What’s Next For ‘Black Beast?’

UFC Sao Paulo went down last weekend inside Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, which left several fighters feeling the post-fight blues. Among them was Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) newcomer, Kaynan Kruschewsky, who was knocked out by Elves Brener in the very first round (see it here).

And hometown hero Gabriel Bonfim, who was stopped by Nicolas Dalby in the co-main event of the evening (highlights). But which fighter is suffering from the worst post-fight hangover, now a few days removed from the show?

Derrick Lewis.

“Black Beast” did UFC a solid by stepping in to face surging Heavyweight contender, Jailton Almeida, in the main event after Curtis Blaydes — whom Lewis has a knockout win over — bowed out of the fight for undisclosed reasons. It was a great opportunity for Lewis to build off the momentum he picked up following his knockout win over Marcos Rogerio de Lima at UFC 291.

Unfortunately for Lewis, he simply couldn’t get anything going against Almeida, who neutralized the big man’s number one weapon, his knockout power, by taking him down to the mat at will. The Brazilian big man didn’t have much trouble with his wrestling, dumping Lewis on his back and keeping him there for the majority of the fight.

The first round was just a taste of what Lewis had coming for almost all of 25 minutes of the fight as Almeida earned a dominant 10-8 round. While “Malhadinho” didn’t take advantage of his multiple positions by laying on the ground-and-pound as thick as he should have, at the end of the day he still controlled the fight. He tried to sink in a couple of submissions in there, but Lewis showed improved defense in that area.

At the end of the day, Lewis couldn’t connect with the home-run shot he was desperately seeking, and that’s where the problem for “Black Beast” is because once that goes out the window and Lewis is on the ground on his back, he is like a fish out of water. He proclaimed prior to the fight that if he found himself in those positions his near 30-pound weight advantage would allow him to shrug his opponent off with ease. And while he did manage to get back up on a handful of occasions, for the most part, he was at Almeida’s mercy once on the ground.

The loss is yet another setback for “The Black Beast,” who is now just a paltry 1-4 in his last five fights. He hasn’t had a consecutive win streak since 2020-21, and it seems that the fear that Lewis once instilled on his opponents simply isn’t there anymore. Sure, you still have to be weary of his devastating knockout power, but if you can weather the early onslaught or keep him down on the ground you’re in a good spot.

As far as what’s next for the big man, perhaps a fight against Jairzinho Rozenstruik is in order. It’s a fight I personally have been wanting to see for some time now, and since both fighters recent defeats came at the hands of Almeida, now is as good a time as any, especially since “Bigi Boy” has seen better days himself, losing three of his last four inside the Octagon.

For complete UFC Sao Paulo results, coverage, and highlights click HERE.

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