UFC Fight Night Report: Derrick Lewis knocks out Chris Daukaus in the first round
By: Eric Marcotte
On Saturday evening, the UFC held their final Fight Night event of the year at the Apex facility in Las Vegas, Nevada. The card was headlined by a heavyweight bout between former title challenger, Derrick Lewis, and the seventh-ranked fighter in the division, Chris Daukaus. Daukaus made his UFC debut in 2020 and has gone undefeated throughout his four fights in the promotion, defeating each of his opponents by knockout. Lewis was coming into this fight following a poor performance against Ciryl Gane, where he was finished in the third round. Despite the loss, Lewis remains a highly ranked heavyweight, and a knockout victory against Daukaus would move him into sole possession of the UFC’s all-time record for knockouts. The co-main event featured another former title challenger, as Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson faced Belal Muhammad.
The commentary team for this card consisted of Brendan Fitzgerald, Michael Bisping, and Paul Felder. Performance of the Night bonuses were awarded to Cub Swanson and Melissa Gatto. Fight of the Night bonuses went out to Angela Hill and Amanda Lemos.
*Jordan Leavitt def. Matt Sayles by inverted triangle choke 2:05 of Round 2
*Don’Tale Mayes def. Josh Parisian by TKO at 3:26 of Round 3
*Raquel Pennington def. Macy Chiasson by 10-finger choke at 3:07 of Round 2
*Charles Jourdain def. Andre Ewell by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 29-27)
*Melissa Gatto def. Sijara Eubanks by TKO at 0:45 of Round 3
*Justin Tafa def. Harry Hunsucker by KO at 1:53 of Round 1
*Gerald Meerschaert def. Dustin Stoltzfus by rear naked choke at 2:58 of Round 3
*Cub Swanson def. Darren Elkins by TKO at 2:12 of Round 1
*Mateusz Gamrot def. Carlos Diego Ferreira by TKO at 3:26 of Round 2
*Ricky Simon def. Raphael Assuncao by KO at 2:14 of Round 2
*Amanda Lemos def. Angela Hill by split decision (30-27, 29-28, 28-29)
*Belal Muhammad def. Stephen Thompson by unanimous decision (30-25, 30-26, 30-26)
*Derrick Lewis def. Chris Daukaus by KO at 3:36 of Round 1
JORDAN LEAVITT (8-1, 155.5) VS MATT SAYLES (8-3, 155.5) – LIGHTWEIGHT
Leavitt began the fight with a front kick up the middle. Sayles threw a big right hand that prompted Leavitt to take Sayles to the ground, where he began to work from half guard. Leavitt was looking for a D’Arce choke, but Sayles was able to defend and made it back to his feet before the end of the round.
Sayles sprawled on a takedown attempt from Leavitt, before throwing a combination of punches to the body. Sayles was nearly caught in a guillotine choke after taking Leavitt down but was able to escape. Leavitt threw up an inverted triangle on the ground, and this time there was no way out for Sayles, who was forced to submit.
WINNER: Jordan Leavitt by inverted triangle choke 2:05 of Round 2
Every time this fight went to the ground, Leavitt was constantly threatening submissions, and eventually, Sayles found himself caught in one that he just couldn’t escape, despite showcasing impressive submission defense throughout the bout. Leavitt’s grappling looked fantastic throughout this fight, and I thought this was really the first time that we got to see the extent of what Leavitt is capable of on the ground. He is now 2-1 in the UFC.
DON’TALE MAYES (8-4, 256.5) VS JOSH PARISIAN (14-4, 262) – HEAVYWEIGHT
Mayes was quickly able to take Parisian to the ground, where he began to work from side control. Parisian exploded back to his feet, but he couldn’t create much separation and was dragged right back down. Mayes trapped Parisian in the crucifix position, where he threw down a few hard strikes before Parisian escaped, and the round ended.
The fighters traded leg kicks to begin round two. Mayes flurried forward with a combination of punches before he began to hunt for another takedown. Much like the first round, Parisian was able to get back to his feet, but once again, he was immediately dragged back down.
Chiasson missed weight by 2.5lbs and was fined 20% of her purse.
Chiasson caught Pennington with a clean combination of punches in the opening minute of the fight. Pennington was attempting to make her way through Chiasson’s reach advantage but was repeatedly being tagged upon closing the distance. Eventually, Pennington was successful in wrapping Chiasson up in the clinch, where she began to look for a takedown against the cage. Chiasson defended the attempt, and the fighters exchanged hard shots on the break. Chiasson ended the round with a takedown.
