Curtis Blaydes (14-3-0) went to the takedown well once too many for Derrick Lewis’ (25-7-0) liking and it produced a highlight-reel knockout at UFC Vegas 19.
Aside from a few big shots, Blaydes did what most people expected in peppering Lewis with leg kicks and strikes in the first round. But Lewis stuffed the first takedown attempt from Blaydes in the second and was violently countered going for the second takedown with a crisp uppercut that sent him crashing to the canvas.
Followup strikes forced referee Herb Dean to stop the contest at 1:26 of the second frame.
With the win, Lewis collected his 20th knockout of his career along with a four-fight win streak and a possible jump in the rankings from his No. 4 spot. He is now tied with Vitor Belfort for UFC knockouts with 12.
Lewis, Chris Daukaus, Tom Aspinall, and Aiemann Zahabi all earned performances of the night and a $50,000 USD bonus. There was no Fight of the Night.
Kenai Andrews checks in with his thoughts on the main card.
In case you missed the prelims:
SERGEY SPIVAK DEF. JARED VANDERAA VIA TKO (PUNCHES) R2 4:32
AIEMANN ZAHABI DEF. DRAKO RODRIGUEZ VIA KO (PUNCH) R1 3:05
CASEY O’NEILL DEF. SHANA DOBSON VIA TKO (PUNCHES) R2 3:41
JULIAN EROSA DEF. NATE LANDWEHR VIA TKO (FLYING KNEE) R1 0:56
JOHN CASTANEDA DEF. EDDIE WINELAND VIA TKO (PUNCHES) R1 4:44
JARED GORDON DEF. DANNY CHAVEZ VIA UD (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
ANDREI ARLOVSKI VS. TOM ASPINALL
WINNER: TOM ASPINALL VIA SUBMISSION (RNC) R2 1:09
ANDREWS PREDICTION: ANDREI ARLOVSKI VIA UD
Andrews: Arlovski was in trouble early and survived the first but Aspinall locked it down in the second. Good win.
NASSOURDINE IMAVOV VS. PHIL HAWES
WINNER: PHIL HAWES VIA MAJORITY DECISION (28-28, 29-28, 29-28)
ANDREWS PREDICTION: PHIL HAWES VIA TKO
Andrews: Close fight. Hawes barely hung on.
ALESKEI OLEINEIK VS. CHRIS DAUKAUS
WINNER: CHRIS DAUKAUS VIA TKO (PUNCHES) R1 1:55
ANDREWS PREDICTION: CHRIS DAUKAUS VIA TKO
Andrews: Daukaus brought the firepower early and didn’t give the wiley Boa Constrictor time to get the fight to the ground.
CHARLES ROSA VS. DARRICK MINNER
WINNER: DARRICK MINER VIA UD (30-27, 39-26, 29-27)
ANDREWS PREDICTION: CHARLES ROSA VIA UD
Andrews: Miner outworked Rosa, still a bit closer than the judges scores.
#6 KETLEN VIERA VS. #7 YANA KUNITSKAYA
Heavy shots in the last few seconds of RD 3️⃣!
— UFC (@ufc) February 21, 2021
WINNER: YANA KUNITSKAYA VIA UD (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
ANDREWS PREDICTION: YANA KUNITSKAYA VIA UD
Andrews: I think the judges were impressed by the blood and Kunitskaya’s elbows in the second round.
#2 CURTIS BLAYDES VS. #4 DERRICK LEWIS
WINNER: DERRICK LEWIS VIA KO (PUNCH) R2 1:55
ANDREWS PREDICTION: CURTIS BLAYDES VIA TKO
Andrews: Wow! Lewis was on his way to losing a decision but caught Blaydes going for the takedown. Good win.
The next UFC event is UFC Vegas 20, set for Saturday Feb. 27 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Jairzinho Rozenstruik takes on Ciryl Gane in the heavyweight main event.