Top 15-ranked Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight contenders Derrick “Black Beast” Lewis (No. 10) and Shamil Abdurakhimov (No. 15) collided in the main event of UFC Fight Night 102, which took place inside Times Union Center in Albany, N.Y., tonight (Fri., Dec. 9, 2016), airing exclusively on UFC Fight Pass.
It marked the first UFC main event for either big man. But, in the end, it marked the seventh (technical) knockout win inside the Octagon for Lewis, who took out Abdurakhimov via brutal ground-and-pound in the fourth round.
In the first round, Lewis took the center of the cage, with Abdurakhimov circling the outside. Lewis went for a high kick, which Abdurakhimov caught and took him straight into side control in the center of the cage. Abdurakhimov went for a kimura, which Lewis defended well. Lewis powered up to his feet as Abdurakhimov tried to trip him from the bodylock several times, then drove him into the cage. Lewis seemed composed as Abdurakhimov held him in place with double underhooks. He almost circled out, but the Russian drove him back into the cage again. Finally, they separated. Lewis looked for an uppercut. He flicked out a front kick, then threw a right hand and dove into the clinch, ending up with his back on the cage again as Abdurakhimov turned him around. They separated again. Lewis threw a naked low kick, which Shamil caught and drove him backwards for the takedown. He stayed on top, moving to mount as the horn sounded for the end of the round.
The second round started out at the same measured pace. They tied up and Lewis landed several knees, then was driven to the cage again. They were tied up in over-under, until Adburakhimov almost took down Lewis. The referee separated them, but Abdurakhimov was looking for the clinch anytime the distance closed — clearly wary of Lewis’ power. Lewis wiped his eye repeatedly. A punch had grazed his eye at the beginning of the round, and it was bothering him. He slipped for a second off another attempted low kick. Abdurakhimov then caught a body kick and took down Lewis quickly. He controlled from Lewis’ open guard, head in Lewis’ chest to hold him down. He looked to pass and Lewis went for a kneebar. Lewis was on top briefly and began throwing hammerfists, but Abdurakhimov grabbed a single-leg and tree-topped it, putting the leg on his shoulder and running Lewis back into another takedown. He finished the second round on top as well.
The action in round three began when Lewis threw a body knee, but when Adburakhimov caught it, Lewis shucked off the takedown. Lewis threw a good uppercut in the exchange. Lewis backed the Russian onto the fence with a right hand followed by a flurry, but nothing clean landed. Abdurakhimov stepped forward and Lewis countered with an uppercut. They tied up and Lewis went for a double-leg, but didn’t get it. Lewis ducked a spinning backfist, but then winged a couple wild punches into a double-leg. Abdurakhimov was controlling well on top, but the referee stood them up for inactivity. Lewis wanted that decisive knockout shot. In fact, Dan Miragliotta stopped the fight to warn Abdurakhimov for timidity just before the round ended.
Round four began with Lewis looking for that power right hand, then a head kick that was caught. Lewis got up before the Russian could get on top, but they ended up in the clinch. Lewis turned it around and they separated. Lewis landed a huge uppercut into the clinch. Abdurakhimov threw an elbow to break it after a period of inactivity. Lewis threw a right hand, and broke the ensuing clinch with a powerful knee and a combination. Lewis grabbed double underhooks, drove Abdurakhimov to the fence, then ducked under to pick up the Russian for a double. He began landing ferocious ground-and-pound, eventually moving to full mount. He was pounding away with both hands when the referee stepped in to stop the carnage. Lewis was frustrated it took him so long to find the position and finish he wanted. It wasn’t a pretty fight, but it was a violent finish.
Lewis’ win streak now moves to five straight. He was critical of his performance to John Anik afterward, calling the fight “some bullshit on my part.” He says he was going to call out Travis Browne or Mark Hunt, but after this he will, “sit my ass down.” It’s impossible not to love his frankness. And honestly, either Hunt or Browne would be very fun match ups. Lewis’ insane power — especially from top position — make him a dangerous fight for anyone in the division.
For complete UFC Fight Night 102 results, including blow-by-blow coverage, click here.