UFC 247 - Controversial decision in championship main event, Title fight ends in brutal knockout
UFC rolled into the Toyota Center in Houston for a stacked card that was headlined by two huge title fights.
Valentina Shevchenko put the Flyweight Championship on the line against Kaitlyn Chookagian in the co-main event of the evening.
Derrick Lewis opened the main card by welcoming former Light Heavyweight prospect Ilir Latifi to the Heavyweight division. Two other rising Heavyweights from the division - Juan Adams and Justin Tafa -squared off inside the Octagon in what was expected to be a power-packed clash between two knockout artists.
The card also featured a solid Featherweight scrap between Mirsad Bektic and Dan Ige, which went under the radar in the build-up to the event.
Here are the results and highlights of UFC 247:
UFC 247 - Prelims
Trevin Giles def. James Krause via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
Lauren Murphy def. Andrea Lee via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27)
Kalinn Williams def. Alex Morono via TKO (punches) (0:27, Round 1)
Mario Bautista def. Miles Johns via TKO (flying knee and punches) (1:41, Round 1)
Journey Newson def. Domingo Pilarte via TKO (punches) (0:38, Round 1)
Andre Ewell def. Jonathan Martinez via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27)
Youssef Zalal def. Austin Lingo via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
UFC 247 Results - Main Card
#1 Ilir Latifi vs. Derrick Lewis (Heavyweight)
After fighting at Light Heavyweight for a majority of his career, Ilir Latifi finally made the move up to the Heavyweight division in the UFC and his first fight was against one of the heaviest hitters of the division, the extremely popular, Derrick Lewis.
The Black Beast snapped a two-fight losing streak by winning in his last Octagon outing against Blagoy Ivanov. Latifi lost both of his last two fights at LHW and was looking for a fresh start amongst the Heavyweights.
Round 1: They touched gloves and the fight got underway. Latifi circled cautiously and Lewis was the one who tried to close the distance. Lewis drew first blood with a lunging hook. They clinched with Latifi's back against the cage.
Lewis connected with an incredible jumping knee. Latifi caught the feet and turned it into a clinch against the cage. Latifi got the single leg and attempted a takedown, however, Lewis was just too strong and firm on his feet.
Latifi landed a few body punches in the clinch but the referee broke them up due to the lack of action. Lewis cracked Latifi with a punch. He followed it with a big high kick to the body. Latifi was in a spot of bother and he clinched with a minute left on the clock. Lewis stuffed another takedown. Latifi attempted a big left on the break but Lewis got his guard up on time.
Round 2: Lewis used the new move in his arsenal - the high left switch kick - to good effect early in the second. He reached in for a lead right but Latifi moved back. Lewis kept shooting left-leg kicks to the body and upper body. He went for another flying knee. Latifi caught it and we had ourselves another clinch. The fans booed as it was a relatively inactive clinch. Lewis flipped positions, went for a big knee, however, he lost balance and Latifi tripped him down to the mat.
Latifi was in half guard and threw punches to the side of Lewis' body. Latifi wasn't passing guard and the referee stood them up, much to the pleasure of the fans.
Back on their feet, Lewis went for another high kick to the face. Latifi blocked it with his guard. Latifi got the fight to the mat again and jumped into Lewis' guard. He landed a few shots as the round came to a close.
Round 3: Lewis went for a big left hook. Latif replied with a right of his own. The Black Beast stalked his opponent and went for another big strike. Latifi clinched and got Lewis down to the mat yet again. The former LHW fighter assumed half guard position and landed punches to the body. Latifi was not advancing his position and that was not the smartest of moves from him. Lewis got back up on his feet and he went in straight for the kill with massive punches. The fans popped for the urgency but an ensuing clinch turned it into boos. The crowd rallied behind Lewis as Latifi landed another takedown.
Back on their feet, Lewis connected with a massive head kick. Latifi was stunned as Lewis looked to finish him off. Latifi frantically clinched. Lewis starched him with elbows to the side of the head. They broke up and Lewis landed some big punches as he emptied his gas tank in search for a big finish. Latifi absorbed the incoming strikes and somehow managed to survive until the final hooter. That was close!
Result: Derrick Lewis def. Ilir Latifi via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
It was a fair decision as Lewis showed more intent and looked more threatening throughout the fight. Latifi had his moments on the ground but he never did enough to build upon the good positions he found himself in on the mat. The final flurry from Lewis may have done it for the Black Beast on home turf.