In a collision of two massive, hard-hitting heavyweights, Francis Ngannou and Derrick Lewis step into the Octagon at UFC 226 on Saturday live from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Ngannou-Lewis should serve a satisfying appetizer for the main event, a Heavyweight title bout between Stipe Miocic and Light Heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier. Ngannou, 31, and Lewis, 33, are currently each the No. 1 and No. 5 heavyweight contenders respectively in the official UFC Rankings. This fight will play a key role in determining who the next challenger for the UFC Heavyweight Championship will be.
If Ngannou (11-2 career record) wins, he either earns a second opportunity against Miocic (previously lost via unanimous decision at UFC 220 in Boston back in January) or a possible date with Cormier, assuming Cormier doesn’t first drop weight to defend the Light Heavyweight title. Ngannou, due to remaining atop the aforementioned rankings, has a compelling case for another title shot sooner than later, and because of his first go-around with Miocic went the distance, a potential rematch concept is an intriguing prospect for UFC.
Should Lewis (19-5 career record, with one no contest) win, he makes a bigger leap into contention for a possible title fight, an opportunity he has never competed for prior. Lewis has never competed against Miocic or Cormier previously. In October, Lewis had to back out of a fight against Fabrício Werdum, the fighter Miocic defeated to first win the heavyweight championship, due to a back injury.
Francis Ngannou – Favorite: -355
Derrick Lewis – Underdog: +290
Two behemoths clash in what should be one of the best, shortest brawls on paper, in UFC history. Ngannou, standing 6’4″, provides a combination of raw strength, size, agility, and power, which makes him such a tantalizing prospect moving forward. Ngannou is a fighter the UFC wants to continue to promote and build its heavyweight division around.
Lewis, in many respects, represents the old guard. This is his “last stand” so to speak. Should he upset Ngannou, the body of work throughout his career and the timing of this victory, is enough to immediately vault him into heavyweight title contention. I’m not sure we’ll get that far, though.
Ngannou via first-round knockout.
Odds provided are according to Oddsshark.com.