UFC heads back to the Lone Star State this weekend for a heavyweight main-event match featuring Ciryl Gane vs. Derrick Lewis. Which powerhouse will capture the interim championship?
In this week’s Showstopper, we break down the top fights on the UFC card, the U.S. basketball team’s final battle for the gold medal, and a crosstown series between the White Sox and Cubs.
Saturday, August 7 | TV: ESPN+ Pay-Per-View
Derrick Lewis vs. Ciryl Gane (Interim UFC Heavyweight Championship Match)
Hometown star Derrick Lewis (25-7) takes on the undefeated Ciryl Gane (7-0) in what should be an interesting clash of styles. Gane is a skilled Muay Thai specialist and will attempt to land more technical strikes, while Lewis is undoubtedly going to look for the crushing knockout. Gane’s overall length could prove to be the decisive advantage as he tries to avoid Lewis’ dangerous blows.
José Aldo vs. Pedro Munhoz
It’s a clash of bantamweights as José Aldo (29-7) tries to prove he’s still “got it” despite being past his prime. Aldo has gone 1-3 over his last four fights, but he’s up against another 34-year-old veteran in Pedro Munhoz (19-5). Although “The Young Punisher” poses a formidable test in the grappling department, Aldo holds a notable edge in experience, which could make a difference in this close battle.
Michael Chiesa vs. Vicente Luque
Michael Chiesa (18-4) takes on Vicente Luque (20-7-1) in a welterweight showdown that has a very good chance of ending early. Chiesa has reeled off four straight wins since moving to the weight class, but his four defeats in the past have all come via submission or TKO. Coincidentally, Luque has won three straight all via submission or knockout.
United States vs. France (Gold Medal Game)
Friday, August 6 | TV: NBC Live / Peacock
Team USA takes aim at its fourth straight gold medal in men’s basketball, but France will present a tough challenge at the Saitama Super Arena. It was this same French squad that defeated United States, 83-76, in a preliminary-round shocker, before Kevin Durant powered his team to a string of victories over Iran, Czech Republic, Spain and Australia. Since that opening loss, the Americans have looked much sharper overall, though they’ve still been prone to falling into early deficits. France will likely play at a high intensity from the opening tip, especially after a resounding 90-89 win over Luka Doncic’s gritty Slovenia squad.
Evan Fournier gave Team USA fits last time out, scoring 28 points en route to the upset, and fellow NBA stars Rudy Gobert and Nicolas Batum were also key on the defensive end. Look for Durant to get some perimeter shooting help from Devin Booker, Jayson Tatum and Zach LaVine in order to avoid any prolonged scoring droughts like what occurred the last time these teams met. The Americans have been sharing the ball much better and currently average an Olympics-best 25.6 assists per game. This will be France’s first shot at the gold medal in Olympic basketball since 2000, which was a loss to the United States, so expect a hard-fought game from start to finish.
Chicago White Sox vs. Chicago Cubs
Sunday, August 8 | TV: ABC
If the projected starters remain accurate, this could shape up to be a prime matchup for the White Sox. Zach Davies (6-8, 4.79 ERA, 1.53 WHIP) has really struggled with his command and surrendered 6 home runs over his last 6 starts. That spells good news for White Sox home run leader Jose Abreu. Opposing Davies on the mound will be righty Dylan Cease (8-6, 3.92 ERA, 1.26 WHIP), who is coming off a brilliant 1-hit, 11-strikeout victory against the Royals. With the Cubs’ lineup much less potent now following their deadline deals, Cease might have another easy time getting batters to swing and miss regularly.