HOUSTON, TEXAS – AUGUST 07: Derrick Lewis waits in his corner during a stoppage against Ciryl Gane of France in their interim heavyweight title bout during the UFC 265 event at Toyota Center on August 07, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Zuffa LLC)
Chris Daukaus will attempt to establish himself as a contender in the UFC’s heavyweight division against an experienced veteran in Derrick Lewis, who wants to prove that he is not fading and still belongs among the top-ranked fighters. Here we discuss the odds and analysis from a betting perspective.
- When: Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021 7 p.m. ET (ESPN+)
- Where: UFC Apex, Las Vegas, Nevada
- Line: Derrick Lewis (+120) and Chris Daukaus (-140); odds from Draftkings sportsbook.
Derrick “The Black Beast” Lewis has been competing in the UFC since 2014 and is coming off of a loss in an interim title shot to Cyril Gane, but he still has the punching power to put anyone to sleep and should not be overlooked by anyone attempting to make a name for themselves in this division.
Lewis has a 10-pound weight advantage and three-inch reach advantage over Daukaus, averaging 2.49 significant strikes landed per minute (SLpM) with a 50 percent striking accuracy, 2.41 strikes absorbed per minute (SApM) with 41 percent striking defense, 0.49 takedowns per 15 minutes with a 25 percent takedown accuracy, 55 percent takedown defense and 0.0 submissions per 15 minutes, according to UFC Stats.
Prior to his loss to Gane (TKO Rd3, 2021), Lewis had won four straight including victories over Curtis Blaydes (KO Rd2, 2021), Alexei Oleinik (TKO Rd2, 2020), Ilir Latifi (UD, 2020) and Blagoy Ivanov (SD, 2019).
Chris Daukaus’ rapid ascension in the UFC led him to decide to focus on fighting full-time, choosing to put his career as a Philadelphia police officer on hold, but he will face his stiffest test and hardest puncher in the organization so far when he takes on “The Black Beast” in his first main event this weekend.
Daukaus is four years younger than Lewis and averages 9.03 significant strikes landed per minute (SLpM) with a 53 percent striking accuracy, 3.40 strikes absorbed per minute (SApM) with 64 percent striking defense, 0.00 takedowns per 15 minutes with a 0 percent takedown accuracy, 100 percent takedown defense and 0.0 submissions per 15 minutes, according to UFC Stats.
Daukaus has yet to lose or see a third round in the UFC with wins over Shamil Abdurakhimov (TKO Rd2, 2021), Aleksei Oleinik (TKO Rd1, 2021), Rodrigo Nascimento (KO Rd1, 2020) and Parker Porter (TKO Rd1, 2020).
Lewis vs. Daukaus Narratives
Storylines heading into this contest include the perception that Daukaus is younger, faster with higher volume, more technical striking and every bit of the knockout power that we might expect from a heavyweight contender, and that Daukas should be able to pick apart a low-output, flat-footed Lewis who has absorbed a lot of damage and could be in the twilight of his career. Daukaus backers will also point out that it is often ill-advised to bet on the fighter who has a single path to victory, and that Derrick Lewis’ single path to victory is a knockout.
Bettors who favor Lewis might question Daukaus’ lack of experience and point out that Daukaus has never fought a heavyweight as highly ranked or with as much punching power as Lewis, banking on “The Black Beast” to provide a veteran lesson to the up-and-comer this weekend.
Lewis vs. Daukaus Prediction
Trying to predict the outcome of this fight may come down to whether one believes Daukaus’ speed and high output will outmatch Lewis’s experience and knockout power in a contest that will most certainly play out on the feet.
Chris Daukaus’ domination of every fighter he has been matched with in the UFC and his backstory of being a police officer in Philly have contributed to him becoming a fan favorite, possibly inflating his value in the market.
In contrast, Lewis may be perceived as old, slow with low output, poor cardio and a heavy lead leg, and he was most recently seen being completely annihilated in his last fight, all of which may be contributing to him being undervalued by the market.
Derrick Lewis indeed has a single path to victory and if he is not able to land a knockout punch, he will certainly get picked apart and likely stopped by Daukaus. But Lewis has been dangerous as an underdog, beating Blades as a +250 dog, Alexander Volkov as a +145 dog and Francis Ngannou as +170 dog, and we see him as slightly undervalued in this matchup and still with something to prove.
Daukaus has been finished in lower level competition before by Azunna Anyanwu in 2019, Shawn Teed in 2015 and Yordany Hernandez-Figueroa in 2014, and as he is the lighter fighter who has yet to face anyone with the same one-punch knockout power that Lewis possesses, so I am reluctant to jump on the hype train and will take the value with the dog. Daukaus has great striking, but is he as powerful or technical as Volkov, who got his head bounced off the canvas like a basketball by strikes from Lewis?
In a contest that will likely remain a striking contest on the feet, we anticipate that Daukaus will be winning the fight up until Lewis lands the one punch that sends Daukaus to the shadow realm.
Pick: Derrick Lewis +120
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