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Grant Emrick breakdowns UFC Fight Night Lewis vs. Spivac

UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs. Spivak

February 4, 2023

Emrick’s 2023 UFC Fighter Pick Record (20-6)

Main Events (1-1)

Lock of the Week (2-0)

Dawg of the Week (1-1)

Lifetime Fighter Pick Record (318-168-3)

Prelim Predictions:

FLY: Tatsuro Taira (12-0) vs. Jesus Aguilar (8-1)

  • Pick: Tatsuro Taira 

MW: Park Jun-yong (15-5) vs. Denis Tiuliulin (11-6)

  • Pick: Park Jun-yong

WFLY: Ji Yeon Kim (9-6-2) vs. Mandy Bohm (7-2, 1 NC)

  • Pick: Ji Yeon Kim 

FLY: Choi Seung-guk (6-1) vs. Park Hyun-sung (7-0)

  • Pick: Park Hyun-sung

BW: Toshiomi Kazama (10-2) vs. Rinya Nakamura (6-0)

  • Pick: Rinya Nakamura

FW: Lee Jeong Yeong (9-1) vs. Yi Zha (21-3)

  • Pick: Lee Jeong Yeong

LW: Jeka Saragih (13-2) vs. Anshul Jubli (6-0)

  • Pick: Jeka Saragih *Dawg of the Week*

Main Card Predictions:

WW: Yusaku Kinoshita (6-1) vs. Adam Fugitt (8-3)

  • Pick: Yusaku Kinoshita (-330)
  • Quick Reasoning: There’s not much of a UFC sample size to go off of with these two. Kinoshita had a clean, KO performance on DWCS, and Fugitt was welcomed to the UFC with a short-notice KO loss to rising prospect, Michael Morales. Kinoshita would be undefeated without his DQ loss and Fugitt has faced some decent competition in the past, such as Bellator’s Austin Vanderford. While I hate the odds in this one, I think Kinoshita’s youth and solid striking are the deciding factor in this one. The younger fighter by 11 years impressed many on DWCS and should be able to land against a hittable Fugitt. On the flip side, Fugitt holds a 6” reach advantage and attempted eight takedowns against Morales, landing only one. As long as Kinoshita avoids getting hit at range or taken down by Fugitt, then Kinoshita may be able to end this one early. 

FW: Choi Doo-ho (14-4) vs. Kyle Nelson (13-5)

  • Pick: Choi Doo-ho (-190)
  • Quick Reasoning: Long layoff, red flag. No wins since 2016, red flag. Dooho Choi has a lot of red flags coming into this one, but I still find myself taking him. The competition level is otherworldly in favor of Choi, although he has no wins over current UFC fighters. Neither does Nelson, who is only 1-4 in the promotion since joining in 2018. Both of these fighters have a negative striking differential as well, with Nelson having the worse ratio (3.34 landed per 5.39 absorbed). Choi does absorb 6.38 per minute but is landing over 5 strikes in the same period of time. As a screw-it pick, I’m siding with Choi here because I think he has the better hands and the rest should do him some good after his wars with Cub Swanson, Jeremy Stephens, and Charles Jourdain. Give me Choi via KO, but don’t be shocked if the octagon rust comes to haunt him. 

HW: #10 Marcin Tybura (23-7) vs. #15 Blagoy Ivanov (19-4, 1 NC)

  • Pick: Marcin Tybura (-130) *Lock of the Week*
  • Quick Reasoning: After picking Ivanov against Rogerio de Lima, I was not confident at all that he emerged victorious. I wasn’t even confident Tybura won against Romanov in a fight that should have been a draw. I’m expecting Ivanov to try and big-body bully Tybura against the fence or get enter takedown opportunities early and often, but I believe Tybrua is the better fighter in all aspects than Ivanov. Tybura is bigger, has a longer reach, lands more strikes and takedowns, absorbs fewer strikes, and has better metrics in almost all facets other than takedown accuracy. However, Ivanov just doesn’t get finished and will never finish his opponents in the UFC. All six of Ivanov’s fights have gone to decision in the UFC, so he is very tough overall. With this said, Tybura will have to play this fight smart and avoid costly mistakes, as three of his last four fights where he’s lost have come via finish. The finishing inability of Ivanov bodes well for Tybura due to Marcin winning five of his last six bouts that went to decision. This is why I’m making Tybura my lock of the week with some favorable value on top of that. 

LHW: Jung Da Un (15-3-1) vs. Devin Clark (13-7)

  • Pick: Jung Da Un (-240)
  • Quick Reasoning: Jung is taller, has a longer reach, lands more strikes per minute, defends more efficiently, and is more technical on the ground as well. He’s better than Clark across the board and has the advantage with greater finishing ability too. I’m worried about both of their chins after Jung and Clark were KO’d during their last time out, so there’s a chance if one lands a clean shot then it’s over early. If smart, Jung will use a similar gameplan as Ion Cutelaba did and use his physicality spam takedowns against Clark and drown his opponent out into a submission or potential ground and pound finish. With the KO loss last time out, Jung may be a little gun shy and see that route as the best path to victory anyways, which is why I’m siding with Da Un Jung to get back in the win column. I’m going with Jung via finish and push Clark to 1-4 in his last five. 

HW: #7 Derrick Lewis (26-10, 1 NC) vs. #12 Sergey Spivak (15-3)

  • Pick: Sergey Spivak (-230)
  • Quick Reasoning: At nearly +200, Lewis is very much a live underdog in this one. With one punch knockout power and an opponent who has been violently finished by Walt Harris and Tom Aspinall, Lewis could add his name to that list. On the other hand, Spivak has done a much better job of getting his opponents to the ground and limiting the attack of his opposition over the past few years. Even though a majority of Sergey’s wins have come by KO in the UFC, his submission threat is very real, which Tai Tuivasa can attest to. Lewis is on the greatest skid of his career, dropping three of four to former interim champion Ciryl Gane, Tai Tuivasa, and Sergei Pavlovich, all via TKO. The only time Lewis has been submitted was via Cormier in 2018, so let’s say he’s able to avoid that in this fight. Spivak will stop at nothing to get takedowns and get his opponent uncomfortable, highlighted by his average of over four takedowns landed per fifteen minutes of fight time. He also has better fight metrics in terms of accuracy, strikes landed per minute, striking differential, and nearly ten years of youth on his side. Younger fighters by nine or more years have historically won 69% of the time. That’s pretty nice in favoring Spivak from a historical standpoint. If Lewis comes into this fight in great shape and able to maintain his cardio for the five rounds, then I’d say he has a great chance to pull this off. There’s also a good chance he’ll get a one-hitter quitter on Spivak and send his opponent to the shadow realm as he did to Curtis Blaydes and Alexander Volkov. Spivak has done well against big power punchers during his UFC run, so I see him finding a way to get Lewis uncomfortable and into a goofy position, potentially a ground and pound finish from back mount. I’m going to go with Spivak here, but Lewis is not out of this until the fight is over. 

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