Despite seven takedowns and more than four minutes in top control, "Big Country" Roy Nelson lost a split decision Thursday night to up-and-comer Derrick Lewis.
Lewis landed early kicks, knees and punches, before Nelson began his takedown onslaught. The knees looked to be an effective strategy until Nelson managed to take Lewis off his feet and mount him. Nelson stayed on top of Lewis for 4:13 seconds.
Nelson showed his durable chin and conditioning, despite his heavy frame, surviving several of Lewis' haymakers, including a big right hand near the end of the third round that looked like it would have knocked King Kong off his feet. The punch kicked Nelson's head back into the air, yet he stayed up, even smiled 15 seconds later when the bell rang.
Although Lewis never mounted Nelson, he did connect with 51 significant strikes against Nelson's four.
Nelson took down Lewis seven times, but wasn't able to do much once he had him down. Each time Lewis pushed to get back on his feet.
The judges scored the fight 29-28, 29-28 and 28-29 for Lewis.
"It is what it is," Lewis said in the post-fight interview. "The heart of the champion."
The Las Vegas crowd booed the decision. Nelson threw his head back and walked away after the decision was announced.
Lewis said he wants a rematch with Nelson to prove clearly that he is the better fighter.
(Image via MMAWeekly.com)