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Fighter on Fighter: Breaking down UFC Fight Night 105’s Derrick Lewis

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MMAmania.com resident fighter analyst — and aspiring professional fighter — Andrew Richardson breaks down the mixed martial arts (MMA) game of UFC Fight Night 105’s Derrick Lewis, who will look to take another step toward the title mix this Sunday (Feb. 19, 2017) inside Scotiabank Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

One of the heaviest punchers in the sport, Derrick Lewis, will square off opposite fellow knockout artist, Travis Browne, this Sunday (Feb. 19, 2017) at UFC Fight Night 105 inside Scotiabank Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Lewis built up a solid record fairly quickly on the regional scene, proving his knockout power repeatedly before earning the call up to UFC. He was inconsistent in his first few fights, but Lewis has since began to put everything together, and consistent wins have been the result. Now, headlining his second straight card, Lewis has the potential to be the next big thing at Heavyweight. Against the first Top 10-ranked foe of his career, the stakes are quite high for “Black Beast.”

Let’s take a closer look at this skill set:

Striking

Originally a boxer, Lewis possesses a ton of power in his hands. He has a habit of forcing punches rather than setting them up, but Lewis’ hand speed and skill is a bit more obvious when he attacks in combinations.

Either way, he’s landed 15 knockouts so far.

Lewis generally remains on the outside until he’s ready to explode. From that range, Lewis waits for his moment, usually far enough away to avoid any big shots from his opponent. Then, Lewis will burst forward in a good stance and can throw technical punches and combinations. On the offensive, he’s able to string together powerful punches, which makes him rather dangerous (GIF).

One of Lewis’ best surprises is his ability to mix a random high kick into this attack. It’s a little iffy as to whether he’ll actually set it up with punches, but that doesn’t really matter. When the 260-pound “Black Beast” slams his whole leg into his opponent, it makes an impact. Plus, the result of that kick is that his opponent must plant their feet and block, which leaves them in range for the ensuing bombs. If the kick instead knocks them off-balance, his opponent is poor position to trade shots with Lewis.

In Lewis’ bout with Roy Nelson, he expanded on this habit. Multiple times, Lewis barreled forward with a hard step knee into Nelson’s mid-section. At one point, he even threw a switch high kick and followed up with an immediate regular high kick.

Often, Lewis punches himself into the clinch, where he can dirty box. That’s something that Lewis does quite well, as he’ll work the body and head with big hooks. He often will use his left hand to frame/grab his opponent’s arm or head, using that arm to control and set up the big right hand. Lastly, in his bout with Nelson, Lewis commonly went to the double-collar tie and knees to the body, a technique proven to work opposite “Big Country.”

Finally, Lewis can definitely hold his own in a brawl. If things get ugly, Lewis can bite down on his mouthpiece and trade hard shots. Even when tired, Lewis is able to generate a ton of power (GIF).

Wrestling

Despite his ferocious punching power, Lewis is definitely willing to look for takedowns of his own. They’re rarely all that technical, but Lewis is certainly strong enough to finish a shot if he’s able to get into decent position.

Lewis gains top position in several situations. On occasion, he’ll look to catch a kick and throw his man off-balance. Alternatively, Lewis will change levels against the fence and look to lift his foe with a double leg. Most commonly, he reverses his opponent’s takedown attempts. Few men with wrestling backgrounds are willing to stand and trade with “Black Beast,” meaning they try to immediately drop for takedowns.

Often, Lewis is unable to defend the initial takedowns. His sprawl and clinch defense aren’t bad, but determined wrestlers generally manage to drag him down to the mat. However, Lewis has proven to be very good at scrambling up to his feet — the powerful Heavyweight simply forces his way up — and that exhausts his foe.

Getting back up the feet is an important skill, and it’s the one I chose to look at in this week’s technique highlight.

Shooting for takedowns only to have an opponent stand back up is exhausting. Before long, Lewis is more easily able to deny takedowns. Once that happens, his opponent is in a terrible spot. Because of fatigue, he can no longer easily land takedowns and standing with Lewis while gassed is a recipe for getting flattened.

Therefore, a desperation, ugly shot often follows.

When that happens, Lewis will sprawl, dig for an underhook, and push his opponent to his back. Once on top, Lewis is absolutely devastating (GIF). He dives into guard with huge punches, will stack his opponent to strike, and has passed into mount to finish as well.

It’s the absolute worst position to be in opposite the Texan, whose size pins his opponent to the mat and leaves them unable to avoid his heavy hands.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Lewis has never found a need for submissions — the fight is over via violence once he gets on top. At the same time, Lewis has never really been threatened by a submission, as Lewis uses the aforementioned underhook and stiff arm to simply shake his man off after building up some energy.

Heavyweight jiu-jitsu is weird.

Conclusion

Lewis is on a solid five-fight win streak that includes four finishes over pretty good competition. Still, Browne is a step up in competition, someone who has faced — and even beaten — great fighters. Lewis’ athleticism and toughness have carried him even without a deep technical game, but the same could be said of his opponent. Ultimately, this bout is another rung in the ladder for Lewis, who is still a potential title contender.

*****

Andrew Richardson, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu purple belt, is an undefeated amateur fighter who trains at Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, California. In addition to learning alongside world-class talent, Andrew has scouted opponents and developed winning strategies for several of the sport’s most elite fighters.

Source:: mma mania