fight,” Nicksick told MMA Fighting. “Not taking anything away from Blaydes, but the blueprint was there to beat him. If you give a guy like Derrick Lewis 25 minutes of opportunity, it only takes one. One mistake and you saw what happens, the guy gets flatlined.”
Nicksick and Ngannou—who captured the undisputed title with a second-round knockout win over Stipe Miocic at UFC 260 in March—were shocked the promotion went with an interim title fight so quick into “The Predator’s” reign. Nicksick fully understands his role to prepare his fighter for whatever challenge is presented to him next, which, according to Dana White, is the winner of Saturday’s matchup.
As a coach and student of the game, Nicksick certainly understands why Gane is the favorite in the fight. “Bon Gamin” is 9-0 as a pro, six of those wins coming inside the octagon. Gane has won consecutive main events via unanimous decision, the most recent to Alexander Volkov seems to be, in Nicksick’s eyes, a case of recency bias in regards to why Gane’s betting price tag is so high.
“I’ve cornered against Derrick and he’s very tough to put away,” Nicksick said. “He’s always in the fight. You’ve seen him in fights where he was losing all the way up until the very end, like [the] Volkov [fight], and other fights for that matter. You can go all the way back and guys were getting the best of him, but he’s so resilient and tough to put away. All it takes is one from Derrick.
“I would venture that betting lines [were swayed] coming off of a hot win by Gane, and deservedly so on his part. The technical prowess this man has is very, very good. I’m actually very excited to see how this all plays out.”