Derrick Lewis keeps on kicking butts and taking names.
Fighting for the eighth time in just under two years, the hard-hitting Houston heavyweight scored his biggest victory to date on Sunday night, as he shook off a poor first round and rallied for a devastating finish of Travis Browne in the main event of UFC Fight Night 105. The time of the knockout was 3:12 of the second round at the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
After the bout, Lewis (18-4, 1 NC) made reference to Browne’s 2015 domestic violence allegations made by his ex-wife (Browne did not face charges and was cleared to compete by the UFC after an investigation).
“He called himself a man, but he likes to put his hands on a woman,” said Lewis. “So forget that guy, I got much more heart than he has.”
Browne was the clear-cut winner of the opening round, as the 6-foot-8 competitor from Hawaii used punishing kicks to the midsection and the legs to keep Lewis at bay.
Lewis winced and covered his midsection several times during the round, but after the fight, he used his off-color humor to downplay it.
“I just gotta do a number two, that’s all,” said Lewis.
In the second round, Lewis picked up the pace. He closed the distance and started to tee off at will. While Browne managed to fend off Lewis’ first big flurry of offense, when Lewis went at it the second time around, he dropped Browne to the mat with a right hand that clipped him on the temple. Lewis dropped close to a dozen powerful punches from top position before referee Mario Yamasaki came in with what many considered a late stoppage.
The victory was Lewis’ sixth in a row, five of which have come via finish. It was his 16th career knockout. Browne (18-6-1) has dropped three straight and four of five.
Former UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks’ middleweight debut was a success. Hendricks, who had several attempted weight cuts in his old division go awry over the past couple of years, looked fresh and invigorated at 185. And while he couldn’t overpower Lombard, a former Bellator champion, Hendricks used newfound stamina and footwork to complement his always top-notch wrestling over the course of 15 minutes.
The judges’ scores in the co-main event were a pair of 30-27s and 29-28 in favor of Hendricks (18-6), who snapped a three-fight losing streak.
“It feels awesome,” said Hendricks. “Hector Lombard is such a dangerous opponent you want to attack him but he’s got that one-punch power and I felt it in the third round. The sky’s the limit. I have energy, man.”
Lombard (34-7-1, 2 NC) dropped his third straight fight. His last win was at UFC 171 in 2014 over Jake Shields.
Halifax resident Gavin Tucker gave the local crowd something to cheer with a superlative effort in his UFC debut. Showing no Octagon jitters, Tucker, who is originally from the small town of Ship’s Cove, Newfoundland, put on a poised performance with a methodical win over veteran Sam Sicilia.
Tucker, with a style reminiscent of fellow Canadian Sam Stout, used plenty of head movement and footwork and displayed speed in landing his strikes and getting to safety. Sicilia (15-8), en route to his third straight loss, never got his offense untracked as Tucker cruised to a unanimous decision on straight 30-27 scores.
“It feels good, this is a dream come true, but it’s not the end of the dream,” Tucker (10-0) said. “Sam’s a beast and I’m happy to be here.”
Ferreira nearly scored with multiple submission attempts, but beyond hat, he was a little too content to sit back and counter. Theodorou, on the other hand, adjusted after a slow round one and then was relentless in his pressure and high-volume in his output the rest of the way. That was enough to give the former TUF: Nations winner from Toronto the nod. The judges’ scores were a 30-27 and a pair of 29-28s for a unanimous decision.
“I’m a big believer that it’s all mental,” said Theodorou. “I took a round to get adjusted, to know what he can come at me with. No matter how much tape you look at, its game day. I’m tired but its all mental. I’m tired but he’s more tired. I’m nervous but he’s more nervous.”
In a catchweight (139.5 pounds) bout, Sara McMann (10-3) wasted little time finishing the debuting Gina Mazany. McMann, an Olympic wrestling silver medalist and former UFC title challenger, scored a quick trip on Mazany (4-1), who was a replacement for an injured Liz Carmouche. McMann transitioned into side control and scored a heard-and-arm triangle choke. Mazany tapped at the 1:14 mark as McMann
“She trains at Xtreme Couture, she’s got a great camp, I know she’s tough, but the rest of the world doesn’t know, so that puts pressure on you,” McMann said of her foe. “I want a title shot, I have two wins in a row and I’m the most complete Sara McMann you’ve ever seen.”
In the main-card opener, lightweight Paul Felder had his most memorable finish since his 2015 spinning back first win over Danny Castillo. This time out, the Philadelphia native cracked Canadian Alessandro Ricci with a perfectly time elbow to the nose as Ricci (10-5) moved in. When Ricci backpedaled, Felder landed a big running knee, then rained down punched until the fight was waved off at the 4:44 mark of the opening round.
Felder, who won for the third time in his past four fights, moved his camp to Roufusport in Milwaukee.
“I can’t put it into words,” Felder (13-3) said. “I lived in Duke Roufus' gym for six weeks, I left my daughter, I sacrificed everything to take this fight, to get the first round finish made it all worth it.
He had his hands down like [Floyd] Mayweahter, I knew he was working on his boxing, so I flipped the switch and went Muay Thai.”
The undercard was a thoroughly entertaining affair, starting off with a pair of solid finishes and then featuring three straight action-packed bout which went the distance and could have gone to either competitor.
Milwaukee middleweight Gerald Meerschaert (26-8) got the evening started with an armbar submission over British Columbia’s Ryan Janes (9-2) at just 1:34 of the opening round, his 19th career submission victory. Then, in another middleweight bout, Thiago Santos (14-5) used a hellacious spinning wheel kick to set up his second-round TKO of Welshman Jack Marshman (21-6), getting the finish at 2:21 and snapping a two-fight win streak.
In a bantamweight bout, Montreal’s Aiemann Zahabi, the brother of famed TriStar trainer Firas Zahabi, was victorious in his UFC debut, as he took a unanimous decision over Reginaldo Vieira (30-27, 29-28, 29-28) in a back-and-forth bout. In a women’s strawweight fight, and in a grudge dating back to The Ultimate Fighter 19, Canadian Randa Markos edged former UFC and Invicta champ Carla Esparza, getting two of three 29-28 scores. And in a welterweight bout, Santiago Ponzinibbio and Nordine Taleb stood and traded for 15 minutes and beat each other bloody before Pinzinibbio took 29-28 across-the-board scores for his fourth consecutive win and sixth in his past seven.