Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) put a bow on its 2021 schedule last night (Sat., Dec. 18, 2021) as UFC Vegas 45 went down inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. In the main event, Derrick Lewis knocked out Chris Daukaus in the first round (highlights). In the co-headlining act, Belal Muhammad scored a big win over Stephen Thompson.
Biggest Winner: Derrick Lewis
Lewis once again returned to his head-hunting ways and scored a highlight-reel knockout by absolutely starching Daukaus, snapping his five-fight win streak in the process. “Black Beast” is 5-1 in his last six fights, which means he will always be hanging around the Top 5 and close to a title shot if he keeps cleaning clocks. Ranked No. 3, Lewis can get back into the mix with another knockout or two. Plus, he’s always great option for a last-minute fill in just in case either Francis Ngannou or Ciryl Gane can’t make UFC 271. Will he ever be a UFC champion? Maybe, maybe not. He’s fallen short on two occasions, but as long as he keeps taking out all of the lower level competition — and extending his knockout record — he will remain a fan-favorite and keep him paid.
Runner Up: Belal Muhammad
“Black Beast’s” first round knockout win of Daukaus was impressive, no doubt, but Muhammad’s win over Stephen Thompson will give him a huge boost in the rankings, getting him closer to a Top 5 position. All the man has done is win over the last four years, racking up an impressive 10-1-1 record, going 6-0-1 over his last seven bouts. Getting a win over a two-time title contender will raise his stock and his prospects of getting an even bigger fight in his next outing. Sunny days ahead for Muhammad, indeed.
Biggest Loser: Raphael Assuncao
What in the world happened to Assuncao? From 2011 to 2018, the Brazilian bomber earned a highly-impressive 11-1 record under the UFC banner, though he never really got any championship consideration. After Marlon Moraes snapped his four-fight win streak in Feb. 2019, Assuncao went on to lose his next three, including getting knocked out by Ricky Simon last night, extending his losing streak to four. It’s a downfall of epic proportions from a man who has big wins over Rob Font, Marlon Moraes, Aljamain Sterling, T.J. Dillashaw and Pedro Munhoz. It’s shocking to see this inexplicable decline and keeping his spot on UFC’s roster isn't a sure thing.
For complete UFC Vegas 45 results and coverage click here.