Two-division title holder Daniel Cormier is widely expected to handle Derrick Lewis as the two fight for the heavyweight championship in the main event of UFC 230 at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night.

Cormier Lewis UFC 230
Daniel Cormier will defend his UFC heavyweight championship against Derrick Lewis in the main event of UFC 230 on Saturday. (Image: Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

Cormier (21-1) last fought at UFC 226 in July, when he won the heavyweight title with a victory over Stipe Miocic. Meanwhile, Lewis (21-5) is coming off a fight less than a month ago at UFC 229, when he came from behind to knock out Alexander Volkov in the final seconds of their three-round bout.

One-Dimensional Lewis Could Still Pose Problems

At the time, Lewis said that he didn’t think he had the cardio to be given a title opportunity in a five-round battle. But that didn’t stop him from accepting the fight against Cormier on relatively little rest.

Lewis is a large fighter with knockout power, but most observers feel he’ll have a tough time dealing with an all-around champion like Cormier, who seems destined to go down as one of the greatest fighters in UFC history. Still, Lewis’ raw power is enough for any opponent to take him seriously, and his sheer size can cause even well-conditioned fighters to wear themselves out against him.

That’s why Cormier made it clear earlier this month that he has no intention to overlook his latest challenger.

“That’s one mistake we don’t make at the American Kickboxing Academy. Everybody is worthy,” Cormier told MMAjunkie. “And where’s the idea that this guy doesn’t deserve a title shot? This guy’s ranked No. 2 in the world. He just beat the No. 1 and 2-ranked guys in his last two fights…he’s won nine of his last 10 fights.”

Cormier has also promoted Lewis’ story, pointing out that in the course of his adult life he has gone to being jailed to being part of a heavyweight championship fight. But while Lewis doesn’t seem to have an issue with that framing, he also says that it’s not necessary in order to build interest in the fight.

“He felt like he needed to bring that type of stuff up for me to really try to sell this fight,” Lewis told MMAjunkie at the UFC 230 media day. “I prefer people don’t talk about me period, at all.”

While Lewis definitely has a chance of landing one big punch and finishing the bout at any point, there’s little doubt among bookmakers that Cormier is a worthy and overwhelming favorite. Bovada is listing Cormier at -700 to retain his title, while Lewis is a +450 underdog.

Weidman Looks to Rejoin Middleweight Title Picture

The co-main event at UFC 230 features a clash between top middleweight contenders, as No. 3 Chris Weidman (14-3) takes on No. 5 Jacare Souza (25-6). Initially, Weidman was set to fight a rematch against No. 2-ranked Luke Rockhold, but the match against Souza should still be high-profile enough to get the former middleweight champion back into the title picture.

“They told me that after this fight, I should be ready to go as a replacement in case someone gets injured between Whittaker and Gastelum,” Weidman told Yahoo Sports. “If nothing happens and they fight, then I’ll be fighting the winner.”

Of course, all of that is contingent on Weidman actually winning his fight. Bovada has Weidman (-190) as the favorite, though the 39-year-old Souza (+155) is still an extremely dangerous opponent even on the downside of his career.