Derrick Lewis has set his eyes on a personal match up after knocking out Curtis Blaydes at UFC Vegas 19 this past weekend.
‘The Black Beast’ wasn’t taken down once against the man who holds the record for the most takedowns in heavyweight history, before he turned Blaydes’ lights out with a single uppercut in the second round to make it four wins in a row.
Many people expected Blaydes to get the takedown relatively easily and grind out a win over Lewis, who has notoriously struggled once being taken down in the past. Instead, the first round was a stand up affair with both men landing strikes that wobbled the opponent.
The second round was a different story though, as Blaydes came out looking for a takedown early which was stuffed well by Lewis. Blaydes seemed too confident about getting the takedown because of both their strengths in the past, and that led to a very lazy takedown attempt which saw Lewis capitalise with that violent uppercut knockout.
During his post-fight interview, Lewis acknowledged that there wasn’t much point talking about a title shot considering the state of the top of the division right now. Stipe Miocic will defend the title against Francis Ngannou at UFC 260 next month and Dana White has already confirmed that the winner of the fight will welcome Jon Jones to the heavyweight division, most likely in the summer.
With Alexander Volkov beating Alistair Overeem earlier this month the belief was that he was now out of the hunt for UFC gold in what he described as his ‘final run’ at the belt. But Lewis has seemingly given him a way back in by calling for a fight with the legendary Dutch kickboxer after trash talk over the years.
Speaking to the media, Lewis said after his big win:
“I want Overeem next. Soon as possible. As soon as he passes his concussion protocol, whatever, his suspension, whatever he got.
“I don’t care [about his loss]. He’s had a couple of losses in a row. It’d be cool just to fight him, because he’s a so-called legend. So it’d be cool to fight somebody like that. And also, he’s been talking trash. He’s been saying his teammate, Curtis, could handle this lightweight. We’ve been trying to fight him for years, and he turned down the fight four times already.”
A fight between the two would mean Lewis putting his number two ranking on the line, although he acknowledges the rankings don’t mean much at the moment. He’s already beaten Volkov fairly recently and with a title shot unlikely this year without another win to keep his momentum up, he has to take the risk.
A three round fight against Overeem keeps the division moving but also allows the new blood in the weight class to get big fights too.
Chris Daukaus and Tom Aspinall both secured impressive stoppage wins on the night too, with Daukaus KO’ing Aleksei Oleinik in the first round while Aspinall submitted Andrei Arlovski in the second after a very aggressive first round on the feet too.
The two could likely fight each other next, although I’d rather see them kept apart until later down the line. If they’re matched up well later this year they could be in and around the top seven or so by the end of the year and looking at a title run themselves in 2022.
As for Blaydes, he must go back to the drawing board. His best bet is likely to fight the loser of the UFC Vegas 20 main event between Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Cyril Gane, both of whom he has never fought before. He will have to work his way back up to title contention with another run of wins after being so close, but yet so far once again.