Derrick Lewis vs. Junior Dos Santos was dramatic.
Every time it seemed one man was pulling ahead, the other would respond ferociously. Lewis was backed up by a big overhand right early in round one. Dos Santos moved in for the kill and was immediately greeted by a punch that staggered him. Towards the end of the first, JDS landed a crunching spinning back kick to the body. It had Lewis curled over holding his gut. Somehow the “Black Beast” managed to fire back with a hellacious uppercut that forced “Cigano” back long enough to end the round.
Dos Santos’ crisp boxing proved to be the difference-maker in the second round, following up a sniper-like straight right with uppercuts in the clinch and ground-and-pound to close out the show.
What was the highlight of the fight?
Normally, one would pick the finishing sequence as a fight’s highlight. In this circumstance, it has to be ridiculous spinning body kick JDS landed on Lewis. The only thing more surprising than the body kick was the counter shot Lewis threw in response.
For a moment it seemed we would see a repeat of Scott Smith vs. Pete Sell. Unfortunately for Lewis, he failed to land the big bomb and was far too hurt from the body shot to do anything but survive the round.
Where do these two go from here?
Dos Santos entered the fight as the number eight ranked heavyweight, according to the UFC. After finishing third-ranked Lewis, JDS’ redemption story is in full force. I am already sold on a Daniel Cormier vs. Dos Santos title fight, but the will-he-won’t-he presence of Brock Lesnar still looms over the division. Depending on Cormier’s next fight, Dos Santos vs. Francis Ngannou would make for a clear number one contender. A trilogy bout with Stipe Miocic is also intriguing
For Lewis, this latest setback puts him on a two-fight skid. The former heavyweight title challenger had said a win over Dos Santos would set up a fight vs. Miocic. That fight could still feasibly be next — depending on what happens with Cormier, Lesnar, Ngannou, and Miocic — but I would rather see Lewis take a small step down and face the winner of Curtis Blaydes vs. Justin Willis.
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