Derrick Lewis made a strange decision in the first round of his UFC Fight Night main event against Aleksei Oleinik, choosing to engage in a grappling battle with a man who holds 46 submission wins in his career. The decision nearly backfired, but in Round 2, Lewis scored with a thunderous right hand and follow-up punches on the ground to score a big knockout victory.
The heavy-hitting Lewis opened Round 1 with a big head kick but quickly pushed Oleinik into the cage and turned the fight into a grappling battle. The men traded positions on the ground several times, but Oleinik was the man who put his opponent in the most immediate danger, grabbing a judo-style scarf hold and torquing the neck of Lewis for an extended period of time at the end of the round.
The submission looked deep, and after the fight, Lewis admitted that the hold was close to finishing him.
“He had that bulldog or whatever the hell head submission he had on me pretty deep,” Lewis said. “I couldn’t breathe at all.”
Lewis switched back to his power-striking style to open Round 2, throwing a jumping knee out of the gate before unloading with a big right hand that dropped Oleinik to the canvas. Lewis continued to fire away with big shots on the ground until referee Herb Dean jumped in to stop the fight at the 0:21 mark of the second round.
With the knockout, Lewis locked up the record for most knockouts in UFC heavyweight history with 11.
Rather than call out a specific opponent for his next fight, Lewis said he was going to focus on continuing to improve physically, setting a target weight for himself before he would accept another fight.
“I’m really not going to take no more fights until I walk around at the 250-, 245-pound range,” Lewis said. “I’m not going to take no more fights at 260. … Hopefully in December, sometime in December. Right now, that’s all I’m focused on, trying to get my weight down.”
Lewis is now riding a three-fight winning streak and is 6-2 since 2018.
Elsewhere on the card, former champion Chris Weidman knocked off the rust and losing woes with a decision over Omari Akhmedov in the co-main event. It may not have been the most aesthetically pleasing matchups of the night as it was heavy on wrestling and grappling, but it was a much-needed victory for Weidman, who entered with a 1-5 record in his last six fights. Plus, Beneil Dariush continued his hot streak with a thrilling knockout of Scott Holtzmann. Dariush connected with a spinning back fist to send Holtzmann to the canvas after battering him early.
CBS Sports was with you throughout the night for UFC Fight Night, tracking all the results from each bout. The complete results are below.
UFC Fight Night card and results
- Derrick Lewis def. Aleksei Oleinik via second-round TKO (punches)
- Chris Weidman def. Omari Akhmedov via unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-28)
- Darren Stewart def. Maki Pitolo via first-round submission (guillotine)
- Yana Kunitskaya def. Julija Stoliarenko via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
- Beneil Dariush def. Scott Holtzman via first-round knockout (punch)
- Tim Means def. Laureano Staropoli via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
- Kevin Holland def. Joaquin Buckley via third-round knockout (punch)
- Nasrat Haqparast def. Alexander Munoz via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Andrew Sanchez def. Wellington Turman via first-round TKO (punches)
- Gavin Tucker def. Justin Jaynes via third-round submission (rear naked choke)
- Youssef Zalal def. Peter Barrett via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-27)
- Irwin Rivera def. Ali Al Qaisi via split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)