The co-main event at UFC Fight Night 126 saw heavyweights Derrick Lewis and Marcin Tybura throw down in front of a sold-out Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas.
After going on a run of six consecutive victories, Lewis’ aspirations for a shot at the big time were put on ice after he suffered a fourth-round TKO loss to Mark Hunt in June of last year.
Plagued by back problems, The Black Beast took time away from the Octagon to rehabilitate with the intention of returning stronger and fitter than ever.
In the meantime, a heavyweight superfight between Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier was arranged for UFC 226 on July 7th and while a lot of fighters were upset by this development, Lewis was more accepting of the idea.
One of the reasons he felt that way was what he saw as a lack of consistent performances by UFC heavyweights, himself included.
“That’s good that [Miocic vs Cormier] is happening because no one else in the heavyweight division is being consistent,” Lewis said when asked about the matchup in a pre-fight interview. “Whenever it’s time for a guy, like a fight away from the title, he ends up losing, like myself.”
“It’s a smart move to do because all of the other guys that’s in the top 10 or top five, he already fought or he beat already. For him to fight Cormier, I believe that’s the best bang for your buck right now for the pay-per-view sale.”
For his part, Lewis said that he didn’t really mind if he gets to fight for the heavyweight belt or not, as long as he is paid well.
“I don’t care if I never fight for the belt, as long as they pay me good, that’s all I care about. They can do whatever they want with it.”
His opponent in this one, the dangerous Pole Marcin Tybura, was on a streak of his own before losing to Fabrício Werdum in November of last year.
Before that, he had recorded consecutive wins over Viktor Pešta, Luis Henrique, and most notably Andrei Arlovski. With Tybura ranked 9th and Lewis ranked 7th, the winner of this one would be knocking on the door of the top five.
The bookmakers favoured the Tybura to get the job done and installed him as the $1.62 favourite while The Black Beast was paying $2.30.
It looked like the fight might be stopped in the first round when Lewis worked out from the ground and got back to his feet. And there, he leveled Tybura with a massive right hand. Tybura hit the canvas, and Lewis dove down and dropped heavy ground-and-pound.
— UFC (@ufc) February 19, 2018
Somehow, though, Tybura survived the onslaught, then reversed position and was back on top in half-guard.
The second and third rounds where much of the same with Tybura looking to take the fight to the ground and Lewis looking to utilise his power.
In the end it was the power that won out however.
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