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UFC Vegas: Lewis vs Spivac - Feb 4 🇺🇸


wandshogun09

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You know the score. Another Saturday at the Apex 🥱 

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ESPN MAIN CARD
Derrick Lewis vs Sergey Spivac

Da Un Jung vs Devin Clark 

Marcin Tybura vs Blagoy Ivanov 

Doo Ho Choi vs Kyle Nelson 

Yusaku Kinoshita vs Adam Fugitt 

ESPN+/FIGHT PASS PRELIMS
Anshul Jubli vs Jeka Saragih - Road To UFC Lightweight Final

Jeong Young Lee vs Yi Zha - Road To UFC Featherweight Final

Toshiomi Kazama vs Rinya Nakamura - Road To UFC Bantamweight Final

Seung Guk Choi vs Sung Hyun Park - Road To UFC Flyweight Final

Jun Yong Park vs Denis Tiuliulin 

Tatsuro Taira vs Jesus Aguilar 

 

Crikey. I might be being overly harsh, maybe those ‘Road To UFC’ fighters are little beasts and we just don’t know it yet. But just looking at this card, it’s got to be one of the weakest Fight Night cards we’ve had in years. We’ve had worse main events but I’m not sure how many cards we’ve had that were as shallow looking as this overall. Even at the Apex. This was initially supposed to be in Korea and be headlined by Korean Zombie’s farewell fight. Zombie got injured and that’s apparently scuppered the whole thing and the UFC changed plans. Oddly though, this is still gonna be on at a Korean friendly time so we’re looking at a 6AM START TIME for the main card! Yeah fuck that. 

 

 

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Derrick Lewis vs Sergey Spivac tops the bill. A second attempt to get this fight in the cage. Not the best headliner, not the worst. Not the best Heavyweight fight, definitely not the worst. Love the Beast and I don’t mind Spivac. It’ll do. Quite like this actually. Although not so much from the standpoint of being a Lewis fan. I think this could be another bad result for him sadly but we’ll see how it goes. They were originally set to square off in the Apex back in November…

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It got right to the eleventh hour, literally the show was underway, and the word came down that Lewis had withdrawn due to “non-COVID, non-weight cutting related illness”. I’m gonna hazard a guess that either his balls were hot again or he needed a humongous shite that wasn’t gonna be a quick squat and drop job. Either way, it was a weird one. I don’t think the actual reason for him pulling out of the fight was ever confirmed but I think it was the first time in UFC history that a main event has had to be binned while the show is actually going on. Anyway, it’s back on. Back in a headline spot and back at the shitty Apex. I don’t wanna jinx it but I’d be pretty amazed if this needs the full 5 rounds. I’ll be a bit surprised if it goes past 2 rounds, to be honest. And hopefully it doesn’t because Heavyweight fights that go longer than 10 minutes are rarely much fun to watch.

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The ‘Black Beast’ badly needs a win here. He had an awful 2022. He got knocked out and faceplanted by a big elbow from Tai Tuivasa in February. Then in July he was stopped in just 55 seconds by Sergei Pavlovich. There were cries of ‘early stoppage’ in that one but, either way, he was hurt and it looked like it was only going one way. To rub salt in the wounds, these losses both came in big Derrick’s home state of Texas. No homefield advantage for the big man. Love Lewis though. One of my favourite fighters on the roster these days and it’s not even so much for his fighting, more his personality. It’s been shite seeing him losing back-to-back fights, especially in the manner they ended. But truth be told, he’s never been quite good enough to hang at the absolute top level in the division. He is good and at times I actually think he’s a bit underrated and kind of dismissed as just a ‘character’. But he’s better than he lets on. He’s beat some quality names over the years and that doesn’t just keep happening by accident. But it’s clear as day where his ceiling is. It’s not like it’s a deep division and he’s better than most at HW but whenever he steps in with that little cluster of top tier Heavyweights, the gulf in skills is clear. Still one of the most popular fighters on the roster easy though. People love him. He turns 38 a few days after this show. That’s not so old by Heavyweight standards but I fear we might’ve seen the best of him now and it’s all gonna be downhill from here. I hope he’s still got a few big knockouts and moments in him but he’s had a lot of rough fights and taken a fair bit of damage over the years. You can’t keep getting whacked by 20st men for a prolonged period of time without the wheels falling off eventually.

