Russian heavyweight Sergei Pavlovich lost to Briton Tom Aspinall in the second minute of the fight and failed to become the interim champion of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in the heavy division. Sports bitterly recounts our knockout man's quick (and dispiriting) performance at the big show in New York.
Five years later, November 2018. Undefeated Sergei Pavlovich goes to China to make his debut in the main MMA promotion in the world. It all ended in tears: the Russian was thrown under former UFC champion Alistair Overeem, who overpowered the league newcomer and inflicted the first defeat in his career on the native of the Rostov region. And at the time of the fight with Aspinall – the last. After the failure in Beijing, Sergei turned into a real killer, with whom opponents entered the cage not to fight, but to survive. Marcelo Golm, Maurice Greene, compatriot Shamil Abdurakhimov, former title challenger Derrick Lewis, Tai Tuivasa and Curtis Blaydes – no one lasted longer than a round with Pavlovich, the matter always ended in a knockout.
Thus, Sergei not only earned the status of one of the toughest fighters in the UFC – he began to be compared with Fedor Emelianenko himself. Equally modest and not liking trash talk, equally dominant and cold-blooded… Who, if not the Russian, deserved to fight for the interim UFC belt after Jon Jones tore his pectoral muscle and was out for eight months?
69 seconds I would like to write , that so much time was enough for Sergei to score another knockout and go on to an impressive seven-match win streak! However, Pavlovich left the cage as a loser – as in the meeting with Alexander Volkov, the Briton was not afraid of the “big Russian” and amazed the Madison Square Garden arena with a stunning finish.
The challenger from Russia started the fight in a classic way: he threw in his punches and seemed to slightly shake his opponent with a smashing attack. However, gaps in protection affected. As in previous fights, Sergei opened up and this time was punished: Aspinall unhindered two crushing blows from the right to the head, and then finished off the almost passed out Pavlovich.
The fight, as expected, did not last until the break – the new interim UFC champion still has a 100% early win rate (14 out of 14).
“Emotions cannot be expressed in words. It was a crazy 2.5 weeks. God, I just want to tell everyone that if you have a chance to do something, but you are afraid, you should take the risk because it may pay off. Pavlovich is a big scary guy. I have never been so afraid as before this fight. But I also hit hard, I believe in myself… I worked hard for many years, and my father worked even harder with me. “I dedicate this victory to him,” said a tearful Aspinall with gold around his waist.
Time zone protection? Absurd There will be no Jones VS Aspinall poster. “Bony” will recover from injury and fight against Stipe Miocic – after this confrontation, the older Americans will retire, and the Briton will automatically become the absolute champion. But what should Tom do before that? Waiting for Jones to return is too long, and defending the interim belt is the strangest move possible, which the promotion is unlikely to explain to fans.
Not an easy task for Dana White.
Pavlovich is waiting for a new campaign for the “title”. Now the defeated Russian should rest, and then, together with the management, choose the best option for rehabilitation for the defeat in New York. The list of potential opponents will include the Frenchman Cyril Gan, the Brazilian Gilton Almeida… And, it is possible, compatriot Volkov, who is again approaching the top of the heavy division.