Derrick Lewis Uppercut KOs Curtis Blaydes in UFC Fight Night 185 Headliner

By: Brian Knapp
Feb 20, 2021

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It may sound cliché, but Derrick Lewis really does only need one.

“The Black Beast” took a massive step forward in a bid for another Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight title shot, as he knocked out Curtis Blaydes in the second round of their UFC Fight Night 185 headliner on Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Lewis (25-7, 16-5 UFC) brought it to an emphatic and frightening close 1:26 into Round 2.

Blaydes (14-3, 9-3 UFC) enjoyed some early success with a penetrating jab and thudding leg kicks but struggled to safely close the distance. He ducked into an uppercut in the second round, froze where he stood and collapsed backward. Lewis trailed his defenseless opponent to the canvas and slammed two right hands into his exposed face before referee Herb Dean could intervene.

Lewis, 36, now finds himself on a four-fight winning streak.

Kunitskaya Upends Favored Vieira

A strong second round and violent surge at the end of the third propelled American Top Team’s Yana Kunitskaya to a unanimous decision over Ketlen Vieira in the three-round women’s bantamweight co-main event. All three cageside judges scored it the same: 29-28 for Kunitskaya (14-5, 4-2 UFC).

Vieiera (11-2, 5-2 UFC)—who missed weight for the match—controlled much of the first and third rounds with superior topside grappling. However, she all but gave away the middle stanza, where she was far too content to work from her back once Kunitskaya powered into top position. Still, Vieira appeared to be ticketed for a decision as time ticked away in Round 3, as she climbed to full mount, advanced to the back and threatened with a rear-naked choke. Kunitskaya sprang a late reversal, shifted to a position of dominance and cut loose with elbows, one of which opened a significant gash near the Nova Uniao rep’s right eyebrow. Those efforts seemed to do enough to curry favor with the judges.

Kunitskaya has recorded four wins over her past five appearances.

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Energized Minner Outpoints Rosa

Glory MMA export Darrick Minner won for the fourth time in five appearances, as he laid claim to a unanimous decision over Charles Rosa in a three-round featherweight showcase. Minner (26-11, 2-1 UFC) swept the scorecards with 30-26, 30-27 and 29-27 marks from the judges.

Rosa (13-5, 4-5 UFC) was a step behind from start to finish. Minner secured multiple takedowns, achieved full mount on more than one occasion, threatened with arm-triangle chokes and leaned on airtight submission defense against his opponent’s hyperactive bottom game. He did his best work in the second round, where he drove Rosa to the canvas with a series of right hands, floated from the back to the mount and generally made life miserable for the American Top Team-trained Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt. Bleeding and fatigued in Round 3, Rosa ran through one submission attempt after another while he was pinned underneath the James Krause disciple—he moved from the armbar to a triangle choke to an omoplata and back again—but failed to find the finish he needed.

The 34-year-old Rosa has alternated wins and losses in each of his last nine outings.

Ascending Daukaus Buries Oleynik

Team Balance product Chris Daukaus took out the venerable Alexey Oleynik with punches in the first round of their featured heavyweight attraction. Oleynik (59-15-1, 8-6 UFC) succumbed to an avalanche of blows 1:55 into Round 1, as he lost for fourth time in six fights.

Daukaus (11-3, 3-0 UFC) was well-prepared for one of MMA’s ultimate one-trick ponies. He denied Oleynik’s bid for a takedown, trapped the Russian submission savant on the feet and cut loose with sweeping power punches. Daukaus dazed “The Boa Constrictor” with a chopping right hand, backed him to the cage and followed up with punches and knees until referee Herb Dean waved it off.

The 31-year-old Daukaus has won four fights in a row.

Hawes Weathers Frenchman Imavov

Takedowns and top control spurred Sanford MMA export Phil Hawes to a majority decision over Nassourdine Imavov in a three-round middleweight feature. Judge Junichiro Kamijo scored it a 28-28 draw, while Michael Bell and Chris Lee struck 29-28 scorecards for Hawes.

Imavov (9-3, 1-1 UFC) was ineffective through two rounds. Hawes (10-2, 2-0 UFC) delivered multiple takedowns, piled up control time and neutralized the Frenchman in their grappling exchanges. Imavov altered the complexion of the match in Round 3, where he had the Henri Hooft protégé on skates more than once with power punches and close-quarters elbows and knee strikes. Though Hawes appeared to be teetering on the brink, he withstood those brushes with adversity by closing the distance and cutting off the MMA Factory rep’s avenues to victory.

Hawes will ride a six-fight winning streak into his next assignment.

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Aspinall Choke Submits Arlovski

Team Kaobon prospect Tom Aspinall dispatched Andrei Arlovski with a rear-naked choke in the second round of their heavyweight showcase. Arlovski (30-20, 19-14 UFC) conceded defeat 69 seconds into Round 2, as he suffered just the second submission loss of his illustrious 52-fight career.

Aspinall (10-2, 3-0 UFC) had “The Pit Bull” reeling with a jarring two-punch combination in the first round. The 27-year-old flurried along the fence with punches to the head and body but failed to put away Arlovski. Aspinall regrouped and engaged the Belarusian at close range—a tactic that allowed him to replenish his cardio. He surprised Arlovski with a well-executed blast double-leg takedown at the start of Round 2, progressed toward the back and snuck his left arm underneath the former champion’s chin. The choke was in place before Arlovski could react, leaving him no choice but to tap.

The fast-rising Aspinall has rattled off six consecutive victories, all of them finishes.

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