(Photo: JIm Edwards)

Derrick Lewis Gets the Win at UFC 226 After a Bizarre Performance from Francis Ngannou

Derrick Lewis got the win he wanted over Francis Ngannou but there's no way he imagined the fight would play out the way it did.

Derrick Lewis got the win he wanted over Francis Ngannou but there’s no way he imagined the fight would play out the way it did.

Over the course of three rounds, Lewis and Ngannou threw a paltry amount of strikes at each other as the heavyweights almost refused to engage with one another. Lewis did enough to secure the victory but it was a bizarre outing for two fighters known for devastating finishes.

As the co-main event got underway, the fighters showed unparalleled patience in the opening round perhaps with Ngannou and Lewis respecting each other’s power rather than committing too much to any single strike.

Lewis was more active landing a few kicks and at least attempting several strikes while Ngannou was constantly trying to set up his combinations but never really unleashing anything through the first five minutes.

Between rounds, Lewis told his coach that he was experiencing some back pain, which is a problem that has plagued him throughout his UFC career.

Meanwhile, Ngannou’s coaches were urging him to start throwing more in the second round but he was still hesitant to unleash any of his strikes. Instead, Ngannou was constantly posturing and setting up his range but never really unleashing any punches.

With about a minute to go, referee Herb Dean paused the action and offered a warning to both fighters about timidity as he told Ngannou and Lewis that he may start taking points away for not engaging.

Upon the restart, Lewis definitely began launching a few more strikes but again not much was landing and Ngannou’s offense was still non-existent.

As the final five minutes got underway, Ngannou was told by his coaches that he was likely down two rounds and that he needed to go out to get the finish or he might lose the fight. Sadly, Ngannou didn’t seem to react as he was still incredibly tentative to throw anything with power behind it.

Lewis wasn’t doing much more but he was still attempting a few strikes while pressing forward on Ngannou at opportune times during the final round.

When the final horn sounded, the crowed roared in disapproval after an absolutely abysmal 15 minutes spent watching Ngannou and Lewis refusing to engage with each other.

Ultimately Lewis got the win by unanimous decision with scorecards reading 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27, but it’s not likely “The Black Beast” will be all that happy after such a forgettable performance.

Perhaps the bigger story coming out of that fight will be Ngannou absolutely refusing to mount any kind of offense whatsoever during the course of three rounds. Following a lopsided decision loss to Stipe Miocic earlier this year, Ngannou looked like a shell of himself on Saturday night as he suffers a second straight defeat with the loss to Lewis at UFC 226

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Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the industry since 2003 with bylines on FOX Sports, CNN, Bleacher Report and numerous other outlets.
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