The UFC has rebooked the recently cancelled heavyweight showdown between Derrick Lewis and Serghei Spivac to headline its February 4, 2023 Fight Night card. A card which will no longer take place in South Korea.
Lewis vs. Spivac was the original headliner on November 19, topping UFC Vegas 65. With the event already in progress — roughly halfway through — Lewis was pulled from his fight, the result of an undisclosed, non-COVID related illness.
With no hope of finding a replacement for a fight just hours away, Kennedy Nzechukwu vs. Ion Cutelaba was promoted to the headlining slot. But it appears the UFC is still keen on Lewis vs. Spivac, booking it to top the Feb. 4 card at the Apex in Las Vegas.
Originally, the event had been announced for Seoul, South Korea. UFC officials announced the main event and new location Thursday, without specifying what led to the shift.
Just six days ago, however, The Korean Zombie announced that he had suffered a shoulder injury and had been forced to withdraw from the card. While no opponent had been reported for Zombie, he expressed concern at the time that the entire event might be lost as a result of his absence.
“If the Korean [card] is cancelled due to my injury, I’m really sorry for the Korean [fighters] who lost the opportunity to [compete] in front of their family and friends,” the South Korean wrote on social media.
The UFC has traditionally headlined Fight Night cards with regional stars, with The Korean Zombie being their biggest and arguably only option for Seoul currently. That said, Korean fans are losing out on Derrick Lewis.
Lewis (26-10, 1NC) will be looking to snap a two-fight skid in the fight, after being stopped by both Tai Tuivasa and Sergei Pavlovich in 2022. As for Spivac (15-3), he’s won two straight, stopping both Greg Hardy and Augusto Sakai.
Lewis vs. Spivac is the only bout officially announced for the card listed on UFC.com — however a host of other fights had been reported for Feb. 4 prior to the shift, many featuring talent from South Korea and other nearby nations. It’s unclear where those fights will land.