FightWatch- UFC: Lewis vs. Daukaus
Better late than never, they say. I often talk about life getting in the way on this site- although with a new site domain and revamped socials, I've really been trying as of late. But it's never been more accurate than it is at the moment. I've made great progress with my health, with my strength increasing and my pain and fatigue lessening, which means I've been able to work all through the last 6 months, including most of lockdown. But with the school year ending last Thursday, I was ready to chill this week- but nope, appointments and Christmas commitments have meant I'm yet to completely take my foot off the gas.
So here we are. Another FightWatch. A UFC review. If there was ever an okay time to be late... it's probably now. We're reviewing a Fight Night, so not a major PPV or anything, and also, UFC are taking a couple of weeks off around the Christmas period. So my late reviews are helping fill the void really. I'm also thinking of doing a retro FightWatch, seeing as the schedule will likely relax following Boxing Day.
Derrick Lewis is one of the most entertaining fighters in the UFC, both in and out of the cage. Seriously, check out his Instagram, he's hilarious. But he's far more than a funny personality, as a win in this heavyweight main event will make him the all-time leader for knockout finishes in the Octagon. Chris Daukaus is an up-and-coming heavyweight making some noise in the division, with recent wins over Rodrigo Nascimento, Alexey Oleynik & Shamil Abdurakhimov all netting him Performance of the Night bonuses. With Lewis being a mainstay in the UFC's biggest division, is it time for some new blood at the top?
In the co-main, we get a battle between ranked welterweights, as Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson faces Belal "Remember The Name" Muhammad. And the women of the UFC represent in a key spot, as Angela Hill takes on Amanda Lemos in the strawweight division.
Let's do this!
Fight 1: (155) Jordan Leavitt def. Matt Sayles via submission (inverted triangle choke) at 2:05 of R2
Thoughts: Leavitt looked sharp with his strikes in the early going, particularly his kicks, but it was the ground game where he really shined. Once he had Sayles on the canvas, it was completely one-sided. Sayles did well to survive the choke attempts in R1, but a little innovation from Leavitt got it done in the second. Very impressive performance!
Fight 2: (265) Don'Tale Mayes def. Josh Parisian via TKO (elbows) at 3:26 of R3
Thoughts: Mayes took a grappling-heavy approach, and it paid off for much of this fight, with ground control, submission attempts, and ground and pound. One of the most... interesting aspects of this fight was Mayes being in north-south position and opting to hit Parisian with his groin. Okay then. Eventually, Mayes traps Parisian in the crucifix, and there's no way out. Not always the most exciting fight, but a statement victory for sure.
Fight 3: (W-135) Raquel Pennington def. Macy Chiasson via submission (guillotine choke) at 3:07 of R2
Thoughts: This was a competitive, intense fight. Both ladies threw with bad intentions all the way through, with Raquel swarming a lot to deal with the size advantage of Chiasson. Hard to say who won the first round, but Chiasson may have edged it with a late takedown and shoulder strikes on the ground. At least it wasn't her groin. Right up until the finish it was a very even, fun fight, before Pennington sunk in that choke. First time Chiasson's ever been finished, according to the commentary team, so that's a feather in Rocky's cap.
Fight 4: (145) Charles Jourdain def. Andre Ewell via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 29-27)
Thoughts: This was crazy! Started as a fun, competitive first round which Ewell won on one judge's scorecard, but then it was the Jourdain show. He started by attacking the legs to slow Ewell's pace, then just unleashing hell. Ewell's corner was begging for forward pressure and not to wait to counter strike, but Ewell was just beaten down. Jourdain even let out a couple of war cries as he looked for the finish, and dropped Ewell with a teep kick right before the final horn. First time on the show we've needed the judges, but Stevie Wonder could have got that one right.
Fight 5: (W Catchweight- 127.5) Melissa Gatto def. Sijara Eubanks via TKO (body kick and punches) at 0:45 of R3
Thoughts: Gatto showed great resilience and coming back from adversity, as the veteran Eubanks took her down and smothered her for half the fight. Gatto kept trying for submissions from the bottom, and although she couldn't lock in anything tight, she was able to turn a kimura attempt into a sweep to gain top control in the second round. Every round starts standing though, and a beautifully placed front kick to the liver area completely shut things down! Great win.
