On paper, the UFC 226 co-main event between heavyweight knockout artists Francis Ngannou and Derrick Lewis had all the ingredients to be a fight for the ages. Instead, the two put on one of the worst heavyweight bouts in the promotion's history.
In the opening round both were cautious. Ngannou entered the bout coming off his first UFC loss to champion Stipe Miocic. It was unclear how he'd respond after such a dominating loss, and we all found out. At the end of the first round, Ngannou had landed one strike.
Lewis didn't do much either. He landed leg kicks and pressed forward but wasn't the same fighter we'd had become accustomed to seeing inside the Octagon. The crowd inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas grew restless and voiced their displeasure with boos. The most exciting parts of the bout were when Lewis missed with a switch kick.
During the second frame, referee Herb Dean stopped the non-action and told the fighters they needed to engage. The warning by Dean was ignored by both fighters. To his credit, Lewis did try to flurry in the third round. He did move forward and initiated the clinch a couple of times. Outside of that, nothing happened. After fifteen minutes of fighting, only 33 strikes landed between the two of them.
The judges scored the fight for Lewis by unanimous decision, but there were no winners in the fight. UFC production did not interview Lewis following the win. With the victory, Lewis will likely move up from his No. 5 ranking and Ngannou will certainly drop from the top contender spot.