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Derrick Lewis flirted with disaster, came to his senses and did what he does best.
“The Black Beast” put away Alexey Oleynik with punches and moved into third place on the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s all-time wins list for heavyweights in the second round of their UFC Fight Night 174 headliner on Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Oleynik (59-14-1, 8-5 UFC) succumbed to blows 21 seconds into Round 2.
Lewis (24-7, 15-5 UFC) wandered into the clinch in the first round, engaged the 2005 combat sambo world champion at close range and executed a takedown. Oleynik reversed position, scrambled into side control and locked in a scarf hold that had the New Orleans native in visible distress. He was working toward a keylock when the horn sounded to end Round 1.
Benefiting from the one-minute interval between rounds, Lewis sent a flying knee crashing into the American Top Team rep’s chest at the start of the second, sat him down with a crushing right hook behind it and then swarmed with ferocious ground-and-pound until his third consecutive victory was in the books.
Exhausted Weidman Outlasts Akhmedov
Former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman returned to the winner’s circle for the first time in more than three years, as he laid claim to a unanimous decision over Omari Akhmedov in the grueling three-round co-main event at 185 pounds. All three cageside judges scored it for Weidman (15-5, 11-5 UFC): 29-27, 29-27 and 29-28.
Akhmedov (20-5-1, 8-4-1 UFC) swung for the fences with winging punches and appeared to seize control in the second round, where the “All-American” grew visibly fatigued and conceded multiple takedowns. However, Weidman found the gas necessary to forge ahead in Round 3, as he tripped the American Top Team rep to the floor, advanced to the back and ultimately achieved full mount under threat of an arm-triangle choke. While the submission did not materialize, he maintained positional dominance, dropped elbows and crossed the finish line in front.
The setback was Akhmedov’s first since April 2016.
Stewart Guillotine Dismisses Pitolo
Darren Stewart submitted Dana White’s Contender Series graduate Maki Pitolo with a guillotine choke in the first round of their featured middleweight confrontation. Stewart (12-5, 5-4 UFC) forced the tapout 3:41 into Round 1, authoring the first submission win of his career.
Pitolo (13-6, 1-2 UFC) rocked the Brit with a right hook but spent a majority of the bout in a state of retreat. Stewart pushed him backward with punches, his jab leading the way, and forced the Hawaiian to keep his guns holstered. Pitolo shot for a double-leg takedown along the fence, at which point he became ensnared in the choke. Stewart bit down on a high-elbow guillotine, adjusted his grip and cut off escape routes to score the finish.
Stewart has won five of his last seven fights.
Clinch-Minded Kunitskya Smothers Stoliarenko
A suffocating clinch carried Yana Kunitskaya to a unanimous decision over fellow former Invicta Fighting Championships titleholder Julija Stoliarenko in a three-round women’s bantamweight feature. Kunitskaya (13-5, 3-2 UFC) was awarded 30-26, 30-27 and 30-27 scores by the judges, as she won for the third time in four outings.
Stoliarenko (9-4-2, 0-2 UFC) was woefully outclassed at close range. Kunitskaya peppered her body with knees and mixed in shoulder strikes, punches and elbows to the head while pinning “The Ultimate Fighter 28” semifinalist against the cage. Stoliarenko nearly locked up an armbar after being taken down late in the second round, but the Lithuanian was otherwise ineffective in her first UFC appearance since November 2018.
The defeat closed the book on Stoliarenko’s five-fight winning streak.
Dariush Spinning Attack Melts Holtzman
Kings MMA’s Beneil Dariush brought down former Xtreme Fighting Championships titleholder Scott Holtzman with a spinning back forearm strike in the first round of their lightweight showcase. Holtzman (14-4, 7-4 UFC) was shown the door 4:38 into Round 1, as he was finished for the first time in his 18-fight career.
Dariush (19-4-1, 13-4-1) weathered a pair of inadvertent eye pokes, closed the distance with punches and connected with a crushing knee strike from the Thai clinch. Holtzman was never the same. Dariush reset, continued to pile up damage with punches and drew the curtain with the spinning attack in the final minute of the first round.
The 31-year-old Dariush has rattled off five consecutive victories, the last four via knockout, technical knockout or submission.
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