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Derrick Lewis attains top-contender status as UFC releases updated heavyweight rankings 

UFC 229 Khabib v McGregor: Weigh-Ins
UFC 229 Khabib v McGregor: Weigh-Ins
Sayan Nag
Modified 23 Feb 2021

Derrick Lewis has moved up two places in the UFC's updated rankings for the heavyweight division. MMA journalist Aaron Bronsteter uploaded the updated rankings on Twitter. With his recent victory over Curtis Blaydes at UFC Vegas 19, Derrick Lewis has moved up to #2 from #4 in the heavyweight rankings. With Francis Ngannou scheduled to fight Stipe Miocic at UFC 260, the updated rankings make Derrick Lewis the top heavyweight contender behind the current challenger.

Derrick Lewis holds the UFC record for the most knockouts at heavyweight and with his Saturday night victory against Blaydes, has tied Vitor Belfort's record for the most knockouts ever. With a second round KO over Curtis Blaydes, Derrick Lewis has improved his record to 25-7, of which 20 wins have been earned via KO/TKO.

His recent win over Curtis Blaydes has snapped Blaydes' four-fight win streak and put Derrick Lewis on a four-fight win streak of his own.

Derrick Lewis vs Curtis Blaydes

Curtis Blaydes came into the fight with a huge takedown record, but seemed content to stand and trade with Derrick Lewis. Blaydes even seemed to find some momentum in the first round, having landed 28 of his 52 strikes.

However, Curtis Blaydes resorted to his wrestling and shot for an ill-timed takedown early in the second round. Derrick Lewis moved out of the way to land one of the most vicious uppercuts ever seen, which sent Blaydes crashing to the canvas. Derrick Lewis went on to land to more shots on an unconscious Curtis Blaydes before referee Herb Dean could intervene.

Talking about his approach to the fight, Derrick Lewis told reporters in the post-fight conference:

"I wanted to be more explosive, I couldn't just pull the trigger. All I was doing was waiting for him to shoot [for the takedown] before throwing the uppercut. That's what we've been drilling all month, 12 weeks, really."

When asked about the extra two punches he landed on his unconscious opponent, 'The Black Beast' said:

"I can't just turn the switch off. I got to wait till the referee to pull you off because you never know what happens. He could turn into The Undertaker and sit up."

Lewis is now in prime position to face the winner of Ngannou v Miocic II.

Published 23 Feb 2021, 23:04 IST
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