An important heavyweight clash between Derrick Lewis and Chris Daukaus is this weekend’s UFC Fight Night 199 main event.
The event will take place at the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas, Nevada, this Saturday, December 18, and will be the final UFC fight card of 2021.
In the five-round main event, Lewis will attempt to get back in the win column after being defeated by Ciryl Gane in August. The new heavyweight title challenger stopped Lewis in round three by TKO and broke his four-fight win streak dating back to November 2019.
As for Daukaus, it’s his most significant fight yet and a step up the rankings after five consecutive wins as a professional and an undefeated record in the UFC after four fights. In 2021, Daukaus has secured wins against Shamil Abdurakhimov and Alexey Oleynik.
Read on for our Lewis vs Daukaus staff predictions and the latest betting odds before UFC Fight Night 199.
Lewis vs. Daukaus betting odds
- Lewis: +115
- Daukaus: –145
Lewis vs. Daukaus staff predictions
This fight is a very difficult one to call, especially over five rounds. Both men have the capability to knock one another out and in the same areas and range. The biggest difference is that Chris Daukuas pushes forward more and looks to lead into his power shots, he boxes mostly and mixes it up between wide and straight shots down the middle but the ladder tends to be crisper and garner more success.
Lewis on the other hand sometimes prefers to work on the backfoot, sometimes against the cage circling and allowing his opponents to chase him so he can lash out on the oncoming foe. This allows him to make already incredibly impactful strikes even more so.
This leads me to believe Daukaus will push the pace but as he does so, the danger that he finds himself walking into Lewis is a threatening one. Lewis in the past has been susceptible to body kicks, which Daukaus should look to make use of, especially his front thrust kick. Watch for Daukaus to lead the dance putting him ahead on the scorecards, until one of them finds the finishing blow.
The other variable that remains to be seen is how the difference in experience manifests in the later rounds. While Lewis in the past has shown to gas late, he has made strides in this department since and Daukaus is yet to get into the third round let alone the potential fifth in his UFC career.
I think that with fights like these, where both men have the great equalizing punching power, there’s always more of an element of chance than in other matchups. Daukaus should get ahead on points early on, but because Lewis can do so much off the back foot we may see a more patient Daukaus than usual anyway. Plus, as we get into the late rounds I favor the more experienced man in Lewis to take control of Daukaus in new territory but through all 25 minutes, both men have to be extremely careful because it just takes one punch from either side.
Prediction: Derrick Lewis by late KO
An undefeated record and four-fight win streak in the UFC has propelled the older Daukaus brother, Chris, to his first UFC main event. Daukaus has risen to #7 in the heavyweight division primarily behind his aggressive yet technical boxing. Daukaus moves fluidly and smoothly for a man of his size. He uses his mobility to keep opponents on their heels as he often pressures forward. Unlike other heavyweights who stalk forward with little regard for their own well-being, Daukaus keeps a high guard and cuts sharp angles to help him evade big shots. He has an incredibly high positive significant strike differential, 9.03 landed to only 3.4 absorbed. In a division littered with enormous power, the ability to land nearly 3x as many strikes as your opponent is a significant advantage. While Daukaus has the cardio, output, and mobility of a smaller fighter, he still has the power of top-ranked heavyweights. 11 of his 12 wins have come by knockout, many of them in the first round. Overall, Daukaus is a unique breed in the heavyweight division, combining impressive hand speed, expert footwork, a high motor, and thudding power.
Lewis shares one key characteristic with Daukaus; but, beyond that, his style is drastically different. Lewis, similarly to Daukaus, has real power. Lewis might have the second-best power, behind Ngannou, in the entire division. 20 of his 25 wins have come by knockout. He has demonstrated a strange yet entertaining ability to be completely counted out of a fight, land one enormous shot, and rally back for a stoppage victory. Lewis is often in these rally-back situations because he is a patient counter puncher who often lets his opponent move forward, push him against the cage, and try to land for a round at a time. Lewis is content keeping a high guard against the cage, wrapping up in a clinch like a boxer, and then throwing a shot with everything he has when the clinch breaks. If that fails, Lewis will repeat the steps over and over. This approach has resulted in exciting and unexpected knockouts for Lewis; but, it has also caused him to lose 8 fights, often by finish. In fact, all of Lewis’ losses since 2011 have come by finish. With his high-end power and unique approach, Lewis is the definition of a fighter who is still viable so long as he is standing in the fight.
