UFC Fight Night 199 (UFC Vegas 45): Lewis vs. Daukaus

Though the fight card has yet to be officially confirmed for December 18th Ultimate Fighting Championship: Fight Night 199, the heavyweight bout between Derrick Lewis and Chris Daukaus would seem to be a near certainty, with the UFC pushing out plenty of promotional materials already.

December 18th is certainly going to be an interesting night for fight fans – Tyson Fury’s brother Tommy Fury is set to fight Jake Paul in a boxing match in Tampa, Florida, the same night, which will no doubt be a relief for both fans who want to watch both bouts and the TV schedulers who will have surely been asking why two such high profile events were planned on the same evening – well the answer to that is easy… MMA trumps everything!

Supporting Acts

As it stands, we’ve got a second heavyweight bout between Justin Tafa and Harry Hunsucker to look forward to, two relative newcomers to the sport that have everything still to prove. All of Tafa’s victories have been by knockout though, so Hunsucker will need to make sure he doesn’t find himself on the wrong end of the “Bad Man’s” legendary right hooks that have seen him floor his opponents on more than one occasion.

Over in the featherweight division, established fighters Cub Swanson and Darren Elkins could be an interesting bout – both fighters have similar records, and are as close as it gets in terms of height, weight, reach, leg reach, average fight time, the only thing separating the two is Swanson’s superior 0.31 knockdown average to Elkins 0.1

A second featherweight bout completes the proposed line-up with Charles Jourdain facing off against Andre Ewell. There’s far more separating these two, making Jourdain the clear favorite in this matchup.

The Main Event: Lewis vs. Daukaus

Chatter has been going on regarding this fight for over a year now, and fans can feel reassured – the wait is almost over. One of the most eagerly-awaited heavyweight contests in the history of Mixed Martial Arts, Lewis vs Daukaus is notable for featuring two of the divisions biggest stars – 4th placed Lewis and 9th placed Daukaus.

Current world number one Francis Ngannou faced Derrick Lewis at UFC 226 all the way back in July 2018, losing by unanimous decision, but Derrick has come a long way in the years since that bout. Across the Octagon, Chris Daukaus won’t be no pushover – he’s won his last five fights in a row via KO/TKO, with a single loss breaking up what could have been a ten win run.

That loss came against Azunna Anyanwu, who we haven’t seen fight for over two years now following a defeat at Bellator 233. In fact, the bookmakers such as Unibet Indiana currently have Chris Daukaus as the favorite by a slim margin, with odds of -110, against +100 for Lewis.

The Devil in the Detail

Looking at the two fighter’s stats a little deeper, Lewis is the more experienced fighter of the pair – he has 33 fights of professional experience against just 15 for Daukaus. This does make the average statistics a little skewed – for example, Daukaus’ average fight time is just 3:23 against 9:32 for Lewis, but that’s quite a disparity even with the difference in bouts considered.

The knockdown average is even more striking – Daukaus scores 6.66 per 15 minutes, against just 0.52 for Lewis. Lewis has 9.03 significant strikes landed per minute against 2.59 for his opponent, and Daukaus has also shown himself capable of absorbing a high number of strikes per minute as well – “The Black Beast” is going to need to pull something special out of his bag of his tricks against an opponent like Daukaus, who has maintained a stunning 100% takedown defense score.

So, perhaps these numbers explain why the bookies have Daukaus as the favorite despite Lewis higher position in the “official” heavyweight rankings? Maybe, but it could also just be that the fans are speaking with their wallets and placing their bets on Daukaus to come through. Lewis’ loss to Ciryl Gane a few weeks ago laid rest to his claim of being the best heavyweight fighter in the division bar none, and if Daukaus pulls off a victory, who knows – maybe it will be him who we see making a shoot for top of the league.

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