Derrick Lewis sent a strong statement to the top fighters in the heavyweight division after flattening Travis Browne with a devastating knockout in the main event on Sunday night from Halifax.
Riding a five-fight win streak going into the night, Lewis had been asking the UFC to give him a higher-ranked opponent. His wish was granted as Browne accepted the fight while looking to stop a two-fight skid in his most recent performances.
Browne relocated to Las Vegas for this training camp to fix some of the errors that cost him in recent performance and as the fight got underway it appeared that everything was going to plan.
Article continues below ...
Browne used a potent attack of kicks to the body to chop away at Lewis, who showed the ill effects of that game plan almost instantaneously as he grabbed at his midsection after the first shot landed flush.
Rather than pounce on the opening, Browne stayed patient so he wouldn’t walk into one of Lewis’ powerful counter punches while trapping him against the cage.
The strategy seemed to work to perfection throughout the first round outside of one punch that slipped through, sending Browne tumbling to the mat. “Happa” was only there for a second before he popped back to his feet looking no worse for wear.
When the first round ended, Browne’s confidence had to be high considering all the damage he did to Lewis with the body shots, but the momentum shifted quickly as the fighters met in the middle after leaving their respective corners.
Lewis knew he had to go after Browne instead of standing on the outside and allowing the Hawaiian to pick away at him with kicks and that’s exactly what he did.
Lewis came after Browne with a heavy barrage of strikes as he got inside while blasting away with devastating power to the head and the body. All Browne could do was cover up to try and absorb some of the shots, but Lewis was unrelenting with his attacks and never gave his opponent a moment to breathe.
After a few exchanges, Lewis even managed to toss Browne to the mat, where he typically unleashes his most hellish punches, but those few moments on the ground didn’t precipitate the end of the fight.
In fact, it was Lewis throwing a haymaker on the feet that ricocheted off of the top of Browne’s head during an exchange later in the round that rattled him before he wobbled and fell to the mat.
Lewis had no intentions of letting Browne get back up again as he followed him to the mat and unleashed several monstrous punches before referee Mario Yamasaki finally stepped in to stop the carnage. Admittedly, Browne seemed to eat a few more shots than what was necessary as he laid on the canvas for a few minute after the stoppage before finally getting back to his feet.
It was a huge moment for Lewis as he gets his sixth win in a row while toppling a legitimate top 10 competitor in the process.
Lewis certainly seemed to enjoy the victory, although he stated that he doesn’t plan on fighting any time in the next few months after a very busy schedule to close out 2016 before his second straight main event to kick off 2017.
“I need a break. Fighting every other month or every two months like that puts me in a bad mood at home with my family. So I feel like I just need some time off. I don’t want to hear nothing about no fighting for the next three months,” Lewis said.
“All the training and all the sex I’ve been getting, my body needs some time off.”
All jokes aside, Lewis has quickly become one of the most talked about heavyweights on the UFC roster with a veritable pick of opponents when he returns for his next bout. With six straight wins — five of which came by knockout — Lewis said on the FS1 post-fight show that he would like to face Mark Hunt when he returns.
Considering the kind of knockout power Hunt possesses combined with Lewis’ explosive strength, that might be a heavyweight dream matchup come true.