Betting a Lewis fight is challenging. He could be peppered and pressured for a knockout loss; or, he could land a huge shot that goes viral and we all get to enjoy another famous Lewis post-fight presser. I anticipate the former being the outcome Saturday. Daukaus’ technique, power, and defensive IQ should allow him to land on Lewis while evading the inevitable power counter. Then, somewhere in the second or third round, get another finish.
Prediction: Daukaus by KO/TKO
Chris Daukaus, brother of UFC middleweight prospect, Kyle Daukaus, is an ascending heavyweight that is set up to contend for the belt with a win over one of the most prolific heavyweights of all time, Derrick Lewis. Throughout Daukaus’ 4-0 UFC career, he has shown continual improvement inside the octagon. This improvement is causally related to his emphasis on implementing a well-rounded attack with fluid movement contrary to the more traditional heavyweight fighter that seeks to land a single punch to end the night. In his most recent fight against UFC veteran, Shamil Abdurakhimov, Daukaus used crisp striking with athletic movement on the feet to land his attacks. As the fight progressed, Daukaus stayed poised, knowing the finish will come from continually landing his punches. This poise proved effective, as Daukaus eventually landed a check-right hook that dropped Shamil; and then, Daukaus, having comfort fighting on the ground, decided to take the opportune position that enabled him to land ground and pound for the finish. This systematic progression to a finish resembles other weight classes more than the majority of fighters at heavyweight, thus, Daukaus can be considered a “modern heavyweight”, whereby he prioritizes athletic movement and output in lieu of power alone.
If Daukaus is the embodiment of the “modern heavyweight”, Lewis is the poster child of the “old-school heavyweight”. Lewis may possess the greatest one-punch power in the UFC outside of the current champion, Francis Ngannou. Knowing this, Lewis’ attacks are formulated to create opportunities to land his ever-dangerous right hand. Perhaps the best example of him doing so successfully was in his bout against perennial top 5 fighter, Curtis Blaydes. Blaydes is a wrestle-first heavyweight, so Lewis, knowing this, decided to set up his striking to take advantage of the shots Blaydes would inevitably shoot. Come the second round, Lewis wore a body strike, and rather than dusting it off, he decided to visibly show pain. This led to Blaydes rushing in for a takedown attempt. At this precise moment, Lewis threw a massive upper-cut against Blaydes that knocked him out in one punch. This brief summary of the fight illustrates two fundamental attributes of Lewis: one, he has severe one-punch power that can knock out the best of the best, and secondly, he knows how to land this one punch – 75% of his 16 wins coming by TKO/KO – even when his opponent understands this is his main, if not only, tactic. The impressive combination of one-punch power with an ability to land said punch is the cornerstone of why Lewis is not only one of the most popular fighters in the UFC, but also, a fighter who has fought in the UFC for 7 years and has fought for the belt twice.
Heavyweight bouts are perhaps the most difficult to predict given the severe power threat that most, if not all, men possess which can drastically alter the direction and outcome of the fight. Although I anticipate Daukaus sticking and moving throughout the fight to stay away from the right hand, Lewis is someone who is truly just one punch away from winning. Even though this fear of the one-punch is apparent within this bout, I prefer to back the fighter who is more athletic, has the greater output on the feet, and ultimately, will look to be winning the fight compared to choosing to bet the fighter whose main method of winning is via the right hand.
Bet: Daukaus to win
Braeden Arbour is an aspiring journalist out of Ontario, Canada. He is a recent graduate of Trent University, with a black belt in Karate and a blue belt in Judo. He has also been an avid fan of MMA for the last decade.
Michael Pounders is a high school English Teacher, a boxer himself, and is a fan who loves, gambles on, and nerds out about all things MMA.