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Derrick Lewis' 5 best UFC fights

Scott Newman
Top 5 / Top 10
698   //    Timeless

#2 vs. Gabriel Gonzaga - UFC Fight Night 86 – 04/10/2016

Gabriel Gonzaga appeared to make Lewis angry - and paid the price
Gabriel Gonzaga appeared to make Lewis angry - and paid the price

After such a hot start to his UFC career, losses to Matt Mitrione and Shawn Jordan slowed Lewis’s hype train somewhat.

He recovered with wins over Damian Grabowski and Viktor Pesta, but those were – no offense – lower-level opponents. In April 2016 came a real test, as he was faced with former UFC title challenger Gabriel Gonzaga – probably his toughest opponent to date.

‘Napao’ had admittedly fallen on some hard times – he’d lost three in a row before slowing the rot with a dull win over Konstantin Erokhin – but with heavy hands and a world-class grappling game, he looked like a tricky challenge for ‘The Black Beast’.

Early on in the fight, it looked like Gonzaga was indeed a step too far for Lewis. After landing an early head kick, Lewis was literally starved of offense, as Gonzaga took him down and dominated him, going from full mount to back mount and coming close to a choke. When Lewis managed to escape to his feet, it almost felt like a miracle.

Better was to come, though. Gonzaga looked for another takedown using a lot of clinch work, and as the fight began to slow down with seconds on the clock, ref Marc Goddard called a clean break. And evidently, all the clinching had made Lewis angry – and awoken his inner beast.

Showing stunning hand speed for a man of his size, Lewis suddenly burst forward into action, and seemingly out of nowhere, he landed a five-punch combination on the Brazilian that left him in a crumpled heap. From the jaws of defeat, Lewis had snatched his biggest victory to date.