Promising heavyweight prospects Derrick Lewis and Francis Ngannou will get their chance to move up the ladder towards title contention after both have been offered, and accepted, high profile opponents for their next fights inside the Octagon.
Derrick Lewis has been handed a bout with perennial contender Travis Browne at UFC 208 in Brooklyn on February 11th next. Lewis comes into the bout on the back of a fourth round TKO of Shamil Abdurakhimov, a fight in which he was highly critical of his own performance describing it as the “terrible-ist” of his career.
— Guilherme Cruz (@guicruzzz) December 15, 2016
In his post-fight interview, Lewis indicated that he intended to call out either Mark Hunt or Travis Browne after the bout but he was going to “sit my ass down” after his lacklustre performance. However, it seems as though UFC matchmaker Joe Silva was listening and the bout has been made official for the UFC’s return to New York next year.
Nonetheless, Lewis has been impressive throughout the majority of his UFC run and the fight with top-ranked Travis Browne will go some way to establishing exactly where the ‘Black Beast’ belongs in the division.
Andrei Arlovski vs. Francis Ngannou at FOX UFC Fight Night in January. #UFCTonight
— Damon Martin (@DamonMartin) December 15, 2016
Francis Ngannou, meanwhile, is another who has been gathering a lot of column inches since making his UFC debut almost exactly a year ago. The Frenchman, while somewhat raw, is becoming a force of nature in the UFC’s heavyweight division and his first round submission of Anthony Hamilton at UFC Albany earlier this month enhanced his reputation considerably.
Standing opposite Ngannou in his next UFC bout will be former heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski — a fighter who will be looking to get his career back on track after three successive losses in the UFC.