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UFC Fight Night 102 fight card: Derrick Lewis vs Shamil Abdurakhimov full fight preview

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Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight bruisers Derrick Lewis and Shamil Abdurakhimov will brawl this Friday (Dec. 9, 2016) at UFC Fight Night 102 inside Times Union Center in Albany, New York.

Lewis is one of the most powerful punchers in a division of men who hit really, really hard. That’s carried him to success in his last four wins, and Lewis has now earned a position inside the Top 15. Unlike his opponent — and most of his peers — Abdurakhimov is more of a volume kickboxer. He’s also done well since a shaky debut and will be looking for the biggest win of his career here.

Let’s take a look at the keys to victory for both men:

Derrick Lewis
Record: 16-4-1
Key Wins: Roy Nelson (UFC Fight Night 90), Gabriel Gonzaga (UFC Fight Night 86), Viktor Pesta (UFC 192), Damien Grabowski (UFC Fight Night 82)
Key Losses: Shawn Jordan (UFC Fight Night 68), Matt Mitrione (UFC Fight Night 50)
Keys to Victory: Lewis is a hugely powerful man. Though his flurries of big punches and the random high kick are certainly dangerous, Lewis has actually finished most of his bouts inside the Octagon by tossing his opponent to the mat and bombing on him with ground strikes.

Lewis needs to mix both approaches to win this fight. Perhaps most importantly, Lewis cannot afford to waste time. He has proven that he keeps his power deep into fights, but he still slows down considerably and is usually blasting foes even more tired than him.

Abdurakhimov will keep his pace.

With that in mind, Lewis should be chasing the early knockout. He throws far harder than his opponent, and that will keep his opponent on the defensive. If the knockout doesn’t materialize, Lewis can switch it up and look to dump his opponent to the mat. Abdurakhimov didn’t show much of a bottom game against Timothy Johnson. While some of that can be attributed to Octagon jitters, Lewis’ top game is far more devastating and only requires a small window to end the bout.

VS.

Shamil Abdurakhimov
Record: 17-3
Key Wins: Anthony Hamilton (UFC Fight Night 83), Walt Harris (UFC Fight Night 96)
Key Losses: Timothy Johnson
Keys to Victory: Abdurakhimov is an International Master of Sports in Kickboxing, and he has a background in Sanshou and freestyle wrestling as well. Inside the cage, that’s translated to a high-volume and technical kickboxer who is fairly difficult to take down.

That may be enough to beat Lewis.

The primary concern for Abdurakhimov is avoiding his opponent’s blitzes. In recent bouts, Lewis’ opponents either gas out trying to wrestle him or are thrown to the mat and finished themselves. Thanks to his style, the Russian should be able to avoid both of those fates. Fighters that have chosen to stand and kickbox with Lewis generally do far better. Matt Mitrione and Shawn Jordan both knocked him out on the feet, and while those two fighters hit harder than Abdurakhimov, he can instead work to pick his foe apart.

If Abdurakhimov stays tight defensively while working his quick combinations, he should do very well. Plus, in a five-round fight, it favors the man whose pace does not drop so drastically.

Bottom Line: It’s an important bout for two fighters trying to become contenders.

Lewis has a fair amount of momentum behind him thanks to his style and fan support. His last bout was a major accomplishment for him, and another big win in his first main event will push him further up the ladder. If he wins here, a Top 10 test is next for “Black Beast.”

On the other hand, a loss is a definite setback. Lewis has put together four straight wins, and a loss here forces him to start that win streak anew. This could be a really big moment for Abdurakhimov. He’s proven his skills but hasn’t yet made any definitive statements, as that’s a difficult task for a Heavyweight without one-punch power. That said, defeating a streaking finisher like Lewis in a main event would definitely give him a push.

Meanwhile, a loss drops his record to 2-2 inside the Octagon. He won’t be released, but at 35 years old, the time for Abdurakhimov to make an impact is right now. He can’t really afford to lose any ground.

At UFC Fight Night 102, Derrick Lewis and Shamil Abdurakhimov will clash in the main event. Which fighter will remain standing when the dust settles?

Source:: mma mania