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UFC Vegas 68 preview: ‘Lewis vs. Spivac’ predictions

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is just one day away from the upcoming UFC Vegas 68 mixed martial arts (MMA) event, which is set to go down tomorrow night (Sat., Feb. 4, 2023) on ESPN+ from inside the promotion’s APEX facility in Las Vegas, Nevada, featuring a heavyweight main event between Top 15 title hopefuls Derrick Lewis and Serghei Spivac, a five-round headliner with serious title implications for 2023 and beyond.

LIVE! Stream UFC San Antonio On ESPN+

BLOCKBUSTER BANTAMWEIGHT CONTENDERS’ BOUT! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) departs APEX for a special “Fight Night” extravaganza at AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas, on Sat., March 25, 2023, featuring a pair of thrilling 135-pound bouts. Surging No. 4-ranked contender Marlon Vera goes for his fifth consecutive win when he takes on exciting finisher and No. 5-seeded Cory Sandhagen. In UFC San Antonio’s ESPN+-streamed co-main event, former women’s 135-pound champion and current No. 3-ranked Holly Holm battles Yana Santos (No. 4).

Don’t miss a single second of face-punching action!

Before we dive into the main and co-main events, which includes the light heavyweight collision between Devin Clark and Da-un Jung, check out Patrick Stumberg’s breakdowns for the UFC Vegas 68 preliminary card — which he wrote during the credits of Avatar 2 — by clicking here and here. In addition, in-house pro fighter Andrew Richardson covered the rest of the UFC Vegas 68 main card right here.

For the latest “Lewis vs. Spivac” odds and betting lines courtesy of our fiscal friends over at Draft Kings go here.

Let’s talk shop.

265 lbs.: Derrick Lewis vs. Serghei Spivac

Derrick “The Black Beast” Lewis

Record: 26-10, 1 NC | Age: 37 | Betting line: +195
Wins: 21 KO/TKO, 1 SUB, 4 DEC | Losses: 7 KO/TKO, 1 SUB, 2 DEC
Height: 6’3“ | Reach: 79” | Stance: Orthodox
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 2.57 | Striking accuracy: 50%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 2.57 | Striking Defense: 41%
Takedown Average: 0.60 (28% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 55%
Current Ranking: No. 7 | Last fight: Knockout loss to Sergei Pavlovich

Serghei “The Polar Bear” Spivac

Record: 15-3 | Age: 27 | Betting line: -230
Wins: 7 KO/TKO, 6 SUB, 2 DEC | Losses: 2 KO/TKO, 0 SUB, 1 DEC
Height: 6’3“ | Reach: 78” | Stance: Orthodox
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 3.79 | Striking accuracy: 51%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 2.96 | Striking Defense: 55%
Takedown Average: 4.09 (63% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 70%
Current Ranking: No. 12 | Last fight: Technical knockout win over Augusto Sakai

For the tenth time in his record-setting UFC career, heavyweight power puncher Derrick Lewis will serve as headliner in what could be his last hurrah as both a title contender and a marketable attraction. I don’t want to start up with all that “live by the sword” crap but Lewis built his entire career on the highlight-reel knockout, good enough for the UFC record at 13 and a staggering seven performance bonuses: three for putting on “Fight of the Night” and another four for knocking opponents stiff. You can believe there are plenty of UFC heavyweights both past and present who would trade careers with “The Black Beast” in a heartbeat, but we also can’t overlook the fact that Lewis is fairly one-dimensional and easily thwarted by superior strikers like Ciryl Gane and Junior dos Santos. In addition, the Texan’s exciting style loses some of its sparkle when paired with rough-and-tumble heavyweights who sport an iron jaw, like Blagoy Ivanov and Ilir Latifi. It’s feast or famine with Lewis and let’s just say “Beast” fans have been left starving over the last few years. Lewis, who’s inching closer to his 38th birthday, has dropped three of his last four, all by way of knockout. Whether that’s age, his tempermental back, or the wear-and-tear of slangin-n-bangin the last 12 years is unknown. What is known is that his opponent is here to make a statement.

Serghei Spivac came into the heavyweight fold with fairly high expectations after a ferocious run on the international circuit, where the Moldovan racked up nine straight wins with nine straight finishes, eight coming within the first round. Walt Harris would play spoiler in Spivac’s Octagon debut, ending their contest in less than a minute, but “The Polar Bear” rebounded with an upset victory over Tai Tuivasa, then captured five of his next seven. That includes two recent back-to-back technical knockout victories over the since-departed Greg Hardy and hot-and-cold heavyweight Augusto Sakai. His record remains impressive on paper, I just can’t overlook his struggles against Polish bruiser Marcin Tybura, or his one-sided beatdown at the hands (and feet) of top contender Tom Aspinall. Spivac works best when he controls the wrestling and not coincidentally, his finishes over Tuivasa and Sakai came in fights where he landed six takedowns each. I can’t imagine he would be dumb enough to stand and trade with Lewis when he holds the advantage in wrestling but something tells me there will be little respite in that department. When Lewis is healthy, and from the looks of his slimmer physique he appears to be, his agility saves him from perilous grappling exchanges. In addition, NJCAA national champion Curtis Blaydes was 0-3 on takedowns in their 2021 showdown.

