In the final card of 2021, a battle of top-10 heavyweights headlined UFC Vegas 45 as Derrick Lewis took on Chris Daukaus.
Lewis entered the fight coming off a TKO loss to Ciryl Gane back in the main event of UFC 265 in August for the interim heavyweight title. Prior to that, he was on a four-fight winning streak, where during that run he knocked out Curtis Blaydes. Daukaus, meanwhile, was 4-0 in the UFC with all four wins coming by knockout and was coming off a TKO win over Shamil Abdurakhimov at UFC 266.
In the end, it was Lewis returning to the win column in a big way as he knocked out Daukaus in the first round. Now, after the event, here is what I think should be next for Lewis and Daukaus.
Derrick Lewis was pissed off entering this fight against Daukaus at UFC Vegas 45 and it showed. In his last fight against Gane, he didn’t throw enough volume and was pieced up before getting TKO’d. Against Daukaus, he was much more aggressive and that was the key for him to get the knockout win.
Now, after the win over Daukaus, Lewis has a ton of options for his next fight as he is a big name and holds a win over the current champ in Francis Ngannou. With him unlikely to get a title shot next, he is in a weird position as Stipe Miocic is holding out for the belt and he has fought both Volkov and Blaydes and knocked them both out.
I think Lewis will want to be active so a fight against Jairzinho Rozenstruik might just have to be next in the main event of a Fight Night card. Should he win that, then a title shot looms for Lewis.
Chris Daukaus took a big step up in completion against Lewis and it did not go his way, as he suffered a KO loss. However, the loss will only help him as he gains much-needed experience against top competition.
Daukaus will still be ranked inside the top-10 and a logical next fight is against Marcin Tybura. It’s a winnable fight for Daukaus but also another tough test against a gritty veteran in Tybura who will look to use his wrestling. Both men are also looking to get back into the win column after suffering losses to snap their winning streaks last time out.
Who do you think should be next for Derrick Lewis and Chris Daukaus after UFC Vegas 45?