Fight 6: (Catchweight- 267 lbs) Justin Tafa def. Harry Hunsucker via KO (head kick) at 1:53 of R1
Thoughts: Tafa made unfortunate UFC history by being the first heavyweight to ever miss weight (Mark Hunt took to social media to claim that Brock Lesnar missed weight in their fight, in his never ending sour grapes about UFC 200), but all that mess will soon be forgotten about if Tafa can deliver devastating KOs like this! That Polynesian power, baby!
Fight 7: (185) Gerald Meerschaert def. Dustin Stoltzfus via submission (rear naked choke) at 2:58 of R3
Thoughts: Huge comeback for Meerschaert, who was a +500 underdog on the live odds in R3. Stoltzfus has great skill on the ground, and controlled a majority of the fight, even though GM3 is highly skilled in grappling. To use an old cliche, Meerschaert snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with this one.
Fight 1: (145) Cub Swanson def. Darren Elkins via TKO (spinning wheel kick & punches) at 2:12 of R1
Thoughts: I was thinking that Swanson looked like a sniper with his sharp striking, only for Brendan Fitzgerald to say the exact same thing on commentary a moment later. Elkins was swinging and trying to hang in there with his trademark toughness, but Cub was just faster, more accurate and more technical. He chipped away with some jabs and found his range with the hook, only to look for the finish with the spinning kick for style points. Excellent finish by the veteran Swanson.
Fight 2: (155) Mateusz Gamrot def. Carlos Diego Ferreira via TKO (knee to body) at 3:26 of R2
Thoughts: This was a strong battle between both men, largely striking because both fighters are seasoned grapplers, as we saw in some brief high level scrambles where takedowns were defended. Odd finish where Gamrost was working for a takedown along the fence and hit a knee to the ribs, causing Ferreira to immediately verbally submit to the referee. Good fight, unfortunate way for it to end.
Fight 3: (135) Ricky Simon def. Raphael Assuncao via KO (punches) at 2:14 of R2
Thoughts: Ricky Simon was a heavy favourite in this fight, and he lived up to it here, beating the #12 ranked Assuncao in devastating fashion. Simon is the younger, stronger fighter, and controlled things on the ground in the first round. He would then lead the dance on the feet in the second, landing a huge overhand right to close the show.
Fight 4: (W-115) Angela Lemos def. Angela Hill via split decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)
Thoughts: Guessing the judge that scored it 30-27 for Lemos had money on her. Lots of outrage in the days following this fight, with most fans and critics agreeing that the decision should have gone to Hill. Lemos landed a big front kick in the first round that wobbled Hill and allowed her to take control, but Hill came back with pressure striking through rounds 2 and 3. Decision aside, top notch fight.
Fight 5: (170) Belal Muhammad def. Stephen Thompson via UD (30-25, 30-26 X 2)
Thoughts: Smart gameplan by Muhammad, but a very boring way to spend 15 minutes. Wonderboy was completely shut down here. Just ground domination for the majority of 3 rounds, as the scoring indicates with multiple 10-8 rounds scored. It's the kind of win that will advance Muhammad in the rankings, but not one that's going to make people- UFC brass included- want to see him in a title fight.
Main Event: (265) Derrick Lewis def. Chris Daukaus via KO (punches) at 3:36 of R1
Thoughts: Huge KO for the Black Beast to set the UFC record. As is usual with Lewis, nothing overly technical, just some huge hooks in close to put Daukaus out. Lewis garnered a little backlash for his post fight comments about knocking out "a cop"- that being Daukaus' former day job- but really, people should know what to expect from Lewis. Don't take his words too seriously. He also took his cup out post-fight and threw it into the crowd. Some guy caught it and kept it. Gross.
Fantastic Fight Night card. Dana White noted after the show that it came in 3rd all time for finishes on a UFC event- 10/13 fights didn't need the judges. That's probably a good thing given the absolute shenanigans in the Lemos/Hill fight. The only fight really not worth your time is the Muhammad/Thompson fight. Otherwise, this would make a great watch on Christmas Eve or Boxing Day, to fill that void of no UFC event if you haven't seen it already. MMA very close to its very best!
By Mick Robson