Roy Nelson had to rely on his grappling skills and legendary chin tonight at UFC Fight Night 90, but it wasn’t enough as Derrick Lewis claimed the biggest win of his career so far by split decision.
Nelson takes the center of the Octagon to start. Lewis with an early body kick.
Nelson just misses with an overhand. He gets double underhooks and marches Lewis over to the cage. Nelson not doing a whole lot with the position for now as he looks for an opporotunity to get his opponent to the mat.
A few knees to the leg for Nelson, and eventually they are broken apart by the referee.
Lewis with a body kick and then goes upstairs with another. That gets Nelson’s attention and he looks to clinch up again and lands a nice trip takedown.
Nelson in half guard lands a little ground and pound, but then Lewis manages to get back up and immediately goes on the offense, landing a big knee and punches behind it.
Nelson’s in real trouble here as Lewis pours on the offense, but in true ‘Big Country’ fashion, hish chin stands up to it and he’s able to work back into that clinch against the cage.
Not much happening and again they are reset. Lewis starts to unload with big punches to the body and head of Nelson up against the cage. He’s looking for the finish, and Nelson is having to dig deep here.
Again Nelson has to clinch in desperation and lands another trip takedown as the round comes to an end.
Nelson just misses with a straight right. Both men exchange in close, but don’t find the target.
Lewis witha big knee. Nelson misses a wild overhand. Right hand for Lewis. He just misses with a knee upstairs as his opponent leans over.
Leg kick for Nelson. One in return for Lewis. Nelson plodding slowly forward. Lewis tries for a head kick, but it’s blocked.
Nelson shuffles forward into another overhand that misses. Lewis tries a strike of his own and Nelson times it to get into the clinch against the cage again.
Nelson punching Lewis’ thigh a couple of times and then tries for a takedown. It takes some time, but he eventually does manage to suck his opponent’s legs out from under him and immediately shifts over to side control.
Under two minutes of the round to go as Nelson looks to take advantage of this position. He lands a punch to the head and a couple of knees to the body.
Lewis tries to scramble and Nelson is unable to keep him down, but does keep him in the clinch. He’s able to take him down again, but Lewis is soon back up again.
Nelson hoists Lewis up and brings him to the mat for a third time. Back in side control he tries for ground and pound, but Lewis muscles his way out of this bad spot to get back upright and tries to wing some bombs in Nelson’s direction as the round ends.
Overhand misses for Lewis and Nelson counters with a right hand. Head kick attempt for Lewis.
Lewis with a hard knee that finds the mark, but Nelson is able to get back to his favored clinch against the cage.
Punches to the thigh again from Nelson. He works hard for another takedown and lands it. He’s in half guard this time with about 3.30mins left in the round.
Not much happening and eventually Lewis is able to just power back up to his feet yet again. Still stuck in the clinch though and now approaching two minutes remaining in the fight.
Lewis with a couple of elbows, but Nelson takes him down again. Lewis stands and Nelson lands knees from the clinch.
The ref breaks them up and Lewis wings a punch at Nelson. A minute to go and both men are tired. Lewis lands a solid body kick.
Right hand for Lewis, then a left. He unloads with more punches and then a kick.
Nelson with another crucial clinch to stop this onslaught.
Lewis back to striking range. He lands an uppercut. He’s pouring it on and he essentially stops Nelson in his tracks and whips his head back with another huge right hook, but ‘Big Country’ remains standing and survives to the end of the round.
So, it goes down to the scorecards to see whether Lewis’ hard hitting offense, or Nelson’s clinchwork and takedowns swayed the judges.
It turns out to be a split decision, and it goes in Lewis’ favor! (29-28 x2, 28-29). That’s bound to be a somewhat controversial decision as Nelson definitely controlled more of the fight, but Lewis unquestionably had him in real trouble numerous times in that 15 minute encounter.