Tag Archives: Serghei Spivak

UFC Vegas 29: Korean Zombie vs Ige – Main card predictions

The UFC returns to the APEX this weekend for a featherweight banger of a main event as ‘The Korean Zombie’ Chang Sung Jung takes on Dan Ige.

Both men have earned a reputation as one of the better guys at 145lbs but having previously lost to the best of the best, they want to prove they’re not nearly men by getting a win in this main event.

In this 12 fight card, you also have two heavyweights in the co-main event as Aleksei Oleinik takes on Serghei Spivac while Davey Grant takes a step up in competition to take on Marlon Vera at bantamweight.

Last week at UFC 263 we had an incredible night of picks, going 10/14 with NINE perfect picks to take us up to 338/530 (63.77%) with 151 perfect picks (44.67%). We’ll look to improve that record here and having started with the six prelim bouts here, here’s our main card picks.


Matt Brown (24-18) vs Dhiego Lima (17-8) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

The veteran against the inbetweener in this one as Matt Brown takes on Dhiego Lima at 170lbs. Brown has lost five of his last seven including his last two, with the most recent being a decision to Carlos Condit at UFC Fight Island 7 in January. Lima saw a three-fight win streak snapped by Belal Muhammad at UFC 258 when he was outclassed over 15 minutes too.

Brown is a top level wrestler but is now 40-years-old and his durability has really started to waiver as he’s got older. Lima on the other hand is a competent striker and grappler himself, but he’s just not a top level guy in any aspect. Brown will look to take Lima down, control from top position and land ground and pound but Lima has got good takedown defence and a range advantage too.

Lima has been rocked in the past but I think he’s big enough to take the strikes of Brown who isn’t close to what he once was and get himself a win.
PICK – Dhiego Lima via Decision

Wellington Turman (16-4) vs Bruno Silva (19-6) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

A banger of a fight in the middleweight division between the experienced youngster Wellington Turman and Bruno Silva. Turman has lost two of his last three, including a KO loss to Andrew Sanchez at UFC Vegas 6 while Silva returns from a two-year USADA suspension to make his long-awaited UFC debut on a four-fight win streak.

Silva is an absolute monster on the feet, with incredible power in his hands as his 16 knockout wins in his career show you. He has good cardio and steps forward with tremendous pressure to just suffocate opponents, forcing them into a war and eventually knocking them out. Turman is a jiu-jitsu expert with some okay striking to set up his takedowns, but fighting backwards is not something he is good at.

Silva will walk him backwards against the cage and swing his chin into oblivion to land a knockout win and a bonus for the night.
PICK – Bruno Silva via Knockout, Round 1

Julian Erosa (25-9) vs Seungwoo Choi (9-3) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

An exciting featherweight fight between ‘Juicy J’ against ‘Sting’ Choi in this one. Erosa has won his last three in a row, including a submission over Sean Woodson at UFC Vegas 4 before a knockout over Nate Landwehr at UFC Vegas 19. Choi has won his last two including his most recent in a close decision against Youssef Zalal at UFC Vegas 18.

Erosa is a striker who can take plenty of damage and has good submission skills, while Choi is a really well-rounded fighter who switches up his attacks based on whatever his opponents weaknesses are. The problem is, Erosa doesn’t have many weaknesses. Yes he gets hit too much, but he has power himself and wild technique to catch opponents off guard. Choi is patient and able to mix it up well, but his best bet in this one will be on the feet.

Overall, I think Choi is too well-rounded for Erosa to exploit. His jab is good and he’ll be able to pick Erosa off over the course of 15 minutes while also mixing in his own takedowns and preventing Erosa’s.
PICK – Seungwoo Choi via Decision

Marlon Vera (16-7-1) vs Davey Grant (13-4) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A really exciting bantamweight fight an my pick for fight of the night here as Marlon ‘Chito’ Vera takes on Englishman Davey Grant. Vera has lost two of his last three, beating ‘Suga’ Sean O’Malley at UFC 252 before losing to Jose Aldo at UFC Vegas 17. Grant has won his last three in a row, including a KO win over Martin Day at UFC 251 and a KO win over Jonathan Martinez at UFC Vegas 21 in March.