Pennington landed a right hand to begin round two, which she followed up with a combination of strikes that backed Chiasson up. They wrestled in the clinch against the cage, before Chiasson broke away, throwing a number of knees in the process. Chiasson attempted a takedown, but she left her neck exposed in the process, and Pennington immediately locked in a choke from the front, forcing Chiasson to tap out.
WINNER: Raquel Pennington by 10-finger choke at 3:07 of Round 2
This was a fun fight while it lasted. Pennington had to apply constant pressure to negate Chiasson’s reach advantage but was getting caught a lot in the process. Chiasson shows a lot of promise as a fighter in my opinion, but something clearly went very wrong in her shortened training camp here, missing the featherweight limit when she has been making bantamweight for years without issue. Pennington has now won three consecutive fights, and this marked her first stoppage victory since 2015.
CHARLES JOURDAIN (11-4-1, 145.5) VS ANDRE EWELL (17-8, 145) – FEATHERWEIGHT
The fighters traded leg kicks to begin the bout. Ewell was the more active fighter early, putting his speed advantage to good use. The advantage in power seemed to belong to Jourdain however, who was looking to land powerful counters with his lead hand. Ewell’s footwork was giving Jourdain issues as well, continuously circling out of range. In the final minute of the round, Jourdain slipped on a knee attempt, and Ewell racked up some control time on the ground before time expired. 10-9 Ewell.
Jourdain really started to put on the pressure in round two. Jourdain was landing heavy strikes constantly, really testing Ewell’s chin throughout the round. While the single shots he landed were powerful, it was his combinations of punches against the cage that were really giving Ewell problems. Jourdain threw out numerous leg kicks throughout the round as well, and the damage added up quickly. In the final minute of the round, Ewell went to the ground after eating one more heavy combination of punches, and Jourdain landed some strong ground and pound before time expired. 19-18 Jourdain.
Jourdain continued to attack the lead leg of Ewell in round three. Ewell threw a front kick up the middle that landed clean, but Jourdain shook it off, and just continued to march forward. Jourdain was doing excellent work in the pocket and landed numerous knees to the body whenever Ewell wrapped him up in the clinch. At one-point Jourdain just screamed at Ewell like a complete lunatic, before he went right back to kneeing him in the body. Jourdain floored Ewell with a push kick to the body right as time expired. 29-27 Jourdain.
WINNER: Charles Jourdain by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 29-27)
Charles Jourdain is typically a tremendously entertaining fighter, and this fight was no exception. When he increased his output at the start of the second round, the complexion of the fight changed entirely, and Ewell never really found that same success again that he did in the opening round. Ewell showcased a hell of a chin though because he certainly ate some ridiculous shots throughout the final two rounds of this fight. Jourdain is now 3-3-1 in the UFC, and he announced that this was the final fight on his contract in his post-fight interview.
SIJARA EUBANKS (7-6, 127.5) VS MELISSA GATTO (7-0-2, 125) – FLYWEIGHT
Eubanks missed weight by 1.5lbs and was fined 20% of her purse.
Eubanks immediately blitzed forward with a combination of punches, tagging Gatto repeatedly before taking her down. Gatto was looking to catch Eubanks in a triangle choke, and while she was unsuccessful, she was arguably the busier fighter on the ground despite working off of her back. Still, I think Eubanks did enough damage in the first and final seconds for me to score the round in her favor.
Eubanks took Gatto back to the ground in round two, but this time, Gatto quickly rolled into top position. Neither fighter was particularly active offensively throughout this second round, with Gatto seemingly working her way towards a choke that ultimately didn’t come. Still, Gatto’s top control time throughout the final half of this round was likely the difference-maker on the scorecards.
In the opening minute of round three, Gatto landed a front kick to the midsection that just crumbled Eubanks. There was really no need for any of the follow-up shots here because it was clear that Eubanks was done after that kick landed.
WINNER: Melissa Gatto by TKO at 0:45 of Round 3
The front kick from Gatto just dug into the body of Eubanks, which effectively shut her down here. It was a beautiful finish, and Gatto maintained her undefeated record here with this win. She is now 2-0 in the UFC, with two stoppage victories. For Eubanks, this was a tough loss after just getting back on track with a win in her last bout. Eubanks fell to 5-5 in the promotion with this loss.
