UFC Vegas 19 went down last night (Sat., Feb 20, 2021) inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, with Derrick Lewis delivering a brutal knockout victory over Curtis Blaydes (see it again here) in the headlining act. In the co-main event, Yana Kunitskaya defeated top-ranked Ketlen Vieira via unanimous decision in a Catchweight fight of 138 pounds (recap here).
Biggest Winner: Derrick Lewis
There has to be a certain sense of fulfillment for a fighter when he or she finally gets to throw fisticuffs with a person who has relentlessly claimed he or she has been ducking them. That satisfaction is only intensified when a knockout win for that fighter is the end result. And that’s just what happened when Lewis delivered one of the most vicious knockouts of the year on Blaydes after having to hear “Razor's” countless accusations of turning down the fight and avoiding it at all costs. With the win, Lewis shoots up straight to the No. 1 contender spot at Heavyweight, which means he should be facing the winner of Jones Jones versus Stipe Miocic or Francis Ngannou. With four straight wins on his resume — as well as an extra $50,000 in his pocket — Lewis is sitting pretty in the championship picture and only upped his reputation as one of the hardest punchers in the history of the sport.
Runner(s) Up: Chris Daukaus and Tom Aspinall
In this preview post, I mentioned that it seemed UFC matchmakers were looking to use former 265-pound champion, Andrei Arlovski, and long-time MMA veteran, Aleksei Oleinik, as stepping stones for the young talent such as Aspinall and Daukaus. And if that was indeed what it was doing, it worked because Aspinall earned himself a second round submission win over Arlovski while Daukaus knocked out Oleinik in the first round. Their wins are huge for their respective careers, as well as their bank accounts because each man scored an extra $50,000 in post-fight bonuses. Those are some big names on their resumes, which will only allow each of them to climb the ranks quicker.
Biggest Loser: Curtis Blaydes
Throughout UFC’s history, there have been several fighters who have only had to win three or four fights to get to a title fight. Then there are others like Blaydes who never received an invite to take part in a 265-pound championship fight even though he was on a four-fight win streak and had won eight of nine overall. Had he defeated Lewis, then he would have undoubtedly been in line. Now, he will have to start all over again and start racking up one win after another if he wants to get back in the mix. He has to be perfect. Still, his latest setback definitely has to cut deep for Blaydes, especially since it came at the hands of a man he doesn’t care much for. And what may sting a bit more for him is the fact that “Razor” was adamant he would wrestle his way to a win, only to get knocked out without ever landing a takedown. A rough night at the office indeed.
For complete UFC Vegas 19: “Blaydes vs. Lewis” results and play-by-play, click HERE!