UFC Vegas 68: Lewis vs Spivac – Prelims predictions

The UFC returns to the Apex in Las Vegas this weekend as heavyweights Derrick Lewis and Serghei Spivac headline another card.

After their initial fight back in November fell out on fight night when “The Black Beast” suffered illness and was forced to pull out, they’re now going back to the well to finally settle their score in the Octagon.

This card will also see the finale of the Road to UFC tournament too, so there are plenty of new faces to take notice of during the card too.

Last time out at UFC 283 it was a great night of fights, where we managed to go 10/15 with our picks with three perfect picks, moving us to 823/1277 (64.45%) with 336 perfect picks (40.83%). You can see our full pick history here.

We’ll look to improve on that here and after starting with the early prelims on the card, we move on to the rest of the prelims here.

SeungGuk Choi (6-1) vs HyunSung Park (7-0) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

The first Road to UFC finale bout comes in the flyweight division. Choi is on a five-fight win streak with two KO’s and three decisions, including against Lun Qiu in the semi-final of this competition. Park on the other hand is undefeated with six of his seven victories coming via stoppage (3 KO, 3 submissions), including a first-round RNC in the semi-final bout.

Choi is a solid striker in the standing realm of a fight, but he impressed more with his wrestling last time out because he was struggling against the southpaw. Park on the other hand looked very comfortable when he was striking, and has previously shown some great grappling chops of his own both defensively and offensively.

There seems to be a pretty clear gap between these two based off what we have seen so far. Park is a powerful counter striker that should see him land cleanly regularly, and Choi won’t be able to lean on his wrestling to bail himself out of it again due to Park’s abilities there too. They’ll both be going all out, and that should lead to an exciting fight that Park edges out.
PICK – HyunSung Park via Decision

Toshiomi Kazama (10-2) vs Rinya Nakamura (6-0) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

Bantamweight finale up next. Kazama has won ten of his last 11 bouts, with the most recent coming via a dominant decision win in the semi-final bout. Nakamura on the other hand is an undefeated fighter with five finish wins from his six career bouts, including four knockouts.

Kazama is a very fun grappler with phenomenal wrestling and excellent submission skills, with 50% of his career wins coming via tap out. But he’ll be coming up against Nakamura who is an absolute powerhouse with tremendous striking and excellent wrestling to boot. If the two fighters engage in a grappling bout then it will be really interesting to see how they compare.

But on the feet it isn’t really close and Nakamura has the ability to march forwards and really hurt Kazama with his more complete boxing skill and powerful hands. He has the advantage everywhere this goes and he’ll be looking to make a statement, so Nakamura should win this at a canter.
PICK – Rinya Nakamura via Knockout, Round 1

JeongYeong Lee (9-1) vs Yi Zha (21-3) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

Moving on up to the featherweight finale now. Lee is on a six-fight win streak, with two knockouts and one submission in a combined 88 seconds across his last three fights. Zha on the other hand has won his last three fights too, with two submissions followed by a split decision in the semi-final bout most recently.

Lee is a powerhouse of a finisher as his quality wins recently have shown, with his massive counter right-hand a weapon of mass destruction. He’ll come up against Zha in this one, who is more of a grinder with his grappling and then starts to fish for submissions and work ground and pound too. If Zha wants to win this, he must be at his absolute best to grind Lee out and completely nullify the power.

The chances of doing that for 15 minutes seem highly unlikely, especially with how well Lee starts fights. Expect a relatively slow start as they size each other up, before Lee decides to gun him and puts his lights out with a big right hand.
PICK – JeongYeong Lee via Knockout, Round 1

Jeka Saragih (13-2) vs Anshul Jubli (6-0) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

Lightweight finale finally between two excellent prospects is the featured prelim of the card. Saragih is on a five-fight win streak with four finishes, including two knockouts in this tournament so far. Jubli on the other hand is an undefeated fighter in his career, with four dominant decisions and two first-round finishes (1 submission, 1 knockout).

Saragih is an aggressive fighter who looks to push forward and overwhelm his opponent with great volume and movement before really planting his feet with his strikes to put people away. Jubli on the other hand is a patient striker with great power, who tends to use his usual size advantage to his credit considering he stands at 6ft tall weighing in at 155-pounds. Saragih will look to push and cause Jubli problems by constantly attacking and not allowing him to settle.

Jubli tends to be quite stationary anyway, but when Saragih starts to land his excellent leg kicks that’s going to make it even more obvious that he doesn’t move much. Jubli is the heavier puncher of the two and if he lands clean then he could get the win, but Saragih is going to be there for the whole 15 minutes if that doesn’t happen. Jubli looks as though he struggles when the fight goes on, so the activity of Saragih could claim him a surprise win.
PICK – Jeka Saragih via Decision


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