UFC Vegas 45 betting: KO artists Derrick Lewis and Chris Daukaus meet in heavyweight headliner

·Combat columnist
·3 min read

LAS VEGAS — Derrick Lewis is coming off a one-sided loss to Ciryl Gane in an interim heavyweight title fight in which he accomplished very little offensively.

It was a disappointing performance, but it also must be noted that in fighting Gane, he was facing arguably the most athletic and gifted heavyweight ever.

Gane’s movement and overall game were too much for Lewis, who spent most of his time fending off Gane and not attempting to land his massive strikes.

He returns to competition Saturday in the main event of UFC Vegas 45 when he takes on Chris Daukaus at Apex in a five-round heavyweight fight.

Daukaus, who is on a five-fight win streak that includes four in a row in the UFC, is a -135 favorite at BetMGM. Lewis is +115.

Daukaus is a well-rounded fighter who holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, but his last nine wins and 11 of his 12 career wins have been by knockout.

That’s the type of an opponent Lewis tends to do well against. If Lewis is able to connect with his hands, he more often than not will win the fight.

I thought the fight would be pick ’em because Daukaus is well-rounded and has been on a roll, and Lewis was doing well before running into Gane and he’s faced vastly better competition.

Former UFC heavyweight title challenger Derrick Lewis (25-9, 20 KOs) faces No. 7-ranked Chris Daukaus (12-3, 11 KOs) in the main event of Saturday's UFC Vegas 45. (Photos via Getty Images)
Former UFC heavyweight title challenger Derrick Lewis (25-9, 20 KOs) faces No. 7-ranked Chris Daukaus (12-3, 11 KOs) in the main event of Saturday's UFC Vegas 45. (Photos via Getty Images)

Lewis has fought both UFC heavyweight champions, Gane and Francis Ngannou, and has wins over Ngannou, Curtis Blaydes, Aleksei Oleinik, Alexander Volkov, Travis Browne, Roy Nelson and Ilir Latifi, among others. He’s also been in the cage with ex-champions Daniel Cormier and Junior dos Santos, so he’s seen the best the sport has to offer.

In 34 professional fights, Lewis has only been submitted once, by Cormier via rear-naked choke in a title match in 2018.

I like Lewis to win in this spot, particularly as an underdog. It’s by no means a slam dunk, but Lewis is talented, has faced better opposition and has the motivation of needing a win.

I might be tempted to play Lewis by KO or TKO, though BetMGM doesn’t have its props out at this point. So I’ll stick with Lewis at +115 to win.

Other betting plays for UFC Vegas 45

• I will lay the -245 and bet Stephen Thompson to win over Belal Muhammad, who is +200. Thompson’s style is difficult to figure out and he’ll confuse Muhammad enough that he’ll win.

• Darren Elkins faces Cub Swanson in an intriguing battle of hard-nosed veterans. Elkins is all but impossible to finish and has a motor that won’t quit. I’ll play Elkins at +165 to win over Swanson, who is a -200 favorite.

• Angela Hill has been one of the feel-good stories in the UFC over the last couple of years. She fights more than just about anyone and her fights are usually very close. But she’s lost three of her last four and you wonder if the magic is gone. She is a +310 underdog to Amanda Lemos, who is a -400 favorite. There is nothing in Lemos’ résumé to suggest she should be that big of a favorite, though I expect her to win. I will pass on the side, and will instead bet on this fight going the distance.