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Lewis vs. Gane interim heavyweight title fight set for UFC 265

With Francis Ngannou unavailable to fight in the UFC's desired timeframe, the promotion is moving forward with a Derrick Lewis vs. Ciryl Gane interim heavyweight title fight that will headline UFC 265 on August 7th.

ESPN's Brett Okamoto first reported the news that Ngannou was unable to defend his title in June or August due to traveling and Dana White thought both Lewis and Gane were worthy of title shots.

Okamoto got a quote from Ngannou's agent that said they were in complete shock about the news considering the history of the division. Ngannou tweeted, "I remember my interim title fight against Jairzinho .... oh wait: -- a nod to his desire to have his May 2020 fight against Jair Rozenstruik for the interim title due to then-champion Stipe Miocic not wanting to fight due to COVID-19. 

The last interim heavyweight title awarded was to Fabricio Werdum for his defeat of Mark Hunt at UFC 180 in November 2014. 

Lewis (seen above) is riding a four-fight win streak and last knocked out Curtis Blaydes in February. Gane defeated Alexander Volkov on Saturday via unanimous decision to get his record to a perfect 9-0.

The event will be held in Houston, Texas -- the hometown of Lewis. The co-main event features two-division champion Amanda Nunes defending the bantamweight title against Julianna Pena.

Ngannou defeated Stipe Miocic for the title by second round knockout in March. Discussions of a title fight vs. former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones stalled due to Jones asking for more money for the superfight and the UFC having no interest in meeting his demands.