Never count out Derrick Lewis. Not in the opening minute of the fight, not in the middle rounds, and not until the final horn has sounded.
“The Black Beast” has earned a fan following in large part due to his string of comeback wins over the years, but he’s never had one quite like his victory over Alexander Volkov on Saturday night at UFC 229.
After being battered for the bulk of the fight, appearing exhausted, and suffering an apparent left orbital bone injury early on, Lewis landed one of his trademark ridiculous right hands in the fight’s closing seconds, then followed up on the ground to finish the former Bellator heavyweight champion with just 11 second remaining in the bout.
Lewis (21-5, 1 NC) scored his 18th career knockout victory in the heavyweight main card bout at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, his third straight win and ninth in his past 10 fights.
“Y’all underestimate me,” Lewis said. “I know I’m not that technical and all that, but I’m getting there.”
Volkov set the tone for the bulk of the bout early by landing hard with kicks and right hands. One of them, early in the first round, led to what appeared to be an injury to Lewis’ left orbital bone. This led to an odd scene later in the round in which Volkov volunteered a timeout, only to have referee Herb Dean check Lewis and clear him to continue.
Lewis landed with his right hand honest enough to keep Volkov honest and keep him patient. Lewis clearly started to tired by the midpoint of the fight, as Volkov pushed forward and landed often with kicks.
Volkov was again patient in the third. He landed a couple of flurries which would have finished most other foes, but Lewis managed to simply cover up and shake it off. But just as it appeared time was running out on a one-sided unanimous decision win, Lewis thrilled the crowd with his finishing flurry.
Volkov dropped to 30-7 and had a six-fight win streak snapped. It was his first loss in five UFC fights,