A heavyweight clash between Derrick ‘The Black Beast’ Lewis and Shamil Abdurakhimov will headline UFC Fight Night 102 in Albany, New York on December 9.
Lewis had originally been scheduled to fight Marcin Tybura in the co-main event at UFC Fight Night 97 in Manila this past weekend, however after main event star BJ Penn pulled out of his bout with Ricardo Lamas because of an injury, the whole card was scrapped.
Over the course of the last year, Lewis has been making a name for himself in the UFC’s heavyweight division, racking up four wins in a row.
Along the way he has taken out Viktor Pesta, Damian Grabowski and Gabe Gonzaga by either KO or TKO, and then most recently claimed his biggest triumph to date by earning a split decision win over Roy Nelson.
Now, the No.10 ranked contender will go up against Abdurakhimov, who is coming off back-to-back victories in the division against Anthony Hamilton and Walt Harris.
Given that he has been going up against more established fighters recently, this may be seen as a step down for Lewis, but it is still an opportunity for the 31 year old to headline an event for the first time in his UFC career.
Lewis recently spoke with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour regarding the cancelled card, and revealed that he was alerted of the news after being woken up with multiple missed calls from his manager: “They woke me out of my sleep. I had like missed calls from my manager, and he told me he had bad news. I thought my opponent got hurt or something like that. He broke it down to me and said the whole card got cancelled. And I was just pissed. I said, ‘are they still going to pay me?’ He said he don’t know, that we were going to talk about it this week.
“I said, there ain’t no talking about it, let me call Dana White or somebody to pay me, because I don’t already don’t like flying don’t make me come all the way over here for nothing. So we’re still waiting. I haven’t anything from nobody.”