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Spivac is not only younger, fresher and with less miles on him, on paper he’s also got a style that could potentially give Lewis fits. He’s 28 years old and has a record of 15-3 and 13 finishes. Standout wins include a submission over Tai Tuivasa in 2019, a decision over Alexey Oleynik and in his last couple of fights he got TKO finishes over Greg Hardy and Augusto Sakai. Here’s him battering Hardy, just because it’s always worth seeing again…

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☺️

So yeah, he’s been operating on a much lower level than Lewis. No doubt about that. Lewis has been in with nearly all the top players in the division. He’s done fairly well at times, not so well others, but has even beat a few of them. But like everything in life, timing is important and I just feel like Spivac might be catching Lewis at the perfect time. He’s in a bit of a slump, he’s taken a lot of knocks and he’s getting up in age. And Spivac is coming in confident and has the kind of grappling that could cause Lewis real issues. Lewis has shown a weird ability to ‘just get up’ at times when he’s been taken down in the past. And if you’re trying to grapple him, you’ve always got to be mindful of possibly ducking into that horrible uppercut he flattened Curtis Blaydes with. But if Spivac can get the takedowns going, even if Lewis gets up a few times I think it’ll do its job of wearing him down. And as much as I like Lewis, we’ve seen what happens when he starts getting frustrated and disillusioned in fights. I’d love to see Lewis get back in the win column here, and I’m certainly not counting him out. Spivac’s shown himself to be susceptible to the early KO a couple of times in the past (see the Tom Aspinall and Walt Harris fights). I can definitely see a scenario where Lewis clobbers him early. But I’ve got a gut feeling Spivac is gonna make this a miserable night for him, drag him about for a couple of rounds, soften him up then stop a demoralised Lewis in the middle rounds. Hope I’m wrong. I don’t even dislike Spivac but I hope he eats canvas in this one.

 

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Da Un Jung vs Devin Clark. Ugh. Might be alright. I vaguely remember Jung being generally quite entertaining to watch and looking up his record to refresh my memory backs that up. He’s 15-3-1 with 13 finishes, 11 by knockout. Knocked out Kennedy Nzechukwu in a round in 2021 but got sat down in a round by Dustin Jacoby in his last fight. Live by the sword, die by the sword. He’s never going far but he’s rarely involved in anything boring as far as I recall. Clark’s going nowhere. Never particularly rated him and for the longest time I saw him as one of those guys who’s a good athlete but never really liked to get into a fight. He’s proven me wrong a couple of times in recent fights though and shown he’s double tough. Unfortunately he’s just not that good. He’s had a mega patchy run in the UFC and comes into this one off a TKO loss against Azamat Murzakanov in August. Not a terrible matchup but looks well out of place in the co-main spot as it currently stands. Even for an Apex card this shouldn’t be that high up the bout order.

 

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Marcin Tybura vs Blagoy Ivanov is doing very little for me. Like most of the fights on this card, it’s two guys who aren’t bad fighters but it just feels like a completely nothing happening pairing thrown together for the sake of it. Tybura’s 37 with a record of 23-7. In fairness to him, he’s on a decent little run. He’s won 6 of his last 7 and has wins over the likes of Andrei Arlovski, Stefan Struve, Sergey Spivac, Ben Rothwell and Walt Harris. Not a who’s who but it’s not bad. He put a temporary halt to the Alexandr Romanov hype train in his last fight as well. Like I say, he’s a solid enough Heavyweight but he’s one of those guys who you watch and then forget he exists as soon as it’s over. Nothing memorable seems to happen. Ivanov has become much the same as well. He’s got an interesting story. Beat Fedor in a Sambo competition back when Fedor was on top of the MMA world. He had a fight with Ilir Latifi early in his career that ended in a No Contest when they broke the bastard ring. And he came back from being stabbed and almost dying and went on to return and have decent runs in Bellator and WSOF. He’s been dull as shit in the UFC though. Six fights, six decisions and I don’t think I enjoyed one of them. Can see this being a right slog.

 

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Doo Ho Choi vs Kyle Nelson is ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** here. Not much to choose from at all but the ‘Korean Superboy’ is back and I think it deserves highlighting. We haven’t seen him since 2019. To be honest I assumed he must be doing his mandatory military service or something but apparently he’s just been shagged by injuries. He’s 31 now, far from on the scrapheap, but he could do with making up for lost time. Who knows how he’ll look after 3 years away? Especially in a division like Featherweight. It’s not like he’s coming back in a shallow weight class, 145 is full of killers. And Choi wasn’t on the best of form when he last fought either. He was on a 3 fight losing streak and got stopped by Jeremy Stephens and Charles Jourdain in his last two fights. The fight people are always gonna associate him with though, is the FOTY with Cub Swanson in 2016.

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A mental 15 minute barnburner that has since been put into the Hall Of Fame. I think a rewatch of that is due, I don’t think I’ve seen it since around the time of the fight. It’s a shame this card isn’t still in Korea as originally planned. Choi making his return with the big homecoming would’ve been cool. But maybe it’ll be a blessing in disguise and take some of the pressure off him. It’s been a hell of a layoff. Nelson’s no world beater and he’s not an insurmountable task for Choi to overcome. He’s a tough scrappy guy from what I remember though. He’s coming off losses to Billy Quarantillo and Jai Herbert but he’s obviously been more active than Choi. We’ll see. It’d be nice if the Superboy can return with a win though. I just hope it’s a fun fight really. This card needs a few of these fights to deliver and this probably seems the safest bet for that but who knows what we’re getting from Choi at this point?

