Derrick Lewis was bad in the first round. He was bad in the second. The third wasn't much better.
Likely down on the cards in the fourth round, Lewis still knew all he had to do was get top position against Shamil Abdurakhimov and the fight could be over. So, that's what he did.
Lewis took Abdurakhimov down against the fence, got mount and pounded him out via TKO in the main event of UFC Fight Night 102 on Friday night in Albany. The finish came at 3:42 of the fourth round.
"That was one of my terriblest fights of all time," Lewis told Jon Anik afterward. "I didn't like my performance at all. ... That was some bullsh*t."
Abdurakhimov grazed Lewis' right eye with a punch in the second round and that also affected "The Black Beast." But Lewis was not his at his aggressive best and threw too many kicks, allowing the Russian to take him down multiple times. In the end, it didn't matter, though Lewis was not happy about it afterward.
Lewis (17-4, 1 NC) said he was thinking about calling out Mark Hunt if he won, but was not a fan of his performance, so he shouldn't do that. Lewis, 31, has still won five in a row and is one of the hottest heavyweights on the UFC roster despite a lackluster outing.
Abdurakhimov (17-4) came in on a two-fight winning streak and seemed en route to a third straight victory until losing steam in the fourth and being unable to get Lewis off him.
Well, sometimes MMA can throw you for a loop.
Ngannou used a kimura grip to take Hamilton down, kept the submission locked and torqued it, leading to a Hamilton tap at just 1:57 of the first round. The top prospect with immense power in his hands submitted Hamilton with an extremely technical grappling exchange.
Ngannou (9-1) is arguably the top rising heavyweight in MMA right now with four finishes in four UFC fights. The 30-year-old Frenchmen asked for a top-10 fighter next — someone like Andrei Arlovski, Travis Browne or Mark Hunt. Hamilton (15-6) has alternated wins and losses since 2014.
Corey Anderson put forth the best performance of his UFC career in a TKO of Sean O'Connell at 2:36 of the second round. Anderson took O'Connell down early and often and finished via ground and pound once he achieved mount. The light heavyweight formerly known as "Beastin' 25/8" has become a legitimate prospect at 205.
In the main card opener, Gian Villante and Saparbek Safarov brought the house down — and then both nearly fell down themselves. Villante ended up winning a wild, back-and-forth brawl by TKO at the 2:54 mark of the second round.
Safarov had his moments — including dropping Villante in the first — but Villante mauled him with big punches and leg kicks. Safarov also injured his left leg when Villante blocked one of his kicks in the first round. Villante eventually won with a flurry, albeit a slow one, against the cage. Both men were gassed and hurt when the end came.
Villante (15-7) rebounded after a unanimous decision loss to Ilir Latifi at UFC 196 in March and has now won two of three. The 31-year-old Long Island native was supposed to face Patrick Cummins in this bout, but Cummins contracted staph infection and had to pull out. Safarov (8-1), a Russia native, came in undefeated with all finishes on his record.
Gerald Meerschaert notched the first finish of the night with a gorgeous anaconda choke in the first round against Joe Gigliotti. Meerschaert (24-8) was making his UFC debut after nearly a decade in MMA and has won six straight. Gigliotti (7-2) has dropped his first two UFC bouts.
In what was the best fight of the night up until that point, Shane Burgos and Thiago Trator put on a show en route to Burgos winning a unanimous decision (30-26, 29-28, 29-27). After Trator won the first round, Burgos turned it on in the second and third turned into a slugfest quickly.
Burgos (8-0) stayed undefeated in his UFC debut. The New York native is a product of Team Tiger Schulmann like top bantamweight contender Jimmie Rivera. Burgos, 25, had finished every one of his previous fights. Trator (20-5-2) has dropped two of three now.
Also on the prelims, Justine Kish beat Ashley Yoder by unanimous decision, Randy Brown finished Brian Camozzi by TKO in the second round, Marc Diakiese beat Frankie Perez by unanimous decision, Ryan Janes beat Keith Berish by split decision, and Juliana Lima won a unanimous decision over J.J. Aldrich.