What more can be said about Derrick Lewis that hasn’t already been said? He’s a scary individual. No one can give an interview like Lewis. It doesn’t take long for the momentum of a fight he’s losing to swing in his favor. Every single one of those sayings applied to his first round decimation of Chris Daukaus at UFC Vegas 45. Daukaus took an early lead by throwing a bit more volume, but once Lewis found an angle he was happy with, he launched a vicious attack and it wasn’t long before Daukaus fell to the canvas for a nap while Lewis celebrated in a manner only Derrick Lewis can... by removing his cup from his shorts and throwing it into the audience.
Lewis has a lot of work to do if he wants to fight for the title again, but his unique personality makes the road easier for him than it would be otherwise. He ripped on prepping for five round fights in his post-fight interview, no surprise given Lewis’ penchant for finishing fights early. If he wants a fresh fight against an elite opponent, Stipe Miocic appears the only logical candidate as Lewis has fought almost everyone else anywhere near the top. Some may bring up Jon Jones, but it’s hard to count on Jones at this stage. Regardless, Lewis may need to play gatekeeper again before he gets a crack at another elite opponent, much less the title.
This shouldn’t be too big of a setback for Daukaus. Yes, it was a violent loss, but Daukaus’ meteoric rise to the top of the division appeared a little too good to be true given he was on no one’s list for top prospects when he entered the UFC. Look for a fight or two against opponents hovering around the ten spot in the UFC’s official rankings. If Dauakaus can emerge successful in that endeavor -- a strong likelihood given he’s only started training full-time earlier this month -- he’ll be in a stronger spot than he was heading into this contest.
As for the rest of the card....
- Every fight answers questions, but it also creates new questions. Is Belal Muhammad that good, or is Stephen Thompson that eroded? Regardless, Muhammad absolutely smothered the former title challenger, utilizing relentless wrestling to ground the flashy attack of Thompson in dominant fashion. Muhammad called out Leon Edwards, reminding the Brit they have unfinished business from their no contest last March. Given his last couple of wins, Muhammad has enough cred that Edwards at least has to acknowledge the callout.
- The majority of the MMA community thought the wrong fighter got her hand raised, but no one will say Amanda Lemos and Angela Hill didn’t leave everything in the cage. Lemos scored a jaw-dropping front kick that floored Hill in the first to set the tone early. Hill survived, coming back strong, pushing the pace on a fading Lemos. However, Lemos threw just enough heavy shots in the second round to convince enough judges she was the rightful winner.
- Some have questioned the fight IQ of Ricky Simon in the past. It doesn’t appear fair to do that anymore. After a first round in which he dominated Raphael Assuncao with the use of his wrestling and positioning, his opened up his striking in the second after Assuncao was looking for the takedowns. It resulted in a hook-uppercut combination that put the respected veteran away, giving Simon arguably the biggest win of his career.
- While the ending to Mateusz Gamrot and Diego Ferreira caused a lot of confusion at the moment, it turned out to be a fantastic ending to a fun fight. The two engaged in a series of incredible scrambles, not to mention the competitive exchanges on the feet. The end came when Gamrot landed a brutal knee to the side of Ferriera’s ribs against the cage at the end of a scramble. Accuracy makes a difference, even with shots on the ground.
- In fight years, it can’t be denied Cub Swanson is old. You wouldn’t know it based on how he looked against the legendarily durable Darren Elkins. Sniping Elkins with a series of heavy shots, Herb Dean had seen enough when a wheel kick sent Elkins to the mat for the third time. Cub became just the fourth person to stop Elkins, though it could be argued none of those stoppages were as impressive as Swanson’s.
- Dustin Stoltzfus had his first UFC victory within his grasp. Gerald Meerschaert continually was giving up positions and all Stoltzfus had to do was scramble back to his feet after his leg lock attempt. He just didn’t have the gas to do so, allowing Meerschaet to crawl on his back and sink in a RNC to secure a come-from-behind victory in the third for his third consecutive win, all via submission. Not a bad birthday present to himself....
- No one expected a lot of technique to be on show between Justin Tafa and Harry Hunsucker. There wasn’t, but it sure as hell was fun while it lasted. Tafa’s power proved to be the difference, landing a head kick that Hunsucker fully blocked, but still sent him sprawling to the canvas. Too bad Tafa being the first heavyweight to miss weight in UFC history will overshadow this performance....
- No one will deny Sijara Eubanks had the potential to be a top-flight flyweight. If only she could have gotten the weight cut under control consistently. After an opening round that saw her smother Melissa Gatto, Gatto reversed the position in the second round as Eubanks began to fade. Early in the third, a Gatto front kick to the liver of Eubanks crumpled her, giving Gatto her second UFC win... and may have sent Eubanks out the door.
- Following his one-sided decision win over Andre Ewell, Charles Jourdain explained he was on the last fight of his contract and wasn’t sure the UFC would want him back. There’s no doubt the Canadian will be back in the UFC, fighting with a fire that hadn’t been previously seen, landing several punches, knees, and kicks that looked like they might put Ewell to sleep. This win could be seen as the turning point for Jourdain’s career.
- Is there a scrappier woman in the UFC than Raquel Pennington? Despite being noticeably smaller than Macy Chiasson while fighting up a weight class at featherweight, Pennington continued to take the fight to Chiasson, even after Chiasson had some success with her additional length and bulk. Pennington persevered, finding Chiasson’s neck when the fight hit the mat in the second and secured a funky guillotine choke.
- Don’Tale Mayes turned in what should be looked at as a breakthrough performance. He dominated Josh Parisian every second of the fight as long as it lasted. The times in which he didn’t have Parisian on his back were rare, beating down on the big man with elbows and punches, eventually getting a stoppage from the crucifix position. Too bad his dominance is going to be overshadowed by his hip thrusts....
- Don’t be surprised if you get burned playing with fire. Despite knowing Jordan Leavitt is an accomplished BJJ practitioner, Matt Sayles opted to slam Leavitt to the mat and paid for it by getting caught in the rarely seen inverted triangle choke. All that despite Sayles successfully sneaking out of Leavitt’s repeated submission attempts in the first round....