Derrick Lewis dashes Curtis Blaydes’ title hopes with devastating KO
Curtis Blaydes looked to be on the cusp of a UFC heavyweight championship fight but it’s “The Black Beast” Derrick Lewis who reinserted his name in the title picture with an emphatic knockout victory.
Heavy underdog Lewis displayed some good takedown defence against talented wrestler Blaydes – enough to make the Elevation Fight Team remain standing to fight on the feet.
In the striking stakes, Blaydes looked good as he picked away at a static Lewis with his jab and some thudding leg kicks to get the better of the opening round.
Blaydes returned to his wrestling in the second round and that was his downfall. Shooting for the takedown, Blaydes’ head stooped straight into the monstrous uppercut Lewis was looking to land and land it did.
“Razor” was knocked out on impact and fell backwards in a stiffened pose. Lewis then delivered two ferocious ground and pound shots on his unconscious opponent before referee Herb Dean could step in.
While it’s back to the drawing board for Blaydes, Lewis is now on a four-fight winning streak and says he wants Alistair Overeem next on his ascent back to a second crack at the UFC heavyweight championship.
In the night’s co-main event, Yana Kunitskaya was another underdog who came up big from the second round on to upset the odds.
Ketlen Vieira, who missed weight ahead of this contest, leaned on her grappling advantage in the first round and appeared to have the edge on her Russian foe.
The pair went to the mat once again in the second round, but Vieira on her back for those five minutes once Kunitskaya took top position and didn’t show a whole lot of urgency to get out of that disadvantageous situation.
“Fenomeno” once again got the fight to the floor and had Kunitskaya compromised in full mount in the final round and eased off the gas once it looked very likely that a decision win was in her grasp. Kunitskaya had other ideas as she reversed position and got busy.
Kunitskaya smashed Brazil’s Vieira with some nasty elbows – one splitting her right eyebrow – and ended the fight on a high. The judges agreed and awarded the busier combatant 29-28 scores across the board.
— UFC (@ufc) February 21, 2021
Slick submission artist Darrick Minner made it two UFC wins in a row with a dominant display of grappling against Charles Rosa in their featherweight main card showcase.
Minner was always in control. He secured the takedowns he needed when he wanted, displayed great positional control when on the ground, and steadfast submission defence when Rosa threw the proverbial kitchen sink at him when it comes to an assortment of submission attempts.
The fight didn’t play out on the feet all that much, but the most notable striking action saw Minner hurt Rosa with punches.
Rosa always appeared a step behind Minner and the judges agreed, scoring the contest 30-26, 30-27, 29-27 in Minner’s favour.
The UFC heavyweight division continues to get more and more interesting in 2021 and Chris Daukaus showed he has a part to play in that.
On Saturday night, Daukaus took out Russian submission expert Alexey Oleynik inside two minutes.
Philadelphia native Daukaus denied Oleynik the takedown he craved and soon had the veteran trapped against the cage.
Daukaus landed some power shots that stunned Oleynik, before unleashing a flurry of wide punches that Oleynik didn’t have an answer for. More punches and knees came and went, and while he was still standing, referee Herb Dean had seen enough and stopped the contest after deeming Oleynik wasn’t effectively defending himself.
Since first fighting on the UFC roster in 2020, Daukaus has put together three wins by TKO and could be a man to watch out for.
Middleweight Phil Hawes made it six wins in a row once he was awarded a majority decision victory against France’s Nassourdine Imavov at UFC Fight Night 185.
Hawes showed that he had the superior grappling skills over Imavov, scoring multiple takedowns and comfortably controlling his opponent once things went to the canvas for the first two rounds.
The Sanford MMA product had to fight through adversity in the third and final round, though. Imavov had his way with Hawes in the last stanza, courtesy of power punches at range and elbows and knees when things got up close. Hawes had to hang on and did just enough to survive the end of the fight to secure his victory.
That final round was so bad for Hawes, one judge scored it a 10-8 for Imavov, rendering his scorecard a 28-28 draw. The two other judges saw it different, scoring the contest 29-28 in Hawes’ favour.
Tom Aspinall is a problem and the English heavyweight prospect showed that off against former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski on the opening bout of the main card.
The Team Kaobon export had Arlovski hurt in the first round with a lightning-fast one-two punch combination that had the Belarusian in retreat. Aspinall then drove a series of punches to the body and head of Arlovski, but “Pitbull” dug deep to survive and the remainder of that opening five minutes played out in the clinch as both men recharged their batteries for the second stanza.
Aspinall launched into a blast double-leg takedown early in the second round that caught Arlovski totally off-guard. Lancashire’s Aspinall then moved towards Arlovski’s back and slid his left arm in for a tight rear-naked choke without any hooks.
Arlovski looked stunned as he quickly tapped to a choke that happened before he had even realised. Really impressive performance from Aspinall against a wily veteran who is as dangerous as he is experienced.
UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs. Lewis full results
Heavyweight: Derrick Lewis def. Curtis Blaydes by KO (punch) at 1:26 of round two
Catchweight: Yana Kunitskaya def. Ketlen Vieira by unanimous decision after three rounds
Featherweight: Darrick Minner def. Charles Rosa by unanimous decision after three rounds
Heavyweight: Chris Daukaus def. Alexey Oleynik by TKO (punches) at 1:55 of round one
Middleweight: Phil Hawes def. Nassourdine Imavov by majority decision after three rounds
Heavyweight: Tom Aspinall def. Andrei Arlovski by submission (rear-naked choke) at 1:09 of round two
Catchweight: Jared Gordon def. Danny Chavez by unanimous decision after three rounds
Bantamweight: John Castañeda def. Eddie Wineland by TKO (punches) at 4:44 of round one
Featherweight: Julian Erosa def. Nate Landwehr by TKO (flying knee) at 0:56 of round one
Women’s Flyweight: Casey O’Neill def. Shana Dobson by TKO (punches) at 3:41 of round two
Catchweight: Aiemann Zahabi def. Drako Rodriguez by KO (punch) at 3:05 of round one
Heavyweight: Sergey Spivak def. Jared Vanderaa by TKO (punches) at 4:32 of round two