Derrick Lewis struggled with Ilir Latifi’s wrestling at UFC 247, but made a huge push for a finish at the end that earned him the decision.
Ilir Latifi has been a mainstay at light heavyweight since entering the promotion in 2013. But the hulking Swede was about to be the smaller man for a change, as he moved up to heavyweight at UFC 247 in Houston on Saturday night. Welcoming him to the promotion’s largest weight class was Derrick Lewis, one of the hardest-hitting behemoths heavyweight had to offer.
Aside from being a “welcome to heavyweight” fight for Latifi, the PPV card-opener was a homecoming for Lewis, a Houston native, who was looking to make it two wins in a row.
Derrick Lewis took the center of the Octagon in front of his home fans. He pushed Latifi against the fence, and after some time, Latifi landed an overhand right. After they separated, Lewis came flying back in with a knee that landed. Latifi ate it and turned it into a clinch. The referee eventually broke them up, and Lewis landed a head kick soon after. Lewis cracked him with another, and another clinch occurred with Latifi in an advantageous position. Another flying knee came in from Lewis before the end of the round.
Lewis threw a head kick immediately to start the second round. Latifi countered with a leg kick that paused Lewis’ pursuit. Latifi went to it again as Lewis stalked forward. A body kick then a flying knee came in from Lewis. Latifi turned him around into a clinch against the cage. Latifi was able to land a trip takedown after pulling Lewis off the cage, landing in half guard. Nothing much was done from there, and the referee stood them up. Lewis just missed with a huge right hand, then was thrown to the canvas by Latifi, who ended the round in guard.
An overhand right landed for Lewis to start the final round, then another for the Black Beast. He exploded in with a flying knee, but Latifi turned it into a clinch again. Another throw for Latifi was successful as he landed in half guard. Lewis seemed content to stay in half guard, but then stood up after over a minute on his back. From there, it was all Lewis. He unloaded everything he had left in the tank in the final minute. Lewis connected with uppercuts, elbows, haymakers. Somehow, Latifi ate everything Lewis gave him and made it to the final bell.
Derrick Lewis def. Ilir Latifi by Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)