UFC 247 free fight: Derrick Lewis batters Marcin Tybura to kick off 2018 title charge

Derrick Lewis displayed his power in full force when he started his 2018 campaign for a heavyweight title shot with a crowd-pleasing finish.

After having his six-fight winning streak snapped at the hands of Mark Hunt, Lewis (22-7 MMA, 13-5 UFC) looked to rebound when he faced Marcin Tybura in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 126 in Austin, Texas, on Feb. 18, 2018.

Early in Round 1, Lewis was able to use his full force by pushing Tybura down to the mat. After controlling top position, Lewis tried to latch on to Tybura’s back as he made his way up, but ended up losing his position and his footing and ended up on the bottom.

Tybura was easily able to transition to full mount, then take Lewis’ back. But Lewis shook him off and met him with a big right hand that sent him back to the canvas. Tybura smartly reversed position on the mat to end up in full mount as the round came to a close.

In Round 2, Tybura took things straight back to the mat and achieved dominant positions once again as he took Lewis’s back, then transitioned to full mount. Once again, however, the Houston native was able to survive Tybura’s grappling attack and took the fight into the final round.

With the words of his corner still ringing in his ears, Lewis started the final frame knowing he needed a finish. Tybura came out pressing forward, and proceeded to clinch and work for a takedown. A visibly tired Lewis defended well and managed to gain separation before unloading with a powerful combination that rocked Tybura. He then finished him in dramatic fashion to secure a thrilling come-from-behind victory.

The victory put Lewis back in the win column in a big way and kickstarted a run of form that saw him defeat Francis Ngannou and Alexander Volkov to earn a shot with then-UFC heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier.

The title fight didn’t go Lewis’ way, however, and after his submission loss, he was stopped by former champion Junior Dos Santos. He avoided a three-fight losing skid by narrowly edging Blagoy Ivanov at UFC 244 and now will look to kick off another winning streak by welcoming Swedish veteran Ilir Latifi to the heavyweight division at UFC 247, which takes place Saturday at Toyota Center in Houston. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and early prelims on UFC Fight Pass/ESPN+.

Ahead of that fight, check out the video above to watch Lewis’ “Performance of the Night” finish over Tybura.