Vera is a good wrestler with some excellent striking in his repertoire, with heavy leg kicks a big part of his arsenal. Grant is a grappler naturally but has found out recently that he has dynamite in his left hook to earn back-to-back KO wins. Despite that though, there are levels between these two fighters. Vera has solid grappling himself and is definitely the better striker on the feet and I think the leg kicks will have a big say in the fight.

‘Chito’ will use his kicks and takedown defence to empty the gas tank of Grant and use some takedowns of his own to secure a fairly comfortable win for himself.
PICK – Marlon Vera via Decision

Aleksei Oleinik (59-15-1) vs Serghei Spivak (12-2) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

A heavyweight clash of styles in the co-main event as the veteran Aleksei Oleinik takes on the up and coming Serghei Spivak. Oleinik has lost his last two-in-a-row, getting knocked out by Derrick Lewis at UFC Vegas 8 before getting knocked out by Chris Daukaus at UFC Vegas 19 earlier this year. Spivak has won his last two, earning a decision over Carlos Felipe before knocking out Jared Vanderaa.

Oleinik is a submission specialist, with 46 submission wins in his career. He is not a good striker and looks to close the distance to get hold of his opponent and take them to the ground to work his unorthodox submission game while Spivak likes to take his opponents down to beat them up and earn a submission of his own. But the striking gap between the two is very, very wide.

Spivak is good enough as a grappler to avoid submissions from Oleinik and with a size and strength advantage, Spivak should earn himself a stoppage as Oleinik’s gas tank empties out.
PICK – Serghei Spivak via Knockout, Round 2

Korean Zombie (16-6) vs Dan Ige (15-3) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A very, very fun fight as the main event of the card with ‘Korean Zombie’ Chang Sung Jung taking on ’50K’ Dan Ige. ‘TKZ’ lost last time out, getting dominated by Brian Ortega at UFC Fight Island 6 to lose by unanimous decision while Dan Ige bounced back from a battering by Calvin Kattar at UFC Fight Island 1 to beat Gavin Tucker in just 22 seconds at UFC Vegas 21.

Zombie is a pressure fighter with crazy power in his strikes and some solid grappling skills on the mat, while Ige is more of a volume puncher with good wrestling to fall back on too. Ige’s got good boxing and skills but only four KO wins in his career tell you that Jung can walk forward to land his shots. Jung is physically stronger and also the bigger man and I feel that he has the speed and power edge too.

Overall, TKZ is still just better than Ige is. He has the edge everywhere and unless the beating that Ortega put on him has sent him into a shell of himself, Jung should pop him into oblivion to earn a wide decision win much like Kattar did.
PICK – Korean Zombie via Decision

UFC Vegas 19: Blaydes vs Lewis – Early prelims predictions

It’s take two in the heavyweight division for this weekend’s main event as Curtis Blaydes takes on Derrick Lewis in their rearranged fight from November 2020.

The two were scheduled to meet at UFC Vegas 15 before a positive COVID-19 test ruled Blaydes out just hours before the weigh-ins. They’ll meet now, knowing that the path to the heavyweight title shot they both feel they deserve is now clearer than it was back then.

Last week at UFC 258 we went 6/10 with our predictions, with three perfect picks to take us up to 230/359 (64.07%) with 104 (45.22%) perfect picks since we started out back in June 2020.

We have a monster 15 fight card this weekend, so the predictions will be split into three parts rather than the usual two, starting with the first five fights of the night here.


EARLY PRELIMS

Serghey Spivak (11-2) vs Jared Vanderaa (13-2) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

A fight originally scheduled for UFC 256 back in December, two heavyweights go at it on the prelims. Spivak is 2-2 in the UFC, alternating losses and wins against Walt Harris,Tai Tuivasa, Marcin Tybura and Carlos Felipe most recently. Vanderaa is on a two-fight win streak and makes his UFC debut after a KO win on the Contender Series back in November.

Spivak is a talented kickboxer who has a massive striking advantage on the feet in this fight, but he has won six of his 11 fights by submission. He isn’t afraid to initiate the grappling because of that, which could see him open himself up to the strengths of Vanderaa who has phenomenal ground and pound. Vanderaa will look to get this fight down and as the considerably bigger man, he is likely to only need one takedown and Spivak will struggle to get back up.

