Junior dos Santos picked up a critical high-profile win over Derrick Lewis in the main event of last night’s (Sat., March 9, 2019) UFC on ESPN+ 4 at INTRUST Bank Arena in Wichita, Kansas. JDS was able to stop “The Black Beast” via TKO in the second (watch it here) with a huge overhand and a barrage of follow-up strikes.
Former titleholder “Cigano” now has three wins in a row and is back in the mix in a huge way. The finish to his main event versus Lewis was vicious, but there were some tense moments due to some big punches from both sides. But dos Santos, who’s not known for trash talk, had trouble with another part of the fight.
That was Lewis’ claim of a supposed eye poke in the bout. He briefly took a break and used referee Herb Dean’s shirt to wipe the eye. For his part, dos Santos didn’t think he poked the eye and protested the official warning. He told MMA Junkie after the fight that he noticed Lewis complains to the ref in a lot of his fights:
“Derrick Lewis, I could see it in his fights, too, he complains a lot. Every time he got hit or something he complains a lot. I don’t know if he’s trying to take advantage of the moment or something, but he complains a lot. He was telling the ref, ‘My eye.’ It doesn’t make sense. He was fine.
“You can see on the camera he was fine. That doesn’t make any sense. But that’s fine. The ref, Herb Dean, he’s the greatest in this business and I trust him and that’s what I told him – that my hands weren’t open.”
Dos Santos ended up with an impressive knockout victory in the end, yet he did eat a big shot or two from Lewis in the process. He admitted he could feel the power, but wasn’t rocked. In the end, his use of angles allowed him to land the better punches and finish the fight:
“It was a good challenge,” Dos Santos said. “I know how dangerous he is so I was trying to avoid those punches and one of them connected, but I didn’t feel it too much. I could feel that he has a lot of power, but my angles, I like to position myself in a better way to connect with better punches.”
A Huge Fight Coming Next
Indeed dos Santos did connect with better punches, as his fight-ending flurry on recent title challenger Lewis propelled him right back into his own new title contention. It’s a remarkable turnaround for a supposedly aging heavyweight who was booked as a stepping stone for Tai Tuivasa in his last bout. A report stated Lewis fought ‘Cigano’ with some very significant injuries. Dos Santos’ latest impressive performance cannot be denied either way.
He’s been linked to a match with similarly surging knockout artist Francis Ngannou. The bout would be an explosive contest both have expressed some degree of interest in. Overall, dos Santos isn’t concerned about his next opponent, however, as his options are currently plentiful:
“I don’t really care about who I am going to fighting,” he said. “Of course I want to add something to my career. You can see this ranking thing. It’s crazy. Let’s see what’s going to happen. But