Wow. Another win, another first round knockout. After dropping his first (very short notice) bout in the UFC to combat sports legend Allistair Overeem at the age of 25, surging Russian contender Sergei Pavlovich has gone on to take the UFC’s heavyweight division by storm, winning every fight since via first round KO. With his brutal TKO of veteran Curtis Blaydes, Pavlovich extended his own record for consecutive first round knockouts to 6, one shy of the UFC record for consecutive knockouts in any round. Pavlovich once again showed off the nuclear power he possesses in his hands, but what has been overlooked is his technical boxing ability and incredible hand speed for a man who weighed in at just over 260lb on Friday. Pavlovich came in patient, effectively keeping the wrestler out of range by utilizing his 84 inch reach until he was able to wobble him with a jab. It was the beginning of the end for Blaydes as Pavlovich smelled blood in the water and immediately swarmed him with fast combinations before dropping him with an uppercut and finishing off Blaydes on the ground.
An impressive win for sure, as Pavlovich entered the fight as an underdog despite his run through the rest of the division, and was considered by some to have been gifted favorable matchups by the promotion. After such a dominant performance against one of the division’s premiere wrestlers, however, some of those doubts should be cleared up. Which left us as fans with one question, what do we do with him now? Luckily for us, Pavlovich himself answered the question by motioning for the belt and notably asking in English “Where’s my belt?”
Well, we know where it is. Greatest fighter of all time, former light heavyweight Jon Jones currently holds the strap after a one-sided affair with Ciryl Gane and plans on fighting 3 time heavyweight champ Stipe Miocic for his first defense some time this year. But Miocic is a 41 year old man, one who has been in multiple grueling wars over his career. He’s also coming off a more than two year layoff after a brutal knockout loss to former champ Francis Ngannou. While I’m sure Jones would like to ride off into the sunset after beating on an old man, it isn’t the retirement fight we want to see for either man. Instead, we can get the closest thing to the Jones vs. Ngannou fight we always wanted before Francis’ decision to leave the promotion.
Pavlovich vs. Jones has all the makings of a historic fight. On the one hand, Jones could add to his flawless career inside the octagon with a victory over the biggest, hardest hitting, scariest fighter he’s ever faced. On the other hand, Pavlovich is the kind of man who could shock everyone and turn the MMA world upside down by handing Jones his first loss, likely via knockout if it shakes out that way. Power, speed, and relentless pressure vs. experience, grappling, and craftiness. The real-life Ivan Drago vs. the greatest to ever do it? Sign me up.
Feel free to leave a comment on who you’d like to see Jones fight next, what you thought of Pavlovich’s performance, or what you think of the current state of the UFC’s heavyweight division.
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