Derrick Lewis closed out UFC Vegas 19 with a picturesque uppercut knockout to put Curtis Blaydes away at the UFC's Apex Facility in Las Vegas.
While Blaydes was expected to use his wrestling, a takedown attempt in the opening moments was met with a counter that seemed to scare him off the idea. He went on to win the opening round with his striking, landing elbows and heavy leather.
However, that may have given him a sense of false security. In the second round, another Blaydes takedown attempt was met with the beautiful uppercut that put him away for good.
The result put Lewis in rarefied air as one of the best knockout artists in UFC history:
This was just the latest example of Lewis' fight-changing power. He may be a bit one-dimensional, but that one dimension can win on any given night, and he now has four consecutive wins.
Lewis lost his only title shot against Daniel Cormier, but with DC now retired, he's making a case he should be considered in the mix once again.
- Derrick Lewis def. Curtis Blaydes via KO (Round 2, 1:26)
- Yana Kunitskaya def. Ketlen Vieira via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
- Darrick Minner def. Charles Rosa via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 29-27)
- Chris Daukaus def. Aleksei Oleinik via TKO (Round 1, 1:55)
- Phil Hawes def. Nassourdine Imavov via majority decision (28-28, 29-28 x2)
- Tom Aspinall def. Andrei Arlovski via submission (rear-naked choke) (Round 2, 1:09)
- Jared Gordon def. Danny Chavez via unanimous decision (30-27 x2, 29-28)
- John Castaneda def. Eddie Wineland via TKO (Round 1, 4:44)
- Julian Erosa def. Nate Landwehr via TKO (Round 1, 0:56)
- Casey O'Neill def. Shana Dobson via TKO (Round 2, 3:41)
- Aiemann Zahabi def. Drako Rodriguez via KO (Round 1, 3:05)
- Serghei Spivac def. Jared Vanderaa via TKO (Round 2, 4:32)
Yana Kunitskaya def. Ketlen Vieira
As it turns out, landing strikes is important when it comes to winning a fight.
Ketlen Vieira spent a ton of time in top position in the co-main event against Yana Kunitskaya, but that top control didn't lead to much actual offense from the Brazilian. Kunitskaya landed 178 total strikes to Vieira's 16, according to ESPN.
This was an interesting case study in judging fights, as Kunitskaya held the advantage in damage created even if she wasn't dictating the fight the majority of the time.
Her best offense came in the final moments of the bout when she landed some heavy elbows.
The win gives Kunitskaya back-to-back victories after a loss to Aspen Ladd in 2019. She was not expected to beat Vieira but proved that she is a tough out in the division.
As for Vieira, this should be a lesson in the importance of actually capitalizing on advantageous positions. Her conservative approach cost her the win.
Darrick Minner def. Charles Rosa
Charles Rosa had a few interesting submission attempts in his featherweight fight against Darrick Minner. That's where the positives end for him, though.
Minner put in a thorough three-round performance against Rosa on his way to a unanimous-decision win. On the feet, he floored him with his boxing, and when on the mat, Minner put in ground-and-pound while working his way out of some good submission attempts from his opponent.
This was a good showing for the 30-year-old. This was only his third UFC fight, and although he lost his debut by submission in the second round against Grant Dawson, he overcame some of those demons in this bout.
Rosa won't be confused with a dominant fighter. He has alternated wins and losses over his last 10 fights going back to 2014. But he has has seen some real UFC competition and held his own at times.
Minner's improvement is worth tracking, and he showed a well-rounded game that will make him interesting as he continues to get opportunities.
Chris Daukaus def. Aleksei Oleinik
Prospect versus veteran fights were a theme for Saturday evening, and Chris Daukaus continued the trend of prospects coming out on top. He notched his third UFC win against 43-year-old Aleksei Oleinik.
A decorated jiu-jitsu practitioner, Oleinik can be a problem for more inexperienced fighters, but we never even saw this one hit the mat. Daukaus caught Oleinik with a vicious combination early, and it marked the beginning of the end.
This one didn't tell us a lot about Daukaus other than he has the power to end fights early. Given his previous two UFC wins also came in the first round, that's something we already knew.
Still, this is a division where that will get you far enough. Oleinik came into this fight ranked 10th, so Daukaus can now claim a ranked fighter on his resume. Expect him to be in a much bigger spot next time he fights.
Eventually, someone will weather the early storm and test his cardio and skills beyond his overwhelming combinations. That day hasn't come yet though, so he's still in the promising prospect phase.
Phil Hawes def. Nassourdine Imavov
The UFC booked an intriguing matchup between middleweights just getting started with their rise up the rankings, and it didn't disappoint. Phil Hawes' UFC debut only lasted 18 seconds, but he showed much more depth in a majority-decision win over Nassourdine Imavov.
Hawes scored a quick knockout in his first bout against Jacob Malkoun, but this one was much more about his control. The 32-year-old took down Imavov multiple times and maintained control throughout the majority of the first two rounds.
While the second round was competitive, the third round took a wild swing in Imavov's favor. He landed some heavy knees and elbows followed by punches that had Hawes rocked and even convinced a judge to give Imavov a 10-8 round.
That wasn't enough to get him the nod on the other two cards, though. The two 29-28 scorecards for Hawes handed him the victory in a matchup that he may have lost if it had lasted even a minute longer.
Ultimately, both of the fighters showed some skill. Hawes showed he's more than just a guy with power, while Imavov showed he has the cardio and power to challenge opponents deep into the fight.
Tom Aspinall def. Andrei Arlovski
Andrei Arlovski has been fighting professionally since 1999 and made his UFC debut more than 20 years ago. He has been submitted by just two people in that entire timespan: Josh Barnett in 2016 and now Tom Aspinall.
The rising prospect sunk in a rear-naked choke in the second round, forced the tap and picked up his third UFC victory.
Aspinall's striking was on display in the first frame. He nearly finished The Pit Bull in the first round with strikes against the cage. There was some more of that in the second round, but then he took Arlovski down with a blast double and immediately worked toward the choke in the transition.
This was an important step in the development of the Liverpool native. His first two fights didn't get out of the first round, so it was good to see him go beyond the first five minutes and handle a veteran who once was a champion.
The heavyweight division is always in need of new blood, and it looks like Aspinall might be able to provide just that after this win.