Francis Ngannou and Derrick Lewis had to be separated at the weigh-ins.
The following night, Herb Dean had to step in to tell Francis Ngannou and Derrick Lewis to actually engage inside the Octagon. If you were to place a bet on the referee issuing a timidity warning for UFC 226’s co-main event, you would be in the money. Absolutely no one anticipated that the knockout artists would be so gun-shy when they finally collided.
Don’t blink was the pre-fight warning fans were being issued with. That was a fair prediction considering 24 of their previous combined wins came by way of knockout. What viewers really should have been advised to do was bring some reading material to quell the boredom. To say the fight was lacklustre would be the understatement of the year.
The first round initially felt like a feeling-out process. However, it actually set the tone for the entire fight. Aside from an impressive switch kick from Lewis, nothing of note was thrown.
So this is what ppl wanna see huh not my boring lay n pray but two guys stalking each other point fighting lol #Ufc226
— Curtis Blaydes (@RazorBlaydes265) July 8, 2018
By the second round, the fans started protesting. They showered the cage with boos and held their phone torches in the sky. Lewis had complained to his corner between rounds that he was struggling with his back. His cornerman told him the following pearl of wisdom:
“I love you, but fuck that shit, you gotta fight through this shit.”
It took until the last 30 seconds of the final round for the fight to explode into life. However, by then it was too late. Joe Rogan labelled it the ‘most boring heavyweight title fight of all time.’
Only 31 strikes were thrown in the entire fight. Lewis was awarded the unanimous decision victory with a pair of 29-29s and a 30-27, but he will not be getting a title shot after a performance like that. ‘The Black Beast’ improved to 20-5, 1 NC while Ngannou dropped to 11-3. It marked the Frenchman’s second straight loss, the first being that gruelling five-rounder to Stipe Miocic for the heavyweight strap.