Sergei Pavlovich showcased his impressive form once again as he extended his unbeaten run with a fifth consecutive first-round knockout win. He faced a daunting challenge in the form of fourth-ranked Curtis Blaydes, who is known for his dominant wrestling and ground-and-pound.
Pavlovich had already defeated fan favorites Derrick Lewis and Tai Tuivasa in 2022, earning him the third ranking spot at the heavyweight category. However, his lone career loss in his UFC debut in 2018 against Alistair Overeem raised questions about his ability to withstand a takedown-oriented gameplan. Blaydes, being a wrestler with a similar style, presented a formidable test for Pavlovich.
On the other hand, Blaydes had only lost to heavy punchers in the UFC, which made it an intriguing matchup.
The bout started with both sizing each other up in the center. Pavlovich threw with bad intentions, but he remained composed. Blaydes countered with some good right hands, hitting Pavlovich and forcing him to take a step back. Despite Blaydes’ guard being high, Pavlovich landed a few shots that got through.
— UFC (@ufc) April 23, 2023
Two minutes into the action, Pavlovich connected with a big overhand right that dropped Blaydes to his stomach, but he quickly got back up.
Sergei Pavlovich par TKO au 1er round 🔥
6 KO consécutifs au 1er round à l'UFC ✅
— ActuMMA (@actu_mma) April 23, 2023
Blaydes tried to recover by shooting a takedown, but Pavlovich effortlessly defended it. Pavlovich continued to land his jab and uppercut, slowly but surely wearing Blaydes down.
Halfway through the first round, Blaydes found himself hurt, but he managed to recover momentarily. However, Pavlovich’s combination of hooks and uppercuts proved too much for Blaydes to handle, as he eventually fell to his knees. Blaydes tried to turtle up and defend himself, but the referee had to step in to stop the bout.
With this impressive victory, Sergei Pavlovich earned a title shot, likely against the winner of the Jon Jones vs. Stipe Miocic. His six straight wins by first-round knockout is an unparalleled feat in the UFC, which cannot be ignored.
Sergei Pavlovich proved once again why he is considered one of the most exciting heavyweights in the UFC. His ability to finish fights early and decisively has earned him a well-deserved title shot. However, his upcoming opponent will likely present a greater challenge, and he will need to continue to improve his game to come out on top. Regardless, fans can look forward to seeing more explosive performances from this rising star in the near future.
Since 2014, Benny A. King has been fully immersed in the world of combat sports. Starting with a blog about Greco Roman wrestling, Benny’s passion for combat sports has led him to explore various disciplines.