Feb 5, 2023
Since joining The UFC, Sergey Spivak has earned the respect of his peers and a top ten ranking in the heavyweight division. However, the one thing missing from his resume was a win over a marquee name to solidify his place among the elites in the weight class. On Saturday night, all of that changed with a dramatic first round submission victory over “The Black Beast,” Derrick Lewis. There’s a lot to unpack here; without further ado, let’s get into it!
Lewis vs. Spivak
In the opening minute of their main event bout, Sergey Spivak emphatically slammed Derrick Lewis to the mat. Seeing a man as big and powerful as Lewis being thrown around like a rag doll was astonishing, but Spivak was not done with the impressive exploits. He then managed to mount Lewis’ back and pummel him with a barrage of strikes. It was clear that the referee was considering stopping the fight, but he wanted to give Lewis time to recover because he is a respected veteran of the sport. However, Spivak eventually established a front-facing chokehold against Lewis which forced him to tap out.
While Spivak’s performance was impressive, the bigger surprise here was Lewis’ inability to compete. Spivak is in his physical prime and has already proven to be an elite heavyweight, even if his resume isn’t there yet. However, this was supposed to be a comeback fight for Lewis, who’d lost his two previous bouts. “The Black Beast” will always be fondly remembered and his knockout record may be enough to land him in the UFC’s Hall of Fame, but it is time for him to consider retirement. At 37-years-old, it appears his days of being able to compete with the best in the world are over. He’s had a remarkable career; there’s no shame in bowing out gracefully.
Jung vs. Clark
After losing three out of his last four bouts, Devin Clark was in desperate need of a victory in order to get his career back on track. Equipped with a reputation as one of the best wrestlers in the Light Heavyweight Division, Clark immediately attempted to out-maneuver his opponent, Da Woon Jung. However, Jung was able to turn the tables on Clark and achieve a takedown for himself in the opening moments of the round. Clark regained his composure and finished the round strong, scoring a takedown and landing several uppercuts against Jung before the end of the round.
In the first 30 seconds of round two, Clark scored an impressive takedown. Although Jung fought to his feet, Clark continued to apply pressure and landed well-timed strikes for the remainder of the round. In round three, Jung made an effort to recover from the two previous lackluster rounds. He executed a huge takedown just before the 3:30 mark but Clark did a great job of fighting back to his feet. Clark put an exclamation mark on his performance by landing an impactful overhand left strike and scoring another takedown in the final minute of the round.
For his efforts, Devin Clark was awarded a unanimous decision victory by the judges. This was a big win for him. At six feet tall, he is four inches shorter than Da Woon Jung. If he were to move up to heavyweight, this would be a nightly occurrence. Winning in the Light Heavyweight Division means that Clark gets to compete against men who are more similar in stature. This should be encouraging for him as he gets his career back on the right track.
Tybura vs. Ivanov
Marcin Tybura and Blagoy Ivanov are two of the most respected veterans in the heavyweight division. While neither man is considered a championship contender, opponents know they will have their hands full if they face one of them in the octagon. Round one of their bout started with a left-footed side kick courtesy of Tybura that landed on the mid-section of Ivanov. Ivanov responded with several well-timed striking combos throughout the round.
Round two was a highly competitive affair that was very difficult to score. Ivanov started off with a left jab, followed by a right hook. Tybura responded with a combination of his own. With the score possibly tied, Tybura resulted to different tactics in round three. He executed a big takedown to start things off and Ivanov was unable to provide an adequate response. It resulted in a dominant round of ground control time for Tybura. For his efforts, Marcin Tybura was granted a unanimous decision victory by the judges.
Choi vs. Nelson
In a fight that was dubbed “The Korean Super-boy” versus “The Monster from Ontario,” Doo-Ho Choi and Kyle Nelson ended in a majority draw. The fight was certainly a back and forth affair, but Choi appeared to gain a clear advantage in round three. However, at the 1:33 marker of the final round, the referee called timeout. He then instructed the judges to deduct a point from Choi for headbutting. Instant replay confirmed that the referee was correct and there was indeed a headbutt. Ultimately, one judge ruled in Choi’s favor and two judges scored the fight even. If it weren’t for the headbutt point deduction, Choi would have received a unanimous decision victory. Its a tough break, but those are the rules of the game.
Fugitt vs. Kinoshita
Adam Fugitt made quick work of Yusaku Kinoshita in their welterweight bout on Saturday night. Although Kinoshita landed an impressive head kick just before the 3:45 mark of round one, Fugitt was able to absorb the punishment and respond with a takedown. In what became a repeat cycle, Kinoshita was able to fight to his feet before being taken down again by Fugitt. Finally, on the third takedown of the round, Fugitt began pummeling Kinoshita with a barrage of elbows that rendered him defenseless. The referee was left with no choice but to stop the fight. It was a dramatic first round TKO victory for Adam Fugitt!
The remarkable longevity of Tom Brady and LeBron James have skewed the thinking of the masses when it comes to the longevity of an athlete. Most athletes are nowhere near competitive by the time their late 30s rolls around. If Derrick Lewis does decide to retire after his latest defeat, their is no shame in that. 37-years-old is longer than a lot of fighters have stayed around. He has given The UFC more knockout performances than any athlete in history. That is something he can always be proud of.
The UFC returns next week with UFC 284 live from Australia. The main event of the evening features reigning Lightweight Champion Islam Makhachev putting his belt on the line against reigning Featherweight Champion Alexander Volkanovski. You won’t want to miss it! As always, we’ll have all the latest updates about the outcomes of the fights, as well as in depth analysis available right here at World in Sport.
Until next time, take care of yourselves, and each other.