If you stayed up late for UFC Vegas 68 on Saturday (or Sunday if you were an east coast fight fan, anyway), you were treated to a main card that went off with a whimper. The highlight of the Fight Night event was the Road to UFC tournament finals, which actually came on the preliminary card.
As for the main card action, two finishes, an unfortunate draw, and a disappointing main event left plenty of fans yawning as it wrapped up early Sunday morning. What comes next for the night’s losing fighters? Here’s a look.
“The Black Beast” suffered his third straight loss in bizarre fashion at UFC Vegas 68. Bizarre, because he seemingly unleashed zero offense, was ragdolled by Serghei Spivac, and submitted for just the second time of his career.
Not to take anything away from Spivac, but Lewis looked to be in great shape ahead of this fight, which many saw as a favorable match-up. It wasn’t so. Lewis, infamously able to just “stand up” from takedowns, did make it back to his feet, only to be dragged down repeatedly. Lewis looked exhausted by the time he finally tapped, just over three minutes into the opening round.
UFC President Dana White said during Saturday’s post-fight press conference that Lewis isn’t going anywhere. The UFC’s knockout leader remains a popular figure — but was actually less competitive than 46-year old Fedor Emelianenko, who was beat into retirement by Ryan Bader at Bellator 290 the same night. Let that sink in.
Lewis is out of the title picture for the foreseeable future after losses to Spivac, Sergei Pavlovich, and Tai Tuivasa — all finishes. You can probably position him as a gatekeeper for a while longer, but Lewis needs a win.
Without booking a rematch, the best option for Lewis now might be Jair Rozenstruik. Yes, Lewis is on a skid and “Bigi Boy” is coming off a win, but the fight is big enough to do away with the loser gets loser, winner gets winner format. It’s a fun striking match-up with little chance of anything more than minimal amounts of grappling.
Lewis’ next fight: Jair Rozenstruik
Da Un Jung
Devin Clark vs. Da Un Jung was a co-main event for the UFC in 2023. Yes, UFC Vegas 68 was geared towards the Asian market, hence the late start time (the UFC cancelled a previously announced event for Seoul, South Korea when The Korean Zombie suffered an injury). That’s still, with no disrespect to the athletes involved, an iffy co-feature by UFC standards.
For Devin Clark, he made the most of the opportunity, earning his second win in three fights with a unanimous decision victory.
That leaves Jung looking to bounce back. Nicolae Negumereanu has a nearly identical record to Jung in the UFC, the only difference being a draw on the South Korean’s part. Both men are coming off losses.
Jung’s next fight: Nicolae Negumereanu
Polish heavyweight Marcin Tybura has been one of the most consistent UFC heavyweights over the past few years. Tybura’s footwork, angles, and stance switches at UFC Vegas 68 showed how far he has come as a fighter. Blagoy Ivanov just couldn’t close the distance consistently enough to make anything major happen.
Ivanov, a former WSOF/PFL heavyweight champ who went to the finals of Bellator’s Season 10 heavyweight tournament, has been anything but consistent since joining the UFC. He’s 1-3 in his last four and 3-4 overall. Ranked #15, he may very well lose that number when the rankings next update.
Canada’s Tanner Boser is also 1-3 in his last four. Both men have over 25 fights, both need to get back in the win column. Boser doesn’t have a fight booked, so we’ll give him the nod.
Ivanov’s next fight: Tanner Boser
Yusaku Kinoshita as the next big Japanese talent? Fugitt about it. Adam Fugitt was the underdog against the debuting Contender Series alum, and proved a lot of doubters wrong by earning a TKO finish care of some nasty elbows in the opening round.
All is not lost for Kinoshita, but it’s clear the UFC had high hopes for the welterweight, putting him on a main card in his promotional debut.
The move now is to either give Kinoshita a debuting fighter, or else match him up with someone who entered the UFC recently. The loser of the upcoming AJ Fletcher vs. Themba Gorimbo fight could work.
Kinoshita’s next fight: newcomer or Fletcher vs. Gorimbo loser