Preview: UFC on ESPN 56 ‘Lewis vs. Nascimento’

UFC
May 10, 2024
The Ultimate Fighting Championship will get back on the road for a second straight week with UFC on ESPN 56 this Saturday at the Enterprise Center in St. Louis.

The headliner may be a bit underwhelming, but a deep main card provides some backup with some interesting bouts. Joaquim Buckley politicked for a spot on his hometown show, and he draws a high-risk low-reward matchup against Nursulton Ruziboev in the co-feature. Right past that sits a fascinating clash between potential light heavyweight contenders in Alonzo Menifield and Carlos Ulberg. The rest of the bills sees some rising talents get some big tests. Featherweight Sean Woodson looks for a breakthrough win against Alex Caceres, lightweight Mateusz Rebecki looks to continue his upward trajectory against Diego Ferreira and high-upside heavyweight prospect Robelis Despaigne looks to make a statement against Waldo Cortes-Acosta.

Now to the UFC on ESPN 56 “Lewis vs. Nascimento” preview:

Heavyweights

#12 HW | Derrick Lewis (27-12, 18-10 UFC) vs. #15 HW | Rodrigo Nascimento (11-1, 4-1 UFC)

ODDS: Lewis (-148), Nascimento (+124)

He’s firmly out of the heavyweight title picture at this point, but there’s still a solid chance that Lewis can end this card with a bang. Debuting with the UFC in 2014, “The Black Beast” initially looked like the type of glass cannon that can quickly rise through the heavyweight ranks but disappear just as fast. He looked impressive and showed off some charisma in knockouts of Jack May and Guto Inocente but turned right around into a skid against Matt Mitrione and Shawn Jordan. Lewis then turned things around with six straight wins, aided by a clear shift in philosophy. Rather than hunt for the knockout, Lewis learned to stay calm and wait for his spots to strike, particularly since opponents who attempted to outwrestle him usually exhausted themselves trying to move around such a large man. That worked up until a 2017 loss to Mark Hunt, after which Lewis briefly retired before returning for a breakout 2018 campaign. The less said about his win over Francis Ngannou the better, but Lewis made the most of his platform on the gigantic UFC 229 card a few months later. After a knockout of Alexander Volkov, Lewis took off his pants, proclaimed that his “balls was hot” and made himself a star. The UFC struck while the iron—and balls—was hot and quickly turned Lewis around for an unsuccessful title shot against Daniel Cormier. From there, Lewis hung around as a viable contender, getting hurt but not broken until an interim title fight loss against Ciryl Gane in 2021. The wheels finally seemed to start falling off for Lewis in 2022, particularly since he was back to hunting for knockouts, only to get finished first. However, among a string of four losses in five fights, he did obliterate Marcos Rogerio de Lima in just 33 seconds, and that fight could’ve been stopped much earlier. His November loss to Jailton Almeida did at least see him survive for five rounds against one of the division’s best grapplers, so there is some juice left in the tank per heavyweight standards, making this far from a walkover for a rising Brazilian in Nascimento.

Nascimento’s a relatively anonymous main eventer, even if “Ze Colmeia” has done a solid job of working up the heavyweight rankings since his 2020 UFC debut. Nascimento’s main strengths upon hitting the Octagon were his wrestling and grappling—always tools that can make a lot of hay in the heavyweight division—but he’s developed a solid if unexciting striking game in the ensuing years, sometimes even winning fights solely on the feet. It’d serve Nascimento well to revert back to his old approach and blow through the glaring weaknesses in Lewis’ game by taking him to the mat, but even if he does so, this isn’t a guaranteed win. Nascimento’s submission finishing has dried up as he’s moved up the ladder, and this has a solid chance of playing out like a classic Lewis fight where he scores a late finish after spending a ton of time wearing out his opponent on the mat. Especially coming off the Almeida fight, the read is that Lewis can survive whatever potential trouble comes on the mat, and Nascimento doesn’t look capable of keeping up that game plan consistently for five rounds. The pick is Lewis via second-round knockout.

Reference: https://www.sherdog.com/news/articles/1/Preview-UFC-on-ESPN-56-Lewis-vs-Nascimento-193622

More news

EVENTS / FIGHTS
Jun
1
2024
UFC 302
Makhachev vs. Poirier
Jun
8
2024
UFC ON ESPN 57
Cannonier vs. Imavov
Jun
15
2024
UFC ON ESPN 58
Perez vs. Taira
Jun
22
2024
UFC ON ABC 6
Whittaker vs. Chimaev
Jun
29
2024
UFC 303
McGregor vs. Chandler
Jun
8
2024
PROFESSIONAL FIGHTERS LEAGUE
PFL Europe 2: 2024 Regular Season
Jun
13
2024
PROFESSIONAL FIGHTERS LEAGUE
PFL 4: 2024 Regular Season
Jun
21
2024
PROFESSIONAL FIGHTERS LEAGUE
PFL 5: 2024 Regular Season
Jun
28
2024
PROFESSIONAL FIGHTERS LEAGUE
PFL 6: 2024 Regular Season
Aug
2
2024
PROFESSIONAL FIGHTERS LEAGUE
PFL 7: 2024 Playoffs
Jun
7
2024
ONE CHAMPIONSHIP
One 167: Stamp vs. Zamboanga
Jul
5
2024
ONE CHAMPIONSHIP
One on Prime Video 24
Aug
2
2024
ONE CHAMPIONSHIP
One on Prime Video 25
Sep
6
2024
ONE CHAMPIONSHIP
One 168: Denver
Jun
1
2024
UFC 302
Makhachev vs. Poirier
Jun
7
2024
ONE CHAMPIONSHIP
One 167: Stamp vs. Zamboanga
Jun
8
2024
PROFESSIONAL FIGHTERS LEAGUE
PFL Europe 2: 2024 Regular Season
Jun
8
2024
UFC ON ESPN 57
Cannonier vs. Imavov
Jun
13
2024
PROFESSIONAL FIGHTERS LEAGUE
PFL 4: 2024 Regular Season