When Lewis loses, he does so in a blaze of glory. “The Black Beast” has never lost a decision in UFC and I don’t expect him to start here. In addition, Spivac has to make it the full 25 minutes without eating a knuckle sandwich, something I find possible — but not plausible — based on the numbers Lewis has put up throughout his career. Perhaps if “The Polar Bear” had knockout power he would be better suited for victory; but he doesn’t, so when the takedowns don’t come the way he expects them to, he’s going to quickly realize there is no Plan B.

Prediction: Lewis def. Spivac by technical knockout

205 lbs.: Da-Un Jung vs. Devin Clark

Da-Un “Sseda” Jung

Record: 15-3-1 | Age: 29 | Betting line: -230
Wins: 11 KO/TKO, 2 SUB, 2 DEC | Losses: 1 KO/TKO, 1 SUB, 1 DEC
Height: 6’4“ | Reach: 78” | Stance: Orthodox
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 4.05 | Striking accuracy: 43%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 3.81 | Striking Defense: 54%
Takedown Average: 2.43 (61% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 88%
Current Ranking: Unranked | Last fight: Knockout loss to Dustin Jacoby

Devin “Brown Bear” Clark

Record: 13-7 | Age: 30 | Betting line: +195
Wins: 4 KO/TKO, 1 SUB, 8 DEC | Losses: 3 KO/TKO, 3 SUB, 1 DEC
Height: 6’0“ | Reach: 75” | Stance: Orthodox
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 2.94 | Striking accuracy: 55%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 2.86 | Striking Defense: 44%
Takedown Average: 2.30 (35% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 55%
Current Ranking: Unranked | Last fight: Technical knockout loss to Azamat Murzakanov

Devin Clark has been fighting under the UFC banner for nearly seven years and has yet to crack the Top 15 of the official light heavyweight rankings, which should pretty much tell you where the “Brown Bear” is at and where he’ll probably be going in the very near future. His record inside the Octagon is a mediocre 7-7 but he seems to win the right fights at the right time, and let’s face it, the promotion needs bodies to populate these neverending fight night cards. If you’re wondering why Clark, who is coming off a third-round technical knockout to Azamat Murzakanov last August, was booked for a co-headlining spot, remember that UFC Vegas 68 was originally UFC Seoul until Chan Sung Jung was yanked from the card. The lineup was subsequently shifted back to Las Vegas, bringing a bevy of Korean talent and a late night start time. It’s not unreasonable to think Clark was being fed to Da-Un Jung so that “Sseda” — which translates to “strong” in English — could have a big night and help send the fans home happy. I don’t think anyone stateside cares about Jung (or Clark for that matter) and that’s not me trying to be a dick, but neither fighter has done anything to get the fans talking.

In fact, there’s yet to be a single performance bonus from either of them.

Like Clark, the 29 year-old Jung is unranked and also coming off a tough loss, having been put out to pasture by Dustin Jacoby at UFC on ABC 3 last July. It was the first loss inside the Octagon for the hard-hitting Korean and left him standing at 4-1-1 since crossing over from the International circuit back in early 2019. One of the stats that sticks out for me in this fight is the fact that Jung scored eight takedowns in his unanimous decision win over William Knight in April 2021, which was just a few months before Clark was taken down eight times in a unanimous decision loss to Ion Cutelaba. Statistically speaking, Clark and Jung are fairly well matched both offensively and defensively, though it’s worth pointing out that “Brown Bear” will give up four inches in height and three inches in reach. Combine that with his shoddy takedown defense and I’m not sure where Clark wins this fight. He’s only had one knockout win over the last nine years and will be fighting a light heavyweight who has finished 13 of his 15 opponents. I think Jung opens up on his feet and eventually scores a takedown before ending this one via ground-and-pound.

Prediction: Jung def. Clark by technical knockout

Remember, the rest of the UFC Vegas 68 main card predictions are RIGHT HERE. will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 68 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN+ preliminary card bouts at 10 p.m. ET, followed by the ESPN+ main card start time at 1 a.m. ET (early Feb. 5).

To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 68 news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive here. For the updated and finalized “Lewis vs. Spivac” fight card and ESPN+ line up click here.

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