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The UFC is back again this weekend with a great card from a betting perspective. One of my favorite bets on the card is in the first heavyweight match of the night between Augusto Sakai and Serghei Spivac. Ben Rajavuori breaks it down.
ANALYSIS

Augusto Sakai vs. Serghei Spivac Prediction: Can Spivak Make a Statement at UFC Fight Night?

The UFC is back again this weekend with a great card from a betting perspective. The two ultimate fighter finales will be concluded this weekend, and we will also see UFC vet Thiago Santos face the up-and-comer Jamahal Hill. However, one of my favorite bets on the card is in the first heavyweight match of the night between Augusto Sakai and Serghei Spivac.

Augusto Sakai vs Serghei Spivac Start Time, Where To Watch, and Odds

  • Date: August 6, 2022
  • Fight Time: 10 pm ET
  • Where to Watch: ESPN+

Click Here for Sakai vs Spivak Odds

Augusto Sakai vs Serghei Spivac Predictions

Augusto Sakai is a Contender Series alumni who earned a UFC contract after a second-round knockout over Marcos Conrado Jr. Sakai started 4-0 in UFC before meeting some heavy hitters and quickly moving to 0-3 after three knockouts. Now, Sakai is looking to get back in the win column against a rising prospect in Serghei Spviac.

Serghei Spivac joined the UFC when he was just 24, which is a young age to fight at heavyweight. Spivac has made the most of his young UFC career, though, and is 5-3 in the promotion, most recently finishing Greg Hardy in the first round back in March. Spivac looks to land back-to-back wins in his fight tomorrow night and takes Sakai's spot in the rankings at 14th.

Augusto Sakai is a crafty striker with a calculated kicking game. Sakai starts the fight with an active stance and is light on his feet, usually bouncing in the first round and until however long his cardio at heavyweight allows him. What Sakai does best is using his leg kicks and movement to touch opponents up without engaging in a phone booth-style fight. He frustrates his opponents and forces them to engage most of the time, allowing Sakai to land counterstrikes and move according to his game plan.

The biggest setback to Sakai has been his chin. Sakai has now been knocked out in three consecutive fights, albeit against top-level competition. Sakai's knockout losses were to Alistair Overeem, Jairzinho Rozenstruik, and Tai Tuivasa. While these are some of the hardest hitters in the division, it still proves to be a significant issue in Sakai's game. When he can avoid being hit clean, he can implement his kicking and counter game, but when his opponents do land clean, well, good night. Sakai will have to avoid the big shot from Spivac, but that won't necessarily be his biggest issue to deal with tomorrow night.

Serghei Spivac is a strong grappler who prefers fighting on the mat and against the fence rather than in a stand-up trading war. Spivac has exceptional wrestling and is a problematic guy to stop a takedown against. Spivac has averaged 3.29 takedowns per fight in the UFC and lands 60% of his attempts. One of Spivac's favorite moves is to use an opponent's kick against them by countering the kick with a double-leg attempt. Once Spivac takes you down, he has devastating ground and pound that has finished multiple opponents inside the UFC. He also has an underrated submission game and has finished six of his 14 wins by tap-out. Spivac has six knockout/TKO's on his record and six submissions, winning by decision just twice.

Spivac's losses have been understandable. His first loss in the UFC was in his debut when he was a 24-year-old heavyweight facing Walt Harris. a 50-second knockout was not surprising. Spivac was a +150 underdog in that fight and looked like it. His striking was also very raw in his debut, and while he isn't the best striker yet, he has significantly improved since then. His second loss was to Marcin Tybura, who is now 5-1 in his last six in the UFC and was ranked 10th until a few weeks ago. His most recent loss is to Tom Aspinall, who was undefeated in the UFC before an injury loss stopped his potential title shot just three weeks ago. All this to say, Spivak has had a tough resume for a young gun trying to break into the heavyweight rankings. Spivac was also an underdog in all three of his losses but has won in all four of his UFC fights that he was a favorite.

This fight seems to favor Spivac in most scenarios unless Spivac lets Sakai maintain a distance and touch him up for 15 minutes, but I think that is an improbable scenario. Spivac loves using opponents' leg kicks to set up his takedowns, and Sakai throws plenty of them. Spivak also has the better cardio in this fight, and outside of the first round, he should be the fresher and faster fighter. I expect Spivac to get Sakai down in the second round and find a ground and pound finish fairly quickly. I don't want to see Sakai lose four in a row, but Spivac will take his spot in the rankings with a finish in the second round tomorrow night.

Augusto Sakai vs. Serghei Spivac Picks

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Article Author

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Ben Rajavuori is a handicapper out of Minneapolis, MN. He has been creating sports content for almost four years now and is an expert in all things NFL, MLB, NBA, UFC, and NCAAB. Ben thrives on diving deep into statistics to find the best angle on every bet. You can follow him on Twitter @WeBeatTheSpread.

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