Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight contenders Derrick Lewis and Marcin Tybura collided last night (Feb. 18, 2018) at UFC Fight Night 126 inside Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas.
Lewis has shown a pair of habits inside the Octagon: getting damn tired and knocking the hell out of people. That combination saw Lewis advance into the Top 10 and title contention before coming up short opposite Mark Hunt. Some time away from the cage helped heal up a lingering back injury, and last night Lewis returned with the intent of getting back into the title mix.
Though he rose to the Top 10 via a mix of smart wrestling and crafty kickboxing, Tybura was also stymied by an elite Heavyweight veteran in his previous match. Like his opponent, the Polish athlete was hoping to bounce back into the title mix with a victory.
Lewis caught a low kick to land in top position almost immediately. Tybura attempted to use a leg lock to stand, but Lewis sat on him halfway through and transitioned to the back. Somehow, Lewis lost his balance when Tybura went to stand, losing his balance and giving up the mount.
Lewis turned his back and scrambled to his feet quickly. Tybura tried to stay in range and paid for it, eating a brutal right hand and following him to the mat. Tybura recovered well though, using a half guard sweep to regain top position. This time, Tybura was able to maintain top position for some time, although he wasn’t able to do much damage.
Lewis landed more effective offense, but Tybura finished the round in mount, so it was anyone’s guess who earned the opening frame on the judges’ scorecards.
Tybura came out kicking, but Lewis was able to land every right hand he mustered the energy to attempt. Tybura responded with a clinch takedown into side control, and once again “The Black Beast” laid still and built energy towards another explosive stand up. He attempted a stand up a minute later, but Tybura did a great job of transitioning into the back mount and maintaining it for some time.
Lewis spent most of energy trying to escape, so Tybura was able to settle into top position and control until the end of the round. He didn’t do all that much damage, but he clearly controlled the second round.
For the final time, Tybura opened the round with kicks while Lewis watched his man work. Lewis cracked Tybura with a right hand that motivated the Polish athlete to grab the clinch, but he was not able to score an immediate takedown this time around. When Tybura hung around in the clinch, Lewis partially landed a sudden foot sweep. Tybura immediately move to stand up, but Lewis fired a combination his way and landed clean.
Tybura slumped towards a single leg after a right hand smashed into his jaw, but Lewis didn’t stop firing. Lewis smacked his foe with a couple hammer fists before changing his angle and finishing the bout with a couple heavy shots.
Derrick Lewis and Heavyweight MMA in general did their part in keeping Austin weird last night. As usual, Lewis nearly knocked out his opponent a half-dozen times and lost every other second of the bout.
Lewis is definitely beatable, but that doesn’t mean it is easy. He’s deceptively fast when he musters the energy to strike, and his speed advantage really showed here. Each time he tried to hit Tybura, he succeeded, and the Polish grappler didn’t like it one bit.
That said, Lewis’ grappling seemed to have regressed a bit. He did very little to defend any of Tybura’s takedowns, and his top control was a bit sloppy. Usually, letting Lewis gain top position is a death sentence, but Tybura was able to use the underhook to stand or sweep repeatedly.
Nevertheless, “The Black Beast” did his thing, swangin’ and bangin’ in front of the Texas crowd to great results.
As for Tybura, he was far too hittable. His kicks looked nice, but literally — yes literally — every time that Lewis stepped forward and committed he landed his shots. That’s a truly terrible trait at Heavyweight, which is full of brutally powerful punches.
On the bright side, Tybura’s top game did look great. He had more success in controlling Lewis on the ground than anyone else, and it definitely exhausted Lewis when his usual attempts to just stand up did not immediately work.
Last night, Derrick Lewis returned to the win column with a big knockout. Is Francis Ngannou next for “The Black Beast?”
For complete UFC Fight Night 126: “Cerrone vs. Medeiros” results and play-by-play, click HERE!