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Reigning champion Francis Ngannou will soon know the identity of his next challenger.
Derrick Lewis will face Ciryl Gane for the interim Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight crown in the UFC 265 headliner this Saturday at the Toyota Center in Houston, with the winner in all likelihood moving on the confront Ngannou in a unification bout in late 2021 or early 2022. Lewis enters the cage on the strength of a four-fight winning streak. “The Black Beast” last appeared at UFC Fight Night 185, where he knocked out Curtis Blaydes in the second round of their Feb. 20 main event. Gane, meanwhile, remains undefeated through nine professional appearances, including a 6-0 mark inside the Octagon. He last competed on June 26, when he laid claim to a unanimous decision over former Bellator MMA champion Alexander Volkov atop UFC Fight Night 190.
As Lewis and Gane approach their high-stakes showdown in Space City, a look at some of the numbers that have accompanied them to this point:
36: Years of age for Lewis, who was born in New Orleans on Feb. 7, 1985.
20: Lewis victories by knockout or technical knockout, accounting for 80% of his career total (25). His list of UFC victims: Blaydes, Alexey Oleynik, Alexander Volkov, Marcin Tybura, Travis Browne, Shamil Abdurakhimov, Gabriel Gonzaga, Damian Grabowski, Viktor Pesta, Ruan Potts, Guto Inocente and Jack May. Lewis owns one other victory by submission and four more by decision.
16: Lewis wins as a UFC heavyweight, tying him with Frank Mir for second on the promotion’s all-time list. Only Andrei Arlovski (20) has more.
.669: Cumulative winning percentage between the six men—Junior dos Santos, Daniel Cormier, Mark Hunt, Shawn Jordan (twice), Matt Mitrione and Tony Johnson —who have defeated Lewis. They boast a combined record of 103-49-2.
46: Seconds needed for Lewis to put away Jay Peche with punches at an Immortal Kombat Fighting show on Sept. 3, 2011 in Spring, Texas. Having occurred nearly a decade ago, it remains the fastest finish on his resume.
31: Years of age for Gane, who was born on May 6, 1990 in La Roche-sur-Yon, France.
3: Gane wins by submission, accounting for 33% of his career total (nine). His methods of choice: one guillotine choke, one arm-triangle choke and one heel hook. Gane owns three other wins by knockout or technical knockout and three more by decision.
2.53: Striking differential for Gane across his six appearances inside the Octagon, placing him third on UFC’s all-time list for heavyweights. He trails only Cain Velasquez (4.08) and Todd Duffee (3.26) in the category.
2: Fights in which Gane has connected on at least 100 significant strikes in the UFC. He landed 135 of them against the aforementioned Volkov and 102 of them in his unanimous decision over Jairzinho Rozenstruik at UFC Fight Night 186.
5: Countries in which Gane has competed as a mixed martial artist. He has gone 3-0 in the United States, 3-0 in Canada, 1-0 in South Korea, 1-0 in Singapore and 1-0 in Uruguay.