UFC Fight Night Wichita: Dos Santos vs Lewis
By Ross Markey
The current heavyweight division is home to some of the heaviest hitters in recent memory with two of the most prevalent boxers of the weight class clashing this Saturday night as fan favourite Derrick ‘The Black Beast’ Lewis squares off with former world champion Junior Dos Santos in the main event of UFC Fight Night Wichita in the organisation’s first ever trip to Kansas.
Seeing his three fight win streak snapped in his unsuccessful siege of the heavyweight crown at the hands of Daniel Cormier, Lewis is looking to rebound into title contention with a win over the surging ‘Cigano’, who has put together an eye catching two fight win streak, beating both Blagoy Ivanov and then in spectacular fashion, halted the progress of the exciting Tai ‘Bam Bam’ Tuivasa in Adelaide. Both Lewis and Junior are highly dangerous with their hands but often it’s just said hands which they rely on to find the finish.
Despite being one dimensional to a certain extent, both men have the ability to shutoff anybody lights with one shot.
Louisiana’s Derrick Lewis has seen an incredible surge in popularity in the last couple of years, thanks to his hilarious Instagram page and post fight interviews, almost becoming an internet meme after stopping fellow contender Alexander Volkov in the closing seconds of the final round, arguably down on all three judges scorecards. The heavy hitting Lewis was also involved in a rather lackluster match up with another power house, Francis Ngannou. Both men were very tentative throughout their three round clash with significant strikes few and far between as Lewis scored a decision victory.
Former division kingpin Junior Dos Santos has seen quite the resurgence in the supposed heyday of his mixed-martial arts career, securing two consecutive wins. Running it back with Stipe Miocic for the heavyweight crown back in 2017, Junior was stopped convincingly in the opening round but may find himself one win away from his fourth title tilt. ‘Cigano’ served as the welcoming party to former World Series Of Fighting champ Blagoy Ivanov, and handed the behemoth his first defeat in almost five years by way of a unanimous decision.
One man making big waves throughout the division in 2018 was Tai Tuivasa, and when pitted with Dos Santos in his first promotion headliner, the proverbial wave came crashing down with him on board. Junior displaying his ever technical boxing throughout, finished ‘Bam Bam’ in the second round, earning him the #8 rank in the division.
No doubt, Junior has been stopped in some dramatic fashion before. Losses to Alistair Overeem and his trilogy with Cain Velasquez, particularly the rematch and subsequent rubber match spring to mind, forcing us to question the Brazilian’s ability to take a shot, apparent in suffering his last stoppage loss to the aforementioned Miocic two years ago, although those three are more technical strikers than Derrick Lewis, one shot from ‘The Black Beast’ is more than often detrimental. Dos Santos is more technically proficient than Lewis, who himself has been stopped via strikes on three separate occasions so this one ultimately comes down to who can land first. I’m taking Derrick Lewis in this clash.
Lewis by KO
UFC Wichita takes place this Saturday night with an exciting prospect versus prospect match up taking the co-main event banner, as Brazilian striker Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos meets middleweight rival Curtis Millender.
Wily grappler Beneil Dariush also meets Drew Dober in a lightweight meeting on the main card. We will also see some implications towards the upper echelon on the bantamweight ranks as Marion Reneau squares up with former Invicta champion and one time UFC featherweight title challenger Yana Kunitskaya.