LAS VEGAS -- In arguably one of the strangest fights in UFC history, heavyweight Derrick Lewis claimed a unanimous decision win over Francis Ngannou in the co-main event of UFC 226 on Saturday inside T-Mobile Arena.
The bout was promoted as a grudge match, and Lewis (20-5) actually shoved Ngannou (11-3) during a stare down on Friday -- but there was almost no action once the fight started.
Lewis won the fight via judges scores of 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28, despite landing only 20 total strikes, according to Fightmetric. Ngannou landed a total of 11.
Lewis, of Houston, appeared to be nursing a back injury and was hesitant to engage. He threw a couple of surprisingly athletic jumping switch kicks, but otherwise was looking to counter. The problem was, he had nothing to counter. Ngannou, who suffered a loss to Stipe Miocic for the heavyweight title in January, attempted just 46 strikes.
Originally of Cameroon, now fighting out of Las Vegas, Ngannou refused to engage with Lewis, despite pleas from his head coach John Wood. It's not as if he was trying to wrestle, either, as he made zero attempts to take Lewis down.
Considered the next big thing at heavyweight at the start of the year, Ngannou falls to 0-2 in 2018. Lewis, 33, improves to 8-1 in his past nine fights.
Perry takes split decision over Felder in bloody battle
Welterweights Mike Perry (12-3) and Paul Felder (15-4) put together an instant classic on the main card, with Perry ultimately claiming a narrow split decision win. Judges scored it in Perry's favor: 29-28, 29-28 and 28-29.
The action took off in a hurry, as the welterweights met in an early clinch and began throwing elbows and short punches. An accidental head-butt opened a small cut near Felder's hairline, which wouldn't be the last cut he suffered.
Perry slammed Felder in the second round, but Felder quickly got back to his feet. The fight played out almost entirely as a standup affair. Perry slammed a left hook into Felder's right temple late in the second round, opening a deep cut. Felder, who usually fights at lightweight, picked at him with kicks and elbows, but Perry's blows were more forceful.
According to Fightmetric, the total strikes were almost even. Perry landed 66, to Felder's 64.
For Perry, 26, it's his first appearance as a member of Jackson Wink MMA in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the same gym as former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. This matchup was put together on short notice, after Perry's original opponent, Yancy Medeiros, was forced off the card with injury.
Pettis puts on show, submits Chiesa in second round
Anthony "Showtime" Pettis (21-7) delivered one of his most impressive performances in recent years, as he submitted Michael Chiesa (14-4) via triangle armbar in the second round.
The finish came at the 52-second mark, shortly after Pettis hurt Chiesa with a right hand to the chin. After rocking Chiesa with the punch, Pettis jumped into a guillotine attempt, but lost his grip and ended up on the bottom. It looked like an opportunity for Chiesa to regain his composure, but Pettis quickly threw up a triangle attempt.
The lightweight fight nearly didn't happen, after Chiesa missed weight by 1.5 pounds on Friday. The two sides negotiated for hours, before Chiesa agreed to forfeit 30 percent of his purse. The 30-year-old has said he intends to move up to the welterweight division.
Pettis, of Milwaukee, picks up his first win of the year. This fight was originally scheduled to take place at UFC 223 in April, but Chiesa was forced off the card after he suffered injuries during Conor McGregor's attack of a UFC bus at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Rountree shocks Saki in first-round KO
Light heavyweight Khalil Rountree (7-2) knocked out professional kickboxing veteran Gokhan Saki (1-2) with a devastating straight left hand at 1:36 of the opening round.
After landing the initial shot, Rountree, of Las Vegas, calmly stood over Saki and landed a series of hard, standing hammerfists to finish the bout. For all intents and purposes, the bout was over long before those follow-up shots, however, as Saki was clearly out of it after the left hand.
Rountree was considered a slight underdog, but the result feels like a significant upset -- particularly with how decorated a kickboxer Saki is. It's the fifth knockout win of Rountree's career, and he improves to 3-2 in the UFC.
Smashing performance by unbeaten Costa
Paulo Costa came back from a second-round knockdown to remain undefeated by stopping Uriah Hall in a bad-blood middleweight fight, getting the TKO at 2:38.
The fight was halted twice in the first round after Costa landed low blows, but referee Mark Smith opted not to deduct a point. The scorecards ended up not mattering, though, because Costa (12-0) got off the canvas in Round 2 and went on the attack, hurting Hall (13-9) with a left hook and then face-planting him with a flurry that was punctuated by a body shot.
It was the fourth UFC win for Costa, all by knockout. The rising 185-pounder has his sights set on a title shot, saying afterward, "I go to the belt in a short time."
Assuncao in control once again
Raphael Assuncao had an answer for everything Rob Font threw his way as the Brazilian bantamweight cruised to his fourth win in a row and 11th in his past 12 bouts.
Assuncao (27-5) sat back and countered for much of the 15 minutes, building momentum as the fight wore on, winning 30-27 on all three scorecards.
Font (15-4) held up well, even when taken down in the final round, but could never get his offense rolling.