Derrick Lewis took on a very durable Blagoy Ivanov at UFC 244 and came away with a hard-fought split decision to get back in the win column.
Blagoy Ivanov, on a two-fight win streak in the UFC’s heavyweight division, was looking for a fight against a top-five fighter. He got just that against Derrick Lewis, a former title challenger, power puncher, and one of the most popular big men in the promotion. The bout, part of a stacked UFC 244 card in New York on Saturday, promised to be explosive.
This started like a standard Derrick Lewis fight. The Black Beast was taken down by Blagoy Ivanov quickly and was in trouble due to a keylock submission attempt. Lewis utilized his “just stand up” defense and got out of the submission. He immediately began unloading bombs on Ivanov, but Ivanov stood strong and took the shots. Lewis mixed things up with a takedown, but couldn’t hold Ivanov down for long. Ivanov popped up and the remainder of the round was locked in the clinch.
Ivanov started the second round with a left hand and Lewis clinched up in response. They separated and Ivanov landed heavy blows that Lewis felt, until he responded with some of his own. He pushed Ivanov against the cage, and was promptly taken down. Ivanov attempted another keylock, but Lewis broke free again. Immediately after standing up, Lewis landed bombs that bloodied Ivanov up. Both men landed their fair share of bombs before Ivanov ended the round with a takedown.
After a few missed strikes from both men, Ivanov established the clinch. The men broke free and Lewis landed a brief takedown. The final round was marked by whiffed haymakers from both men. There was a wild exchange at the very end of the fight, but there was not much to write home about in the final stanza.
Derrick Lewis def. Blagoy Ivanov by Split Decision (30-27, 29-28, 28-29)