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The last time Derrick Lewis was at Madison Square Garden, he challenged Daniel Cormier for the Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight belt. On Nov. 2, he will be making a return to the historic arena as he faces the surging Blagoy Ivanov at UFC 244. The Bulgarian is on a two-fight winning streak and will look to ascend the rankings by beating Lewis. Learn more about the two heavyweights through the numbers below.
Active winning streakAfter beating Marcin Tybura, Francis Ngannou and Alexander Volkov in succession, Lewis dropped his last two fights to Daniel Cormier and Junior dos Santos. While there is nothing to be ashamed of in losing to those two former heavyweight titleholders, what is worrisome is the fact that Lewis was stopped on both occasions, adding a little pressure for him to win decisively this time out. He was submitted by Cormier at UFC 230 and then starched by dos Santos at UFC Fight Night 146.
For Ivanov, it’s the exact opposite. Since losing to dos Santos at UFC Fight Night 133, he has racked up two straight wins, decisioning Ben Rothwell at UFC Fight Night 146 and Tai Tuivasa at UFC 238. A win over the no. 5 Lewis should help him to rise higher than his current no. 8 ranking.
Knockout rateWhen Lewis is in the cage, you can rest assured that a knockout is highly likely, and most likely with him doing the knocking out. That’s been the case for 86 percent of his career victories. In all, he owns 18 wins via KO or TKO, with a list of victims that includes Volkov, Tybura, Gabriel Gonzaga, Travis Browne and Jared Rosholt.
Ivanov also possesses power in his hands, but unlike Lewis he is more dynamic in his approach, as the statistics indicate. The former Professional Fighters League heavyweight king brings with him six wins by KO or TKO, which makes for a 33 percent knockout rate. His most prominent victim is former UFC heavyweight champion Ricco Rodriguez, whom he defeated in a Russian event called Chekhov MMA Tournament.
Submission rateApart from being a black belt in judo, Ivanov also possesses an International Master of Sports in sambo. The Bulgarian heavyweight is submission-savvy and owns as many knockout victories as he does submissions. That’s a 33 percent submission rate as opposed to Lewis’ meager five percent. “The Black Beast” has recorded only one victory by tapout, over Rakim Cleveland at an event called Worldwide Gladiator.
Career lossesOut of 29 pro fights, Lewis has lost seven times. Apart from dos Santos and Cormier, he also bowed to Mark Hunt, Matt Mitrione, Tony Johnson and Shawn Jordan twice. He was stopped by dos Santos, Cormier, Hunt, Mitrione and Jordan.
Ivanov has only lost twice and he has only been stopped once in his career. He was submitted by Volkov at Bellator 120 and decisioned by dos Santos, as previously mentioned, at UFC Fight Night 133.