A Look at Serghei Spivak’s Rise in the UFC Heavyweight Division


Serghei Spivak, also known as “The Polar Bear,” is a force to be reckoned with in the UFC’s heavyweight division. The Moldovan fighter has been steadily climbing the rankings with his impressive grappling skills and knockout power. With his recent win against Augusto Sakai and a dominant performance against Derrick Lewis, Spivak has firmly established himself as a contender. This article dives into Spivak’s journey, fighting style, and what lies ahead in his UFC career.

Serghei Spivak

From Moldova to the Octagon: Spivak’s Early Beginnings

Born in Chisinau, Moldova, in 1995, Spivak’s path to MMA wasn’t traditional. There’s not much information available about his early life, but his athletic prowess became evident early on.  Spivak eventually gravitated towards MMA, training at the Polar Bear Team. He honed his skills in various disciplines, with a strong emphasis on wrestling and Sambo.

Spivak turned professional in 2014, competing in various promotions across Europe. He quickly amassed an impressive record, showcasing his well-rounded skillset.  Victories came via knockout, submission, and decision, highlighting his adaptability and ability to finish fights in different ways.

Entering the Big Leagues: Spivak Arrives in the UFC

In 2019, Spivak’s talent caught the attention of the UFC, the world’s premier MMA organization. He made his debut against Tai Tuivasa, a dangerous striker known for his knockout power.  Despite being an underdog, Spivak surprised many by taking the fight to the ground and controlling Tuivasa with his wrestling. Though the fight ended in a draw, it displayed Spivak’s ability to hang with the UFC’s elite.

Spivak followed up his debut with a dominant win over Alexey Semenov, showcasing his powerful striking and slick submission skills.  However, he suffered a setback in his next fight, losing a decision to Walt Harris.  This loss forced Spivak to go back to the drawing board and re-evaluate his approach.

A Resurgence: Spivak’s Rise in the Rankings

Since the Harris loss, Spivak has looked like a different fighter. He seems to have found a perfect balance between his wrestling and striking.  In his last three fights, Spivak has displayed a newfound explosiveness and finishing instinct.

First, he demolished Greg Hardy via first-round knockout, putting the heavyweight division on notice.  Then, in a hard-fought battle against Augusto Sakai, Spivak displayed his resilience and technical striking, eventually stopping Sakai with a TKO in the second round.

This win was followed by a career-defining performance against the highly ranked Derrick Lewis. Spivak surprised everyone by submitting Lewis with an arm-triangle choke in the first round, earning his first “Performance of the Night” bonus.  This victory propelled Spivak into the top 10 of the UFC heavyweight rankings.

Spivak’s Fighting Style: A Blend of Power and Technique

Spivak’s fighting style is a blend of wrestling dominance and powerful striking.  His wrestling background provides him with a strong base for takedowns and controlling opponents on the ground.  His Sambo background complements his wrestling with a variety of throws and submission attempts.

On the feet, Spivak has shown significant improvement.  He throws punches with power and accuracy, utilizing a variety of kicks to keep his opponents at bay.  His striking seems more calculated now, picking his shots and setting up combinations.  Spivak’s biggest weapon on the ground remains his submission grappling.  He possesses a diverse arsenal of chokes and joint locks, always looking to capitalize on any opportunity to finish the fight.

What’s Next for The Polar Bear?

With his recent success, Spivak has positioned himself for a shot at the top contenders in the heavyweight division.  The heavyweight landscape is currently quite fluid, with no clear title challenger emerging.  This presents a great opportunity for Spivak to make a statement in his upcoming fights.

Potential opponents for Spivak include Curtis Blaydes, Tom Aspinall, or even a rematch against Tai Tuivasa.  A win against any of these top contenders would solidify Spivak’s position as a title threat and put him in line for a fight with the winner of the upcoming Stipe Miocic vs. Jon Jones heavyweight title fight.

Spivak is still relatively young in his UFC career, and with his well-rounded skillset and ever-improving striking, the future looks bright.  Fans can expect to see “The Polar Bear” continue to climb the rankings and challenge for the UFC heavyweight championship in the years to come.


What’s Serghei Spivak’s fighting style?

Spivak is a well-rounded fighter with a strong wrestling base. He’s known for his powerful takedowns and good submission skills, boasting a 44% win rate by both knockout and submission.

What’s his record like?

As of May 2024, Spivak holds a respectable record of 16-4-0 (Win-Loss-Draw). That translates to 16 wins, 4 losses, and no draws in his professional MMA career.

Where does he fight in the UFC?

Spivak throws down in the heavyweight division, the UFC’s most brutal weight class. Here, fighters typically tip the scales over 205 lbs.

How’d he get to the UFC?

Spivak began his professional career in 2014, racking up wins in various promotions before landing a UFC contract. He’s proven his mettle with impressive victories.

What’s his nickname and why?

Spivak’s nickname is “The Polar Bear,” likely due to his Moldovan origin and association with strength and resilience, qualities befitting a heavyweight contender.

What’s his biggest win so far?

Spivak has some notable wins, but his victory over Derrick Lewis via first-round submission in February 2023 stands out. This win also earned him his first “Performance of the Night” bonus.

Where does he stand in the heavyweight rankings?

As of March 26, 2024, Spivak sits at a respectable #9 in the UFC heavyweight rankings. This means he’s among the top contenders in the division.

Who is his next fight against?

Spivak’s next opponent hasn’t been officially announced yet. However, with his ranking climbing, expect him to face a tough challenge from another top heavyweight.

Where can I find out more about him?

You can find stats, fight history, and news about Serghei Spivak on various MMA websites like Sherdog and Tapology, as well as the UFC’s official website.

Can I watch his fights?

If you have a UFC Fight Pass subscription, you can likely watch most of Spivak’s past fights. Upcoming fights are usually broadcast on UFC pay-per-view events.

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