Tom Aspinall is 28 years old, has a 10-2 record, and looks like a real problem for heavyweight fighters. The Englishman is 3-0 in the UFC with two knockouts and one submission win; he has finished all of his fights in six minutes or less. The younger man by two years, Sergey Spivak is 13-2 professionally and 4-2 in the UFC. He has five knockouts and six submission wins. He enters as a short-notice replacement Saturday night.
Aspinall vs. Spivak betting odds
Aspinall is just over a 2.5:1 favorite over Spivak who is a +200 underdog.
Aspinall vs. Spivak breakdown
Aspinall entered the UFC with a fair amount of hype — he is an athletic heavyweight with a very well-rounded game and he trains with the boxing heavyweight champ, Tyson Fury. He has delivered on the hype and then some. Aspinall is an elite boxer with fast and powerful hands; he is able to unload combos with the speed of a smaller fighter but the power of a larger one. Aspinall is light on his feet and moves in and out fluidly and technically. This makes him very difficult to hit (an important quality against heavyweight power) and helps him maintain his 7.4 significant strikes landed compared to only absorbing 3.1 per minute. Despite often having the advantage on the feet, Aspinall is also an effective wrestler and submission artist. He averages 3.5 takedowns per fight and nearly two submissions. He has finished two fights via submission. No matter where the fight goes, Aspinall isn’t just comfortable but confident.
Spivak poses a stylistic threat to many heavyweights. Instead of the typical stand-and-bang approach many big men use, Spivak prefers to get the fight to the ground. He excels at catching kicks, sweeping his opponent’s leg, getting the takedown, and looking to end the fight with ground and pound or submissions. Spivak averages 2.8 takedowns per fight and has six submission victories. Similar to his opponent, Spivak moves well for his size but still possesses power in his hands. Being so young, Spivak is still growing, and he has the tools to really test the middle and lower-ranked fighters in the division.
Aspinall vs. Spivak prediction
Unfortunately for Spivak, despite Aspinall being ranked only one spot ahead at 13, Aspinall is not a middle to lower-ranked heavyweight, he just needs time to climb the rankings. Aspinall is similar to Ciryl Gane in that he is often faster and more versatile than his opponent. In this matchup, that edge remains intact.
Even if Spivak looks to get the fight to the ground, Aspinall is as good or better than Spivak. On the feet, Aspinall has the edge in speed and power. Spivak does have a good chin; so, I prefer to play Aspinall in parlays; but, as a single play, I like Aspinall to get the finish by knockout or submission.
Prediction: Aspinall inside the distance
Michael Pounders is a high school English Teacher, a boxer himself, and is a fan who loves, gambles on, and nerds out about all things MMA.