JUSTIN TAFA (4-3, 267) VS HARRY HUNSUCKER (7-4, 238.5) – HEAVYWEIGHT
Tafa immediately sat Hunsucker down with a left hand and chose to follow him to the ground in an attempt to capitalize on the moment. Hunsucker threatened a kimura and scrambled his way back to the feet. They traded heavy hands upon returning to the feet, before Tafa threw a head kick that knocked Hunsucker out cold, despite Hunsucker having his guard up.
WINNER: Justin Tafa by TKO at 1:53 of Round 1
Tafa tagged Hunsucker in the opening exchange, and I’m not sure that Hunsucker ever completely recovered, despite having the presence of mind to attempt that kimura. Hunsucker was more than willing to engage in a brawl with Tafa, but that approach cost him here when caught by Tafa’s powerful shots in return. Tafa improved to 2-3 in the UFC with this win and called out Carlos Felipe in his post-fight interview, who beat Tafa by split decision earlier this year.
WINNER: Gerald Meerschaert by rear-naked choke at 2:58 of Round 3
Stoltzfus gave a good account of his abilities here, holding his own on the ground against Meerschaert until the eventual finish. Unfortunately, that seems to be a common theme for Stoltzfus, who is clearly a talented fighter, but has gone 0-3 since joining the UFC last year. For Meerschaert, this is about what you would expect from a standard GM3 fight, and this concludes what has arguably been his best overall year since his UFC debut in 2016. After a rough 2020, where Meerschaert was finished in the first round twice, GM3 rebounded with a 3-0 record in 2021, finishing each of those bouts by submission.
CUB SWANSON (27-12, 145.5) VS DARREN ELKINS (26-9, 145.5) – FEATHERWEIGHT
Elkins tagged Swanson with a looping overhand right before Swanson went on the attack. He was catching Elkins repeatedly, practically rocking him with every clean shot he landed. It quickly became apparent that Darren Elkins was taking a significant amount of damage, and you could notice referee Herb Dean moving closer to the fighters as he considered stepping in. Swanson dropped Elkins with a right hand, and as Elkins stumbled to his feet, Swanson caught him again with a wheel kick. Elkins was out on his feet, and the fight was stopped.
WINNER: Cub Swanson by TKO at 2:12 of Round 1
This fight was a beatdown while it lasted. Elkins just didn’t have the speed or defensive ability to avoid anything Swanson was throwing, and Cub was clearly looking to end things early. Even at 38 years of age, Cub Swanson is quick and creative on the feet, and he really made easy work of the durable Darren Elkins here. Swanson has now won three of his last four bouts, and with this win, he has tied Jose Aldo and Max Holloway for the all-time record for most wins at featherweight in UFC/WEC history.
CARLOS DIEGO FERREIRA (17-4, 156) VS MATEUSZ GAMROT (19-1, 1 NC, 155.5) – LIGHTWEIGHT
Gamrot and Ferreira traded kicks throughout the first minute of the fight. Gamrot reversed a takedown attempt from Ferreira, but couldn’t capitalize on the position due to Ferreira’s activity from his back. With the majority of the round taking place on the feet, both fighters got to showcase their striking ability, which really isn’t what either man is known for. The striking numbers were very close, and it was tough to say who was lading the more impactful shots here as well, making for a very close round.
There were some insane scrambles in the early part of this second round, with neither fighter content to give up top position on the ground to the other. Ferreira seemed to be content with keeping the fight on the feet and seemed to be growing in confidence as the round progressed. Late in the round, Gamrot landed a knee to the ribs of Ferreira from his back, and it appeared as though Ferreira told referee Jason Herzog that he was injured here. Herzog moved in to stop the fight, as a confused Gamrot sunk in a rear-naked choke on Ferreira, who had stopped defending himself by that point.
WINNER: Mateusz Gamrot by TKO at 3:26 of Round 2
Very strange finish. The apparent injury came from a completely legal blow, so you have to give Gamrot credit for the finish, but this was definitely an anti-climatic finish to what was a very fun fight. Both of these men are skilled grapplers, and there were some very high-level scrambles on the ground throughout this fight, as Gamrot would attempt takedowns on Ferreira, who was just a blur of constant activity whenever he was taken down. Ferreira was a ranked lightweight coming into this, so in all likelihood, Gamrot will find himself ranked after this win. He called out Michael Chandler in his post-fight interview.
RAPHAEL ASSUNCAO (27-8, 136) VS RICKY SIMON (18-3, 135.5) – BANTAMWEIGHT
Assuncao was kicked low immediately, resulting in a momentary delay to the real start of the fight. Simon quickly took Assuncao down as the action began, pressing him against the cage in a seated position. Assuncao slowly worked his way back up but was immediately slammed back down by Simon. Simon was able to hold Assuncao down until time expired, easily taking the first round on the scorecards.
