Blaydes vs Lewis Recap: UFC’s Fight Night was an event full of twists and turns. While the previous card looked to be underbooked in terms of talent, this card had some interesting matchups between young and old alike battling to move up the ranks at the end of the day.
Let’s dive into the action of the Main Card and see how each fight went down.
Heavyweight Bout – Andrei Arlovski vs. Tom Aspinall (W)
Finish by Submission RD 2 1:09
With Arlovski being so old, I did not expect much fight from him this match, but he put in a fairly good effort in the first round.
He took a mean flurry of punches that surely had him dazed, but I was impressed he was able to have the chin strength to get out of the situation. Then Round 2 came and simply put Aspinall came to play.
Arlovski let up his guard after a side kick and got swept to the ground by Aspinall and quickly submitted. I mean less than 3 seconds quick. Aspinall showed a lot of fight in that performance, let’s see if he could continue this momentum going forward.
Middleweight Bout – Phil Hawes (W) vs. Nassourdine Imavov
Winner by Decision RD 3 5:00
Not all too many people knew who Phil Hawes was coming into the fight, but many will be paying attention after his exciting performance, me being one of them.
Known as a Round 1 killer, I thought Hawes would tire out after dominant Round 1, but that was not the case. He started off the fight gaining a lot of clinch control and putting Imavov in a lot of places he’s not used to in terms of body control.
As the more technical fighter, I thought Imavov would thrive in this spot in the later rounds, but he doomed himself with yet another Round 2 dominated by body control. Hawes was supplying some violent slams to the ground and showing excellent power over his opponent.
Round 3 was really exciting as when Hawes was dominating in the clinch, Imavov was throwing haymakers and Hawes somehow was eating them like they were Wheaties. It got really scary late, but Hawes showed his promise and with a bit more work on stamina, he could be a force in this weight class.
Heavyweight Bout – Aleskei Oleinik vs. Chris Daukaus (W)
Winner by TKO/KO RD 1 1:55
Aleksei Oleinik has been a longtime UFC legend in the Heavyweight division but his time has come. That showed in his latest bout with youngster out of Pennsylvania Chris Daukaus as he made light work of the Russian.
The round started fairly even for about 30 seconds and then Oleinik got Daukaus into a decent clinch against the cage. While escaping that he was able to land a solid strike and for the next minute or so, it was blatantly clear that Oleinik’s lights were about to go out.
Daukaus finished the fight attacking him against the cage and proved to be a rather poor booking. It just wasn’t fun seeing a beloved fighter barely be able to walk out there and just get absolutely clobbered.
Featherweight Bout – Charles Rosa vs. Darrick Minner (W)
Winner by Decision RD 3 5:00
Minner was like an absolute spider monkey coming out of his corner last Saturday and it was a big part of why he got the win. Charles Rosa is a veteran in the UFC game but it looks like he hasn’t quite adjusted to the style of some of these newer fighters.
I thought Minner was way too green to win this fight, but the way he came in and pushed the pace the first round getting Rosa to the ground immediately boded that this fight would be going differently. After clearly winning Round 1, Minner kept up the effort in Round 2 immediately dropping Rosa and never letting go of control.
Rosa tried to get something going through submission attempts, but Minner countered everything Rosa had to offer. It was easy to tell that Rosa was not comfortable at any point in this fight.
After another takedown to start the round by Minner, it was an all-out war on the ground, but Minner held control nearly the entire time and prevailed.
I’m excited to see what the duo of Minner and coach James Krause could accomplish going forward.
Co-Main: Women Bantamweight Bout – Ketlen Viera vs. Yana Kunitskaya (W)
Winner by Decision RD 3 5:00
An all-around interesting fight started with Viera sticking to her strengths and getting Kunitskaya to the ground almost immediately. Throughout the round, they went through various transitions with Viera using her brute strength to keep control, however, Kunitskaya did not look tired from this ground assault and still got her fair share of strikes in.
Viera clearly wins Round 1 and Round 2 is set to begin with the live odds for Viera anchored at -1000. Kunitskaya must have gotten word and been deeply insulted because she put on a show Round 2.
She was beating Viera at her own game with takedowns and clinches against the fence while also far outstriking Viera.
While these strikes may not have been significant, the difference in total began to hard to ignore. Viera almost got Kunitskaya into a mean leglock, but Kunitskaya was able to gut it out and escape. Going into Round 3, it was clear there was an absolute war coming for the viewers’ delight.
Viera went straight for the takedown and struggled with Kunitskaya on the round for almost the entirety of the round. It was almost certain Viera would win until Kunitskaya out of nowhere escapes the grapple, flips to Full Guard, and starts teeing off on Viera.
I almost thought they would call it, but she was able to escape the round. In a shocking turn of events, the big upset occurs and Kunitskaya pulls away with a huge victory to climb the ladder in the Bantamweight division.
Main Event: Heavyweight Bout – Curtis Blaydes vs. Derrick Lewis
Finish by TKO/KO RD 2 1:26
I am a huge non-believer in Derrick Lewis. Going into this fight I knew he’s out of shape, his technical abilities are lacking beyond comprehension but somehow he’s a top contender in the Heavyweight division.
I know his knockout ability is out of this world, but it’s about whether he would be fast enough to keep up with his opponent’s strikes. Looking at the athletic mammoth that is Curtis Blaydes, it was hard to believe that a fighter of that caliber would fall victim to one of these strikes.
That showed in oddsmakers’ thoughts as they layed a -380 line with Blaydes as the favorite. Insisting that he wins 76% of the time with this total, there was only a 24% chance for that big hit to land. And it did.
In round 1, neither side was too anxious to get swinging, but once they did it was getting violent. Blaydes was not really applying much pressure until late in the round and was really trying to pick his strikes.
When they did land, they had Lewis legitimately wobbling trying to stay up and swing back. His footing was very stuck to the ground, and it was not able to keep up with the pace Blaydes had begun.
With a nice knee to the head followed by vicious swings to end the round, it seemed as if Blaydes had this one locked up.
The next round opened up with the two clashing in the middle of the ring and Blaydes getting Lewis into a clinch hold. Shortly after Lewis escaped, Blaydes proceeded to attempt a takedown on Lewis but exposed his head in the process.
Quickly, Lewis took advantage and clocked Blaydes with a hook to his left temple and he was out like a light. As soon as he hit the floor, Lewis kept swinging on, although Herb had called it nearly as soon as he hit the floor.
Lewis yet again knocks out a serious opponent and now holds the number 3 spot in the Heavyweight rankings.
Can his magical run continue? Time will tell.