Derrick Lewis is a pretty extraordinary figure in UFC history. He competes more frequently than any heavyweight and because of that he quickly made his mark in the record books. He did achieve the biggest Saturday, however, setting a new mark for most knockouts in heavyweight history with his TKO of Aleksei Oleinik.
Lewis’ power is a game changer, as we have seen time and time again. Whether it’s giving Alexander Volkov a dose of fist-to-face at the end of a fight he was definitely losing, or taking a small opening to blast Oleinik after getting involved in a tough deal, Lewis doesn’t need a lot of chances to finish a fight. .
Lewis was as humble as he gets when discussing his place in UFC history after the fight. He was slightly taken aback being the new bartender in the division where knockouts are most common, but he set to work to make it happen.
It has been an epic night for Lewis, and while it remains to be seen where this victory – which was his third in a row – will take him, there is no doubt that he will only build on his record in future fights.
2. Oh so close for Aleksei Oleinik
Aleksei Oleinik had Lewis where he wanted him – not once, but multiple times in the main event. The grapple ace couldn’t have asked for better positions to work on his game on “The Black Beast,” but his litany of tricks didn’t work this time around.
Oleinik tried mightily to tear Lewis’ head off his shoulders for his 60th career victory, but to no avail. It must be a tough pill to swallow, especially after allowing Lewis to turn the tide and end the fight early in the second round.
At 43, it was time for Oleinik to secure a signing victory that could elevate him to the rank of title contender. It didn’t materialize, but it doesn’t look like the Russian has any plans to go anywhere. He said before the fight he still has several more years in the game, and while he can’t make his moves work on Lewis, there are still some fighters the veteran can be more effective against.
3. Chris Weidman rebondit
Nobody, including Chris Weidman, would claim that his performance against Omari Akhmedov was anything special. Weidman won by unanimous decision, however, and it extends his life as a relevant name in the sport.
It got risky for a while, with Weidman in the middle of the contest. Akhmedov put it on him in the second round, and it was a big question whether he would be able to weather the odds. Weidman did, and that alone is telling at this point in his career.
If we’re being honest, Weidman didn’t do anything to show he was going to be a top middleweight again. What he has done, however, is prove that he can compete with some solid competition. It is very clear that Weidman is not done with this part of his life and he wants to keep fighting for as long as possible. A loss here would have put him in a tough spot, but winning extends his life in the sport longer.
With some pressure on his shoulders, maybe Weidman will be able to perform a little more freely next time around. But judging by this performance, he’s going to have his hands full against anyone higher than Akhmedov in the standings.
4. Beneil Dariush marks another highlight
OK, this highlighting reel from Beneil Dariush is getting pretty loaded with sick finishes. If you thought his brilliant Drakkar Klose knockout in March was enjoyable, then Scott Holtzman’s backfist stopping takes the cake as his best.
Dariush produced one of the most memorable knockouts of 2020 so far when he completely flattened Holtzman in the first round of their wrestling weight fight, and now Dariush has claimed five straight wins.
Looking at the landscape of the UFC lightweight division, Dariush has to be considered one of the most underrated names. He ran out of weight for this one, though, and it can’t happen again. With any luck, giving up 20% of his purse and losing a guaranteed bonus of $ 50,000 “Performance of the Night” teaches him this lesson.
Dariush has failed only once in his last seven fights, and it was the memorable 42-second loss to Alexander Hernandez in March 2018. He has been sidelined five in a row since then, and with saves during of the last four. With this working set, Dariush deserves another crack at a big name at 155 pounds.
5. Kevin Holland redeems himself
Last week in that same column, I criticized Kevin Holland for the classless way he handled the mysterious Trevin Giles breakdown that resulted in their last-minute middleweight fight being called off at the UFC on ESPN + 31.
It wasn’t a good look, but he largely erased that moment by creating a new one against Joaquin Buckley.
After his fight with Giles was called off, the UFC brought Holland back seven days later for the game with Buckley, a promotional newcomer. Holland was sharper than he ever was, and he split his opponent until he landed a dynamite with his right hand that put Buckley on impact and sent his mouthguard off steal.
Holland was rightly awarded a $ 50,000 bonus for his efforts, and his charisma shone again on his post-fight media tours. Let’s have more of that, please, and less trashy assumptions about another fighter’s potentially serious medical problem.