Junior Dos Santos knew going into UFC Wichita that Derrick Lewis was apt to complain during fights — and he also knew to be wary of ‘The Black Beast,’ hurt or not.
Wichita, Kansas — The main event of UFC Wichita on Saturday was nothing short of spectacular. Topping a card that bogged down just a little in the middle, Junior Dos Santos vs. Derrick Lewis delivered. And then some. With jumping switch kicks from Lewis, heavy hands, and a spinning kick to the body by JDS that set up the finish, the fight was heavy on action, getting the crowd right into it.
In the end, Dos Santos earned a TKO win, his third straight. The former UFC heavyweight champion is one step closer to another shot at gold in the promotion. With his record sitting at 21-5, once again, the Brazilian has silenced his doubters.
Though, at any point, it felt like Lewis could have finished the fight. Even after the body kick, which caused some to speculate whether Lewis was playing possum. Dos Santos dispelled that notion following the bout, speaking to media outlets including Cageside Press.
“He was hurt. He was hurt,” Dos Santos said, “but that’s the thing, you know. We were studying him before, and my coach told me, as soon as he feels any punch or a kick or anything, don’t go too crazy. Because he can be pretending, or trying, even if he’s feeling [it], he can try something else, like he did. But luckily that didn’t connect, and I was able to re-establish myself, and wait.”
“I told myself, ‘we have five rounds to do this, don’t be crazy, you don’t need to,'” JDS continued. “Because he was expecting that, for me to collide against him.”
“Derrick Lewis, I could see that in his fights too, he complains a lot. Every time he got hit or something, he complains a lot.”
Instead, Dos Santos used his boxing, and kicks, to wear Lewis down. But really, it was the body kick in the first that was the beginning of the end, even if it didn’t come until the second. The former champ did notice a little more urgency as Lewis came out in round two.
“At the beginning I could see he was kind of walking forward, preparing the right hand, trying to position himself to throw harder punches,” he recalled. “I saw that, and I was moving a little bit more to avoid that. I knew at some point he would try to do that. He tried to take me down once, and I was expecting that. Because at some point, when your first strategy is not working, you have to try to other things, and that’s what he did. It didn’t work, luckily.”
Perhaps the only negative in the fight was an eye poke by Dos Santos that may or may not have happened. Ref Herb Dean stopped the action in the first, with Lewis complaining of the foul. ‘The Black Beast,’ in usual humorous fashion, proceeded to use the ref’s shirt to wipe his eye. Dos Santos complained that his hand was closed; replays showed it might have been a thumb, but it was far from intentional, and a borderline call at best.
Lewis’ reaction, however, was no surprise to Dos Santos. “Derrick Lewis, I could see that in his fights too, he complains a lot. Every time he got hit or something, he complains a lot. I don’t know if he’s trying to take advantage of the moment or something, but he complains a lot.”
That seemed to be the case at UFC Wichita, according to JDS. “He was fine. You can see on the camera, he was fine. It doesn’t make any sense. But that’s fine. The referee, Herb Dean, he’s the greatest in this business. I trust him, that’s why I told him, my hands weren’t open.”
In the end, the eye poke didn’t matter. The win, however, does. Talk following the fight was immediately about title shots. However, champ Daniel Cormier is linked to a fight with Brock Lesnar. “The main goal is to keep active,” said Dos Santos backstage on Saturday. “Let’s see what’s going to happen now.”
“I need a little break, my daughter is due in May,” he added. “So I need to set everything up to receive her, and make sure that everything’s fine. Then I’ll fight again. Maybe at the end of August.”
“About opponents, I don’t really care, about who I’m going to be fighting.” Instead, said Dos Santos, “what I want is to add something to my career.”
Watch the full UFC Wichita post-fight press scrum with Junior Dos Santos above.