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Three reasons you can't miss UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs Spivac on BT Sport
The big boys are in town on Saturday night as Derrick Lewis takes on Sergey Spivac at primetime in the UK. Here are three reasons you can’t miss it on BT Sport.
Move over middleweights, the heavyweights are back with a bang this Saturday night.
With the madness of UFC 281 still ringing in our ears, the UFC returns with another explosive main event at the UFC APEX as Derrick Lewis takes on Sergey Spivac.
And fight fans in the UK will be delighted to hear that the whole thing goes down at primetime on Saturday evening, starting with the prelims at 7pm exclusively live on BT Sport 2HD.
Click here for all the information you need to ensure you don’t miss a minute of the fights, including all the ways you can watch along on Saturday night.
And if you need further encouragement, read on for our preview of the main talking points ahead of UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs Spivac.
Crossroads for the Black Beast
Derrick Lewis needs a win.
The 37-year-old heavyweight icon is in the rottenest form of his UFC career, coming into Saturday night’s main event with just one win in his last four and on the back of two consecutive stoppage defeats.
Lewis will contest that his last outing ended in controversial fashion with what he believed to be an early intervention from the referee to end the fight in Sergei Pavlovich’s favour – but in truth, the Louisiana man was probably rescued from a devastating knockout.
Such show-stopping knockouts are the types of finishes we’ve come to associate with Lewis over the course of his UFC tenure; no fighter in UFC history has more knockout wins than the 6ft 3ins slugger.
I feel like I’ve still got a lot left in the tank
- Derrick Lewis
As such, he’s always been held in high regard as one of the most popular and fan friendly fighters in the promotion – but at some point, the well runs dry of good favour when bad results hang around.
That is what makes this showdown on Saturday night of such great importance for Lewis, who currently sits seventh on the UFC’s heavyweight ladder.
Having hit the heady heights of challenging for both undisputed and interim titles not too long ago, Lewis now finds himself defending his spot in the top 10 against a hungry young contender ranked five spots below him.
Despite his recent woes, Lewis remains fired up and in good spirits, revealing his desire to remain competing at the top level for as long as possible while speaking to reporters at the UFC’s media day on Wednesday.
“I’m ready, I’m excited, my coaches have got me ready, I’m motivated even though there’s really not too much to be motivated for at this point in my career – but I am motivated,” he said.
“I’m ready to get in there, I feel like I’ve still got a lot left in the tank. We’ll see how things go on Saturday.”
Spivac, meanwhile, has established himself as a worthy occupant of the heavyweight top 15 since bouncing back from a rocky 1-2 start to life in the UFC.
Now on a 6-1 run since, Tom Aspinall is the only man to have beaten the 27-year-old in the last two-and-a-half years, with Spivac growing in both stature and confidence on every trip to the Octagon.
The Moldovan is still only 27 too and has plenty of room left to grow in the sport but his mettle will be tested thoroughly by an opponent as credentialled as Lewis.
Can the “Black Beast” reverse the tide of recent losses – or will the “Polar Bear” hunt down the biggest prize of his career yet?
It’s going to be wild
The smart money says Saturday’s co-main event is unlikely to go the distance as Kennedy Nzechukwu takes on Ion Cutelaba in the light heavyweight division.
Nzechukwu has the potential to be a monster at 205lb, standing at 6ft 5ins and with an incredible 83” reach – but inconsistency has hampered his progress in the UFC to date.
He bounced back from a two-fight skid last time out who with an impressive TKO win over Karl Roberson in a result he hopes will be the catalyst behind a charge towards the rankings next year.
Only four of his 13 pro fights have gone the distance – and with seven of his 10 wins coming by knockout, it’s no secret what he’ll be looking to do when the Octagon door closes on Saturday night.
And he can be sure Cutelaba will match that energy; the Moldovan wrecking ball is as chaotic as they come in this sport and needs no second invitation to go for the finish.
That recklessness is entertaining as hell – but also probably a large part of the reason that the 28-year-old has won only twice on his last eight trips to the Octagon.
However, he’s still young and, with wins over the likes of Devin Clark and Khalil Rountree Jr, has shown plenty to suggest he is a worth adversary for anyone at 205lb.
Seven of Cutelaba’s last 10 fights have ended inside the first verse so make sure you don’t miss this one when the opening bell rings at the UFC APEX.
Roberts takes on a rising star
Britain’s interests in the Octagon this weekend are represented by Liverpool’s Danny Roberts as the tenured veteran makes his return against Jack Della Maddalena in a must-see welterweight contest.
Roberts, 35, has been a mainstay of the 170lb scene for almost seven years now but has struggled to find the consistency that has ability has deserved at times.
Part of that may be down to Roberts’ predilection for a tear-up in the cage, preferring to bite down on his gumshield and walk head on into danger rather than fight in a more tactical manner.
I love taking risks, I love being the underdog
- Danny Roberts
“I’m one of the guys who is a fan favourite, I will go out there and put it all one the line,” he told reporters at the UFC media day this week.
“I love taking risks, I love being the underdog. I believe I’m the biggest underdog on the card this weekend, I love that s***.”
It is not a lack of ability on Roberts’ behalf that have seen the odds slide against him but more an indication of the skill level that Della Maddalena has shown in his short time in the UFC so far.
The Australian welterweight is 2-0 in the promotion since graduating from the contender series at the end of last year and is looking to wrap up a fourth win inside 14 months to confirm himself as one to watch heading into 2023.
Like Roberts, Della Maddalena isn’t one to shy away from the striking exchanges and will put himself in the line of danger to make sure he lands one of his own.
Can the 26-year-old build on his momentum to taking the scalp of another UFC veteran – or will Roberts halt the hype train?