Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns (much) later tonight (Sat., Feb. 4, 2023) to stage UFC Vegas 68 from inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada, featuring a Heavyweight fight between Derrick Lewis and Serghei Spivac. Co-headlining the event will be a Light Heavyweight tilt between Devin Clark vs. Da-un Jung.
Lewis has seen better days inside the Octagon. The power-hitting big man is currently on a two-fight losing streak and has lost three of four overall, all by way of knockout. Now, the former UFC Heavyweight title contender is in a must-win situation ahead of his bout against Spivak. Much has been made about “Black Beast’s” weight, which is odd because he does fight at 265 pounds, but he has made the efforts to trim down and will be showing off a slimmer physique come fight night. Whether or not that helps him get back into the win column remains to be seen.
Spivak is going the other way in his career when compared to Lewis, winning two straight and is 5-1 over his last six fights and is currently ranked No. 12 (five spots behind “Black Beast”). Coming off back-to-back knockout wins, Spivak is determined to crack the Top 10 and get closer to a future title shot. And a win over Lewis helps in that department, but he can’t get ahead of himself here. Lewis is still as dangerous as they come when the fists start flying, so he will have to be on his toes to avoid getting caught. But, Spivak can crack, as well, so Lewis isn’t exactly the favorite if it remains a stand up war. Spivak is a bit cleaner with his punches, while Lewis has him covered when measuring power. It’s a tale as old as time when it comes to Heavyweights when describing potential outcomes, because one shot ends it all quicker than most divisions. The key here is to see who is quicker to the punch.
The late start time (10 p.m. ET “Prelims,” 1 a.m. ET main card) is a result of the promotion initially planning to stage this event in South Korea. But, after that went up in smoke, the promotion stayed with the same time schedule to allow Asian fight fans to enjoy the card, which features the “Road to UFC” finale matches. It’s not ideal for stateside fans, who will have to stay up pretty late if they want to catch all the action going into Sunday morning.
Original Card Vs. Actual Card:
A fight between Loma Lookboonmee and Elise Reed was pulled from this event for undisclosed reasons and will now take place at UFC 284 one week later.
No injuries reported for this event.
Yusaku Kinoshita will make his official UFC debut after earning a knockout win on Contender Series, facing off against Adam Fugitt in the opening fight of the main card. Fugitt is coming off a loss to Michael Morales in his own debut last summer.
In the “Road to UFC” Lightweight final, Anshul Jubli will put his 6-0 record against Jeka Saragih. Jubli has only two finishes on his mixed martial arts (MMA) record, but looks to build on that against a man who has two submission losses, his only two defeats. Saragih is currently on a five-fight win streak.
Yi Zha will face Jeong Yeong Lee in the “Road to UFC” Featherweight final. Zha is currently on a three-fight win streak and is 10-1 in his last 11 fights, scoring seven submissions along the way. Lee, meanwhile, has scored five stoppage wins on his current six-fight win streak.
In the Bantamweight finale, Rinya Nakamura battles Toshiomi Kazama. Nakamura is undefeated (6-0), while Kazama boasts an impressive 10-2 record with five submissions and three knockouts on his resume.
And in the Flyweight final, Hyun Sung Park will throw hands with Seung Guk Choi. Park is a blistering 7-0, winning all of his fights via stoppage, four in the first round. Choi, meanwhile, is no slouch himself with a 6-1 record along with two first-round knockouts.
Former Combate Global fighter, Jesus Aguilar, will put his eight-fight win streak on the line when he steps into the Octagon for the first time to face off against Tatsuro Taira, who is 2-0 with UFC and is overall enjoying an undefeated mark of 12-0 with six submissions and three knockouts.
How The ‘Prelims’ Look:
The other two fights filling out the undercard will be a women’s Flyweight fight between Mandy Bohm and Ji Yeon Kim. Bohm is in desperate need of a win because she has lost two in a row and a third straight loss won’t look good to UFC execs looking to make cuts. But, Kim needs it worse because she is on a four-fight win streak. We will talk more about her dire situation in the next section.
In the Middleweight division, Junyong Park will face off against Denis Tiuliulin. Park is a respectable 5-2 inside the Octagon, while Tiuliulin picked up his first win with the promotion in Sept. 2022 against Jamie Pickett after losing in his UFC debut against Aliaskhab Khizriev.
Who Needs A Win Badly:
Ji Yeon Kim’s run under the UFC banner has been a forgettable one. She has managed to rack up a dreadful 3-6 record in her five-year run and has lost four straight dating back to Aug. 2020. If she suffers her fifth straight defeat inside the Octagon against Mandy Bohm, it could almost certainly mean the end of the UFC road for her. All in all, it’s pretty much win or get sent packing against a tough UFC veteran.
Interest Level: 5/10
It’s not the most solid card, and when you take into consideration that all of the MMA focus this week has been on Fedor Emelianenko’s retirement fight against Ryan Bader at a stacked Bellator 290 event down the highway in Los Angeles, Calif., this event hasn’t gotten the most traction.
Co-headlining the event is a Light Heavyweight banger between Devin Clark and Da-un Jong. Clark is just 1-3 in his four fights with the promotion so a win — or at least a respectable performance — is of the utmost importance here. Jung, meanwhile, suffered his first loss in six years in his previous outing against Dustin Jacoby, so he is hungry to taste the all-too similar sensation of winning.
In another big man collision, Marcin Tybura will face off against Blagoy Ivanov. Tybura is doing very well for himself after winning six of his last seven fights in the Heavyweight division, which includes win over Greg Hardy and Ben Rothwell. Ivanov, on the other hand, recently snapped his two-fight losing streak with a win over Marcos Rogerio de Lima, so he definitely isn’t looking to get back into the losers column.
Dooho Choi returns after a three- year long layoff to the cage where he earned three first-round knockout wins in his first three fights. After that, however, things took a turn for the worse and has lost his last three. His opponent, Kyle Nelson, hasn’t fared all that much better, losing two straight and four of five overall in his UFC run. A loss would be disastrous for either man’s career.
Full UFC Vegas 68 Fight Card:
UFC Vegas 68 Main Event On ESPN+:
265 lbs.: Derrick Lewis vs. Serghei Spivac
UFC Vegas 68 Main Card On ESPN+ (1 a.m. ET on Feb. 5):
205 lbs.: Devin Clark vs. Da-un Jung
265 lbs.: Marcin Tybura vs. Blagoy Ivanov
145 lbs.: Dooho Choi vs. Kyle Nelson
170 lbs.: Adam Fugitt vs. Yusaku Kinoshita
UFC Vegas 68 ‘Prelims’ Card On ESPN+ (10 p.m. ET on Feb. 4):
125 lbs.: Seung Guk Choi vs. Sung Hyun Park – “Road to UFC” flyweight final
135 lbs.: Toshiomi Kazama vs. Rinya Nakamura – “Road to UFC” bantamweight final
145 lbs.: Jeong Yeong Lee vs. Yi Zha – “Road to UFC” featherweight final
155 lbs.: Anshul Jubli vs. Jeka Saragih – “Road to UFC” lightweight final
125 lbs.: Mandy Bohm vs. Ji Yeon KimCANCELED
125 lbs.: Jesus Santos Aguilar vs. Tatsuro Taira
185 lbs.: Junyong Park vs. Denis Tiuliulin
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 68 fight card right here, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 10 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance (also on ESPN+) at 1 a.m. ET.
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