Assuncao did a better job of avoiding Simon’s takedown attempts to begin round two, but Simon was confident on the feet as well, and he dropped Assuncao hard with a right hook. Simon landed an uppercut as Assuncao picked himself up, and this one finished the fight.
WINNER: Ricky Simon by KO at 2:14 of Round 1
Assuncao didn’t seem to have much to offer Simon here, on the feet or on the ground. I thought this was one of Simon’s better performances in the UFC, and he became just the third fighter to finish Assuncao with strikes. Simon called out Sean O’Malley in his post-fight interview but seemed open to fights against anyone ranked above him in the division. For Assuncao, this marked his fourth consecutive loss, and at 39 years of age, one has to wonder if this will be the final time Assuncao steps foot inside the octagon.
AMANDA LEMOS (10-1-1, 115) VS ANGELA HILL (13-10, 115.5) – STRAWWEIGHT
A front kick up the middle from Lemos knocked Hill down, and Lemos followed Hill into her guard, with the intent of finishing the fight. Lemos attempted a guillotine after dropping some ground and pound strikes, to no success. Hill returned to her feet, where she immediately started swinging in an attempt to make up ground. Hill tagged Lemos with a right hand that wobbled her, but Lemos seemed to recover quickly. 10-9 Lemos.
The fighters wrestled in the clinch against the cage for a large portion of this round. Hill attacked the body with knees, and mixed in the occasional elbow as well. They broke apart with about two minutes remaining in the round, but Hill brought Lemos right back to the cage, where she continued to feed Lemos knees to the body. I thought this was a strong round from Angela Hill, after nearly being finished in the previous round. 19-19.
As time was winding down in the round, Angela Hill landed a spinning elbow that appeared to drop Lemos, but on replay, it landed partially to the shoulder, and Lemos slipped during the exchange. It was a very, very tough round to call, but I narrowly gave the round to Lemos. 29-28 Lemos.
STEPHEN THOMPSON (16-5-1, 170.5) VS BELAL MUHAMMAD (19-3, 1 NC, 170.5) – WELTERWEIGHT
Thompson looked fantastic in the opening minute, defending Muhammad’s takedown attempts while picking him apart from distance. Muhammad continued to chase the takedown, and while he wasn’t really able to keep Thompson down, he was successful in keeping Thompson wrapped up against the cage for the majority of this round. In the final minute, Muhammad eventually lifted Thompson up in dramatic fashion, and placed him down in the perfect position, flattening him out and taking his back. Thompson defended Muhammad’s choke attempts but was unable to escape the position, and Muhammad threw down ground and pound until the round concluded. 10-9 Muhammad.
Thompson tagged Muhammad a few times to begin round two, but once again, Muhammad was able to close the distance and wrap Wonderboy up against the cage. This time, he was able to get Thompson down properly in much quicker fashion, where he began to work from half guard. Muhammed started to hunt for a kimura, passing to side control in the process. Muhammad didn’t find the submission, but this was another strong round in his favor. 20-18 Muhammad.
Muhammad got Thompson back to the ground in less than a minute. Thompson was able to work his way back to the feet this time, but Muhammad brought him right back down, this time in the middle of the octagon. Muhammad controlled Wonderboy here for the remainder of this round, ending the fight in top position. 30-27 Muhammad.
WINNER: Belal Muhammad by unanimous decision (30-25, 30-26, 30-26)
I thought this was a tremendous performance from Belal Muhammad. Not only did Muhammad take Thompson down, he did it repeatedly, and he controlled almost the entirety of this fight on the ground. Now with wins against Wonderboy as well as Demian Maia, I would say Muhammad has built up a great deal of momentum, and with only one loss throughout his last twelve bouts, he has more than earned his status as a contender. Muhammad called out Kamaru Usman and Leon Edwards in his post-fight interview.
DERRICK LEWIS (25-8, 1 NC, 265) VS CHRIS DAUKAUS (12-3, 235.5) – HEAVYWEIGHT
Daukaus and Lewis both landed leg kicks in the opening minutes of the bout. Daukaus connected with an elbow before Lewis fired back with a heavy combination that appeared to narrowly miss its target.
WINNER: Derrick Lewis by KO at 3:36 of Round 1
With this knockout, Lewis moved into sole possession for the UFC record for most knockouts, with a total of 13. This fight was an example of Lewis at his best, fighting aggressively, and with more creativity than you may expect.