UFC heavyweight star Derrick Lewis had an MRI on Feb. 12 to find out what was happening with his knee. Then he got a second opinion.
Lewis (21-7 MMA, 12-5 UFC) did not want to withdraw from a UFC on ESPN+ 4 headliner against ex-champ Junior Dos Santos (21-5 MMA, 15-4 UFC), going against his coach Bob Perez’s advice.
“I was like, ‘Dude, we’ve gotta pull,’” Perez told MMA Junkie Radio. “But Derrick’s like, ‘Hell no.’”
Perez guided his fighter forward to the best of his ability, but after a troublesome first round which saw Dos Santos hurt Lewis multiple times and nearly finish the fight with an agonizing body kick, coach Perez knew there was limited time before the injury became insurmountable.
“I didn’t know the extent of the injury in regards to his knee or his belly,” Perez said.
Still, the veteran coach at Houston’s Main Street Boxing and Muay Thai tried to light a fire under his charge, the same as he did in the midst of Lewis’ fight with Alexander Volkov at UFC 229 in October. After getting drilled for two-plus rounds by his Russian foe, Lewis delivered a shocking knockout punch with seconds to go.
It’s not the only time “The Black Beast” has rallied from serious danger. In an February 2017 fight with Travis Browne at UFC Fight Night 105, Perez said Lewis had two broken ribs before scoring a violent knockout finish.
This time, a come-from-behind miracle was not to be found. Dos Santos landed a thudding right hand that set the TKO finish in motion early in the second frame.
It was later reported that Lewis had suffered a torn meniscus, ACL and MCL prior to the fight. Perez declined to comment on the extent of the injury, but said a doctor’s appointment next week will determine the next steps for the heavyweight fan favorite.
But with a divisional record 17 octagon appearances since 2014, Perez said he would like to see Lewis take a rare layoff between fights.
“I would like him to rest,” Perez said. “To heal his mind, to heal his body, and get everything better.”
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
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