Derrick Lewis Produces Biggest Main Event Upset in Five Years at UFC Vegas 19

Curtis Blaydes Knocked Out By Derrick Lewis

  • Derrick Lewis knocked out Curtis Blaydes at UFC Vegas 19.
  • At +350 via William Hill, Lewis scored the biggest main event upset since +400 Michael Bisping beat Luke Rockhold five years ago.
  • Lewis says he wants a three-round bout next and his preferred opponent is Alistair Overeem.

Overlooking Derrick Lewis has proved to be a mistake more than once.

Lewis closed as the +120 underdog against Marcin Tybura in 2018. He knocked out Tybur in the third round. The Black Beast was also a +280 underdog against Francis Ngannou at UFC 226. Although it was boring and ugly, he still pulled off the upset over the Predator. Then when he fought Alexander Volkov, Lewis also closed as the +150 underdog. He knocked out Volkov with less than 30 second left in the fight.

So when the Black Beast climbed the Octagon on Saturday night as the heavy +350 to +400 betting underdog ( depending on which of the best UFC betting sites you use ) against Curtis Blaydes, bettors who backed Blaydes prayed that this wouldn’t be one of the fights where Lewis would beat the odds again. Apparently, they didn’t pray too hard.

Outlanded 28-7 in total strikes landed, Lewis unleashed an uppercut from hell that knocked out Blaydes cold in the second round of their main event bout at UFC Vegas 19. Blaydes had a very effective first round, landing combinations while investing on leg kicks that targeted Lewis’ lead leg. Things looked the same in the second round until Blaydes tried to duck while attempting a takedown. Lewis timed him perfectly and just like that, the Black Beast produced the biggest main event upset since a +400 Michael Bisping stunned Luke Rockhold five years ago.

Blaydes’ Gameplan

In the lead up to the fight, Blaydes made no secret of his game plan. Being a former NJCAA wrestling champion, Blaydes is one of the best wrestlers in the UFC’s heavyweight division. His 59 career takedowns are the most in the history of the UFC’s heavyweight division and his penchant for taking his opponents down too much earned the ire of UFC President Dana White who once said Blaydes “looks stupid”. But because that style has propelled him to the top of the rankings, Blaydes said on fight week that he wouldn’t stand and trade with Lewis.

Whether he thought that Lewis could no longer pull the trigger or not, Blaydes didn’t land a single takedown in the fight, attempting just three overall. Perhaps he was contented after out-striking Lewis 26-4 in the first round while landing 59% of his strikes, he felt he could beat Lewis on the feet. But then he forgot about Lewis’ absurd one punch knockout power. Or the fact that the Black Beast is the UFC’s all-time leader in knockout wins in the heavyweight division. That proved costly.

Not only did Blaydes get stopped, he got knocked out cold. And Lewis? The Black Beast added to his record with a 12th UFC knockout on Saturday night and put himself one fight closer to getting another crack at the UFC gold. And yeah, that wasn’t just another career-highlight for Lewis, it was also an early Knockout of the Year contender.

Clapping Overeem’s Cheeks?

One day before putting Blaydes to sleep, Lewis said that he wants to clap Alistair Overeem’s cheeks next. According to the Black Beast, he has not forgotten some of the nice things that Reem said about him and now that Overeem says he is near retirement, Lewis wants a piece of him before he rides into the sunset. But after beating Blaydes, those plans could change.

Francis Ngannou is the next challenger for Stipe Miocic. Their fight will be on March 27th at UFC 260. According to UFC President Dana White, former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones will face the winner of Miocic vs Ngannou but outside those three men, it’s Derrick Lewis who now has the pole position. If anything happens to Ngannou or Jones before they fight for the belt, there’s a good chance that Lewis steps in or after both get their title shots, Lewis could be next.

That title fight may not be in Lewis’ immediate plans. Speaking to media after the fight, Lewis revealed what he wants next:

Derrick Lewis certainly earned his right to get another five-round main event for his next bout. But he just wants to stay busy. And he hates five-round bouts. That sounds crazy but you have to love him for his honesty. That’s why fans adore the Black Beast.

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Shane Acedera / Author

Shane grew up watching the Magic & Bird rivalry but ended up rooting for Detroit's Bad Boys team in the 1990s NBA. He loves to tell sports stories and has been writing about sports since high school. When Shane isn't busy jotting down his thoughts, he's just chillin' at home with his wife Rocelle and their two dogs named Horry and Fisher. He recently added a new family member, adopting a handsome retired K-9 named Ranger.