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UFC 230: A feast for the Black Beast

Derrick Lewis of Houston will get his shot at a title. Harry How/Getty Images

On Nov. 3, the double champion Daniel D.C. Cormier takes on Derrick “The Black Beast” Lewis for the UFC heavyweight title at the famed Madison Square Garden.

Bet the house on black. Specifically, bet the house on Black Beast. Sure, Derrick “The Black Beast” Lewis opens as an 8-to-1 underdog in his fight against heavyweight champion Cormier. Sure, Cormier just knocked out the most dominant heavyweight champion in the history of the UFC. And sure, Lewis miraculously survived a fourteen minute beating just three weeks ago. Who cares? It doesn’t matter.Lewis is unstoppable.  Lewis is immovable. And against all odds, he’s proved time and time again that he Just. Can’t. Lose! (Except that time he lost).

Using the letter “H” as a tribute to Houston, the city Lewis so proudly represents, this writer will provide real and not-at-all satirical evidence to show how The Black Beast feasts on Nov. 3.

History

For Lewis, this fight is personal. Cormier and Lewis are no strangers. Behind the scenes at UFC 226, Lewis vowed to knock out  Cormier. The reason? Disrespecting the Black Beast’s sacred cow. Popeyes Chicken.

 

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The greatest fights in history come packaged with stories that can’t be matched by any film or novel. The Thrilla in Manilla. McGregor vs. Diaz. When these two fighters cross paths on that fateful night, their destinies will intertwine like a Popeyes mixed combo meal. Derrick Lewis vs. Daniel Cormier. Spicy vs. Plain. Warring in a contest to prove who’s breast- AND THIGH WILL BE DONE.

Heart

A beast isn’t known for its skill. It’s not known for its smarts. It’s known for its heart. And that’s what Lewis has. An enlarged heart. In each of his most notable wins, Lewis lands a spectacular KO, but not before getting beat up and exhausted first. He’s the first to admit he has cardio problems. But with heart the size of Lewis’, there’s simply no room for lungs.

How will heart factor into this fight? We simply need to analyze the last of either fighters’ bouts. Just three weeks ago, the Russian contender Alexander Volkov hacked away at Lewis like it was a U.S. presidential election. With seconds left into the fight, Lewis summoned his heart, and put a whoopin’ on a PutinCormier’s last fight? Moved up a weight class to KO then-heavyweight king within one round, extending his undefeated heavyweight streak while capturing a simultaneous belt. No heart whatsoever.

Heat

It’s a tale as old as time in Mixed Martial Arts: styles make fights. DC owns an Olympic medal in Wrestling, and can send heavyweights flying. Lewis’ grappling consists of… waiting to stand back up. Advantage: DERRICK LEWIS.

Lewis wins this match up flat out, as proved by sports science. In his fight against Volkov, Lewis scored a late knockout with seconds left to go. In his post-fight interview, Lewis famously dropped his shorts and declared to the world, “My balls was hot.”

Great balls of fire

As an accredited analyst, I must correlate the two: Derrick Lewis gets stronger as his balls get hotter. My professional prediction: Cormier outwrestles Derrick Lewis for four rounds, before Lewis’ balls reach a fiery temperature. Unable to clinch or grapple Lewis without being scorched, DC is forced to stand, and The Black Beast sends Cormier into retirement with one final Popeye's punch.

Official pick: Lewis via fifth round hot and spicy KO.

 

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Let him cook! Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

The Houston Rockets are in the midst of a rebuild. Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr are studs. KPJ just signed a four-year extension with the team. Other guys like Jabari Smith Jr, Kenyon Martin Jr, Alperen Sengun, Josh Christopher, Tari Eason, and Jae'Sean Tate are really good pieces to surround Green and KPJ with. The only issue with this group: they're REALLY young! Tate is the elder statesman at 27 of the young nucleus. Most are barely old enough to buy a drink. Some still aren't old enough! They're a bunch of green bananas waiting to turn yellow to slightly brown and be ripe enough for consumption.

We need to give it time. Just like bananas, they take time to ripen. Coach Stephen Silas is known for developing young players. His most prized student is the star player for that team in South Oklahoma up 45. Number 77 for that team credited Silas with helping him realize his All-Pro potential while Silas was a part of the coaching staff there. To a man, all his former players credit him with being a positive influence on their careers. So why are fans in a rush to get rid of him?

When you look at the Rockets' record over the last few years, it's gross. Sure, they've been a lottery team the last couple of seasons, but that was by design. As part of the Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook trades, they gave away pick swap rights. Had they not been that bad, they wouldn't have been able to draft Green or Smith Jr. Those two guys are building blocks for the future, along with KPJ. Giving those picks away would've put this team further down the totem pole of developing themselves into a contender. Losing pays off when you can hit on high lottery picks.

If you give a chef dirt, bread, ham, molded cheese, and spoiled mayo, can you expect anything else but a nasty ham sandwich? How about if the chef was given a steak that is almost rotten, potatoes with root growth, and spoiled butter? Could you expect a better meal than the sandwich? Yes! However, that meal may still cause a stomachache. Now, give said chef a full complement of gourmet groceries and guess what you'll get?

This is why I say let Silas cook. He's the perfect coach for this group of kids. He can teach them all the fundamentals of the game at this level and help them grow into their full potential. If there's a change to be made on the sidelines, move Silas into a front office role, but DO NOT get rid of him! Guys like him are too valuable. Why do you think Mark Cuban hated losing him, but knew he couldn't retain him because he had a head coach already? Cuban knew what he had in Silas and what Silas did for Luka Doncic. He can do something similar for the Rockets if given the time to work his magic.

Should Tilman Fertita find the need to move on, I'd look for a more experienced coach who can guide them from bottom of the playoff ladder into top four in the West and real contenders. For now, Silas is the head chef. Continue giving him the groceries he needs, and he'll continue giving these kids the lessons they need to develop. Changing the coach now could stunt their growth. Let him cook!

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