Just one month ago, UFC 230’s pay-per-view (PPV) main event tonight (Sat., Nov. 3, 2018) between Heavyweight champion, Daniel Cormier, and hard-hitting No. 2-ranked contender, Derrick Lewis, probably wasn’t even a remote possibility. Cormier was enjoying life as the second-ever “champ-champ” in UFC history and waiting for a massive money match against box office behemoth, Brock Lesnar, sometime in early 2019. So massive, in fact, that Cormier — who is almost 40 years old — could probably ride off into the mixed martial arts (MMA) sunset set for life. But, then Lewis registered one of the most improbable come-from-behind knockout wins at UFC 229 last month with just 11 seconds left on the clock and delivered one of the most memorable post-fight interviews.
Indeed, the balls was hot and the stars somehow aligned over Madison Square Garden in New York City. Make no mistake, though, there was no mystery or expert explanation required to breakdown this bout: Cormier needed to leverage his Olympic-level wrestling and bottomless gas tank to tire out Lewis and finish him off. Lewis, meanwhile, needed just one opening, one opportunity, to land one fight-ending punch.
Unfortunately for “Black Beast” it never came — Cormier is just too smart and too good to get caught with a telegraphed haymaker.
Lewis started the bout off great — strafing Cormier with hard low kicks and then one upstairs. But, after that, it was all academic: Cormier secured an easy takedown along the fence and was immediately able get into half-guard and rain down a barrage of ground-and-pound. Lewis rolled to all fours and explode to his feet, but Cormier just dragged him back down to the mat with a simple single-leg takedown.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
Lewis uncorked a few big shots to start the seconds stanza much to the delight of the crowd. But, Cormier zigged and zagged his way into another takedown, which was all he needed to finish the fight. He was able to get Lewis on his back with an ankle pick and then jumped on his back as “Black Beast” tried to get back to his feet. Cormier slid his forearm under Lewis’ throat, sat back and squeezed until Lewis was forced to tap. In doing so, Cormier became the first fighter in UFC history to defend both the Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight titles.
In short, there are levels to this UFC face-punching thing. And Cormier is on one all by his lonesome.
For complete UFC 230: “Cormier vs. Lewis” results, including play-by-play updates, click here.