After the card of the year, UFC 281, the UFC returns with a fight night featuring a clash between Heavyweight contenders Derrick Lewis and Sergey Spivak. Here I will be giving my predictions for every fight on this Saturday’s card.
Main Event: Derrick Lewis (26-10) vs Sergey Spivak (15-3)
Winner: Sergey Spivak by KO/TKO
In the Main Event of the evening, “The Black Beast” Derrick Lewis takes on Sergey “Polar Bear” Spivak in a fight destined for a finish. All of Lewis’ last six fights have ended in a finish where Lewis is an even 3-3. Unfortunately, the last two have not been in his favor, as he has been knocked out by Tai Tuivasa and Sergei Pavlovich. He now looks to return to his winning ways against Spivak. Spivak has basically been the opposite of Lewis recently as he is riding a two fight win streak with back-to-back finishes over Greg Hardy and Augusto Sakai. My pick for this fight is based around the momentum, which is in the favor of Spivak. Now, of course, Lewis is always dangerous and this could always end the way that the fight between Lewis and Curtis Bladyes did. Spivak could shoot in for a takedown and Lewis could hit him with a staggering uppercut that gives Lewis another highlight reel knockout to add to his resume, but I believe that’s a slim possibility. I think Spivak will be able to pressure Lewis and get his back to the fence before shooting for the takedown, which will cut off his reach. In whatever round Spivak has Lewis down on the mat early, he should be able to ground and pound his way to a TKO victory.
Co-Main Event: Ion Cutelaba (16-8-1) vs Kennedy Nzechukwu (10-3)
Winner: Ion Cutelaba by Decision
The Co-Main Event features a Light Heavyweight matchup between the struggling Ion Cutelaba and the rebounding Kennedy Nzechukwu. In his last five appearances, Cutelaba has recorded only one win, which was a unanimous decision win over Devin Clark. He has now suffered two straight submission losses by way of Ryan Spann and Johnny Walker. If Cutelaba wants to stay a respected Light Heavyweight contender, he needs to defeat Nzechukwu. Nzechukwu is trying to make a name for himself in the division after looking dominant in a win over Karl Roberson after coming off back-to-back losses. This is a fight I could honestly see going either way, but I feel like I haven’t seen enough good out of Nzechukwu lately to justify taking him. Sure, he looked dominant over Roberson in his last fight, but Roberson had never won a fight in the UFC and proved he wasn’t UFC caliber. Cutelaba is a definite step-up in competition, which is why I don’t see him being as dominant. Nzechukwu has struggled with powerful strikers with losses to Da-Un Jung, by a brutal knockout, and Nicolae Negumereanu. As long as Cutelaba can avoid an early takedown, while Nzechukwu still has gas left in the tank he should be able to out-strike him, especially when he is tired and earn the victory possibly with a finish.
Fight 10: Chase Sherman (16-10) vs Waldo Cortes-Acosta (8-0)
Winner: Chase Sherman by KO/TKO
Heavyweight’s Chase Sherman and Waldo Cortes-Acosta look to continue their momentum, as each are coming off wins in their last appearances. Sherman was on a four fight losing streak before saving his UFC career by knocking out Jared Vanderaa, and now looks to be the first to defeat Cortes-Acosta. The undefeated Cortes-Acosta now faces his second UFC opponent in Sherman and is looking to keep his perfect record alive with another UFC win. Call me crazy, I understand why, I understand that this pick could make me look like I have no idea what I am talking about, but I am taking Sherman in this fight. Each of these men’s last opponent was Jared Vanderaa, and one was able to finish the fight and the other wasn’t. Although Cortes-Acosta was able to defeat Vanderaa, it wasn’t an impressive win and in my mind caused his stock to drop quite a bit. Sherman showed resilience in his win over Vanderaa making it all the way into the third round and having enough left in the tank to finish the fight. I believe the same thing is going to happen in this fight, with Cortes-Acosta using leg kicks and jabs to win the first round. But his cardio won’t be there after coming in short notice, and will get knocked out in the later rounds.
Fight Nine: Muslim Salikhov (18-3) vs Andre Fialho (16-5)
Winner: Andre Fialho by KO/TKO
Fight Eight: Jack Della Maddalena (12-2) vs Danny Roberts (18-6)
Winner: Jack Della Maddalena by KO/TKO
Fight Seven: Zhalgas Zhumagulov (14-7) vs Charles Johnson (11-3)
Winner: Charles Johnson by KO/TKO
Fight Six: Jennifer Maia (19-8-1) vs Maryna Moroz (11-3)
Winner: Jennifer Maia by Decision
Fight: Five: Miles Johns (12-2) vs Vince Morales (11-6)
Winner: Miles Johns by KO/TKO
Fight Four: Ricky Turcios (11-3) vs Kevin Natividad (9-3)
Winner: Ricky Turcios by Decision
Fight Three: Maria Oliveira (13-5) vs Vanessa Demopoulos (8-4)
Winner: Vanessa Demopoulous by Decision
Fight Two: Fernie Garcia (10-2) vs Brady Hiestand (5-2)
Winner: Brady Hiestand by KO/TKO
Fight One: Natalia Silva (13-5-1) vs Tereza Bleda (6-0)
Winner: Tereza Bleda by Decision