The likelihood of a stoppage in this fight is high, with both fighters seeing the judges only once each in their careers so far. Vanderaa’s wrestling chops and size mean he should get the takedown he craves and if he ends up on top he should be able to pound Spivak to a stoppage win.
PICK – Jared Vanderaa via Knockout, Round 2

Aiemann Zahabi (7-2) vs Drako Rodriguez (7-1) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A fun bantamweight fight that has been rescheduled from the December UFC Vegas 17 card as Zahabi makes his first appearance in nearly two years when he takes on Drako Rodriguez. Zahabi, brother of the legendary coach Firas, is a fantastic striker who lacks the elite ground game to call him a well-rounded fighter. Rodriguez on the other hand is well-rounded, with great grappling to go with his decent level of striking.

Zahabi has lost his last two fights and is potentially fighting for his future on the roster, having been beaten by Ricardo Ramos and Vince Morales. Rodriguez has won his last three and is so, so aggressive when it comes to his style. He will press forward, throw volume with strikes and attack for submissions if the fight goes to the ground.

With Zahabi’s weaknesses on the ground and Rodriguez’s aggressiveness and submission skills make me believe that the debutant gets the win and ends Zahabi’s run in the UFC.
PICK – Drako Rodriguez via Submission, Round 2

Chas Skelly (18-3 1NC) vs Jamall Emmers (18-5) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A return to the cage for the first time since September 2019 for Chas Skelly as he takes on Jamall Emmers in the featherweight division. Skelly is 1-1 1NC in his last three fights, losing to Jason Knight and beating Jordan Griffin with a no contest against Bobby Moffett sandwiched in the middle. Emmers himself is 1-1 in the UFC after losing his debut to Giga Chikadze in March 2020, before securing a decision win over Vince Cachero in August.

Skelly is an awkward fighter, with odd technique but it clearly seems to work for him considering his impressive record. With that said, he’s been known to burn himself out quickly and struggle in the third rounds. Emmers is a great wrestler who will look to get this fight to the ground and use his physicality to keep him down. Skelly has a decent submission game, but Emmers is solid enough in his own right to avoid those and has the advantage on the feet too with speed.

It’s a closer fight than it looks and I think Emmers’ style and activity in recent years should see him get the nod here.
PICK – Jamal Emmers via Decision

Shana Dobson (4-4) vs Casey O’Neill (5-0) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

After three defeats in a row, the UFC served up Shana Dobson to Mariya Agapova back in August. She shocked the world after surviving the blitz and then coming back to get a TKO finish in the second round and save her spot on the roster. O’Neill on the other hand is an undefeated fighter who makes her UFC debut after a 5-0 run to begin her career.

Dobson was on her way out of the company because she simply isn’t that good. Her two wins in the UFC have come from her opponents kind of giving in, rather than her stopping them. She doesn’t have a great skillset in reality, while O’Neill’s grappling game is very strong. With that said, her quality of competition hasn’t been that high so it’s hard to compare.

From what has been seen though, O’Neill can manage her gas tank more and should have enough about her to control the fight for the most part and get the win in her debut.
PICK – Casey O’Neill via Decision

Rafael Alves (19-9) vs Patrick Sabatini (13-3) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

A fun fight in the featherweight division between two prospects making their UFC debut. Alves is a power puncher who presses forward and looks for finishes, with 14 finishes from 19 wins split evenly at seven wins by submission and knockout. Sabatini is also a good striker, who has a bit more technique to his game and throws really nice straight shots down the middle.

Alves has won his last six fights in a row, culminating with a guillotine choke win on Dana White’s Contender Series back in August. Sabatini won his last two under the Cafe Fury banner, with a knockout and submission added to his record. Sabatini has fantastic submission skills and a great ground game, while Alves is also a beast on the ground and a bit like Gilbert Burns isn’t afraid to throw strikes because of how confident he is on the ground.

That means it’s likely to stay on the feet and while Sabatini has a slight power advantage and better technique, he is taking this fight on just eight days notice. It’s a pretty evenly matched bout but that short notice should play into the favour of the Brazilian.
PICK – Rafael Alves via Decision