Sunday’s UFC Fight Night from Halifax, Nova Scotia marked a significant improvement in entertainment value over UFC 208, eight days prior.
The highlight of the night was a Fight of the Year worthy tilt between Derrick Lewis and Travis Browne that saw Lewis score a knockout win in the second round. The two heavyweights went back and forth in the first round, with Browne looking to have a slight advantage after visibly hurting Lewis with blows to the midsection. Lewis covered up and retreated from Browne’s attack, but later said that he wasn’t hurt from the body shots, he just “gotta do a number two, that’s all.”
The second round saw Lewis go after Browne relentlessly, eventually knocking the much taller fighter down and finishing him with punches on the ground that put Browne out cold.
Perhaps more entertaining than the fight was Lewis’s post-fight interview with Brian Stann. To put it lightly, Lewis didn’t hold back.
“He call himself a man, but he likes to put his hands on women,” he said. “So, forget that guy. I got much more heart than he has. Where’s Ronda Rousey’s fine ass at?” He was referencing a 2015 accusations that Browne has physically abused his former wife. Browne was never charged criminally and an internal UFC investigation found no wrongdoing on Browne’s part, although his ex-wife maintains the allegations are true. Browne has been dating Ronda Rousey since shortly before the allegations became public.
Lewis, who has fought five times in the last 54 weeks, all wins, admitted that he’s ready for a break in his own unique fashion. “I feel like I just need some time off,” he said. “I don’t want to hear nothing about not fighting in the next three months. … Plus, all the training and all the sex I’ve been getting, my body needs some time off.” He said it all with a straight face.
Hiscoe’s Analysis: With the performance he put on last night, both in the fight and afterward on the mic, he deserves some time off, but hopefully, for fans, it won’t be too long. Derrick Lewis has quickly become one of the most entertaining, if not the most entertaining, personalities in MMA. Couple that with the fact that he’s winning his fights impressively, and he could be a potential breakout star if he starts to get some mainstream media attention. UFC would be wise to give him the time off he’s asking for, but then to book him in a featured position on a big show against a name fighter.
Last night in my report, I talked about matching him up with either Cain Velasquez or Fabricio Werdum, but I don’t know if I’d want to risk Lewis losing to one of them right now. A fight against someone like Josh Barnett, who would be happy to go toe-to-toe on the mic leading up to the fight, could work. Either way, Lewis should be put on a path to challenge for the title sometime this year or next, as he has star potential.
MONDAY NOTEBOOK ITEMS…
-Bonuses last night went to Derrick Lewis and Travis Browne for Fight of the Night and performance bonuses went to Paul Felder and Thiago Santos for their respective knockout wins.
-Last night’s show drew a card of 8,123 to the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax with a gate of $575,832. (SOURCE)
-Johny Hendricks told media at last night’s post-fight press conference that he isn’t sure if his left hand is broken, feeling it may just be a “stinger” and that he would be interested in fighting in Dallas this May and would also like to fight Georges St. Pierre at 185 pounds.
-Former UFC Flyweight Championship contender Kyoji Horiguchi has signed with the Rizin fight promotion. He will debut against Yuki Motoya on April 16. Horiguchi had turned down a contract extension offer from UFC. (SOURCE)
-Chris Fields is injured and out of his Bellator 173 fight against Liam McGeary. McGeary will now fight Vladimir Filipovic in the main event of the Feb. 24 show from Belfast.
NOW CHECK OUT YESTERDAY’S UPDATE: SUNDAY NEWS DIGEST: Bellator scrambled to find new opponent for Fedor, including a willing Chael Sonnen (w/Hiscoe’s Analysis)
(MMATorch’s Daily News Digest features the top story of the day with added analysis, plus smaller tidbits in the News Notes section. Mike Hiscoe, who writes the News Digest Sundays through Thursdays, has a background in film criticism and previously wrote for the DVD Town and Movie Metropolis websites. His passion for Mixed Martial Arts goes back to 2005, but it was in the promotion for UFC 60: Hughes vs. Gracie that he really got hooked.”This is my house, I build it,” is still among the all-time great UFC promos. You can follow Mike on social media under the tag @mikehiscoe. He now provides his experienced writing and perspective on live MMA events for MMATorch.)