 

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Yusaku Kinoshita vs Adam Fugitt. Don’t know. Never heard of Kinoshita. Looking him up he’s 22 years old with a 6-1 record and all his wins coming inside the distance. He’s coming off a TKO win on DWCS in August. Not a bad start at all. I’ve only seen Fugitt once and he came in on short notice and got beat up by Michael Morales. That was his UFC debut and a far from ideal one. Mightn’t have been a true reflection of his skills either. He’s 8-3 with 7 finishes. Not a clue how this goes but Kinoshita is 12 years younger and a finisher so they’ve probably set this up with a showcase for him in mind. Whether that’s how it plays out remains to be seen.

 

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Jun Yong Park vs Denis Tiuliulin. Feel like a stuck record but, again, it’s just there. I like Park. I’ve got time for the ‘Iron Turtle’. He’s usually in entertaining scraps and I remember loving his losing effort against our boy Gregory Rodrigues a while back. That’s Park’s only loss in his last 6 fights as well. He’s 15-5 now and coming off a submission win over Joseph Holmes in October. But Tiuliulin as the opponent isn’t grabbing my interest. This is the problem with this card, and a lot of these Apex shows in general, a lot of times there are fighters you like on the cards but they’re matched with opponents you’ve either never heard of or you’re indifferent to. Tiuliulin is 10-6-0-1 and coming off a TKO over Jamie Pickett in September. Before that though, he got choked by Aliaskhab Khizriev in his UFC debut. Don’t know what to make of him but hopefully Park can drag him into a bit of a slugfest.

 

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Tatsuro Taira vs Jesus Aguilar is one of the only fights on this card that I’d say is worth going out of your way to see. So what do they do? Bury it in the curtain jerk position. Taira looks promising so far. He turns 23 just before this card and he’s undefeated at 12-0 with 9 finishes and I’ve thought he’s looked really impressive in his first two Octagon appearances. He schooled Carlos Candelario to a decision in his UFC debut in May, then submitted CJ Vergara in October. Obviously there’s a long way to go and a ton of questions to be asked as he goes up in levels of opposition. But I’ve liked the little I’ve seen so far. For someone so young, he’s looked really composed and relaxed under the bright lights. I’m not familiar with Aguilar but he sounds like a good opponent. He’s 26 years old and 8-1 with 6 submissions. His last loss was his MMA debut so he’s on an 8 fight streak, he’s gone into a 5th round before and he’s coming off a submission win on DWCS in August.

 

 

Not gonna bother previewing the ‘Road To UFC’ stuff. I don’t know any of the fighters, I didn’t follow any of the show and frankly I can’t be arsed to do any research. Hopefully they’ll throw up some pleasant surprises. Don’t know how much of this I’ll end up watching. No way I’m getting up at 6am for the main card and certainly not 3am for the prelims. Guessing Lewis vs Spivac should be in the cage around 8:30ish UK time so I might catch that live and just skim back through the rest. 

😴💤

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Edited by wandshogun09
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Yeah, I think I saw the same picture you’re on about.

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Fuck knows. I didn’t take much notice at the time. I just thought back to all those Roy Nelson fights years ago where you’d see pictures of him looking slimmer in the buildup, only for him to turn up looking his same old roly poly self on fight week. Lewis definitely looks in better nick in that photo you’ve posted though. I’m just not sure how much it’s gonna matter now. It feels like a case of ‘too little, too late’ really. This one is winnable. Him and Spivac is about 50/50 to me. But beyond that, I think he’s already peaked and it’s probably all gonna be downhill from here sadly. Hope I’m wrong.

Shite card but it’ll probably work out quite nicely for us, getting up on Sunday morning and catching the main event live. It’s just really crap foreplay before the good stuff next week with Makhachev vs Volk. 

Edited by wandshogun09
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14 hours ago, wandshogun09 said:

Sodiq Yusuff’s card breakdown here might genuinely end up being the best thing about this whole show.

 

😅 Fuck I'll have to follow him after that. Had no idea he was a smart arse, funny bastard. 

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sometimes it only takes a 17 second weigh in video to convince me to watch a fight, i'm such a sucker for this stuff:

 

tremendous work.

The other Road to the UFC fight I have my eye on is the Nakamura/Kazama fight. Nakamura is 6-0 and one of the top freestyle wrestlers from Japan. Ilistened to a couple of previews and he'll come out aggressive and try get this thing done early, sounds a real prospect:

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aye, sign me up

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Yeah them ‘Road To UFC’ fights are the x-factor on this card. I don’t know enough about them to say I’m genuinely that invested but I’ll give them a bash. If those fights deliver this could actually be a strong card. It’s at least giving me hope seeing those four fights are in the ‘good divisions’ of 155 and under. Not like we’re being subjected to unknown Heavyweights and 205ers most likely shitting the card up.

Oh and another reason to like Sodiq Yusuff, a UFC fighter who’s not a sad bastard Andrew Tate fan? Win! Randy Brown as well. 

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Edited by wandshogun09
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2 minutes ago, Dai said:

After seeing those pics of Lewis in this thread, he's surprisingly still weighed in at 265 for this one. Couldn't see a huge difference in his physique either on the scales. 

I’m telling you it’s the old Roy Nelson effect. Fucker’s been catfishing us for weeks. 

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