Tom Aspinall claimed the interim heavyweight title by delivering a sensational first-round knockout to the formidable Russian powerhouse Sergei Pavlovich.
This victory marked Aspinall as the third British UFC champion in history, joining the ranks of icons like Michael Bisping and Leon Edwards.
Taking the match on just two-and-a-half-weeks notice, Aspinall defeated the man whom he had dubbed the ‘scariest in the UFC.’ He allegedly accepted the match after groggily answering a phone call in the middle of the night.
Aspinall vs Pavlovich was pushed up to main event when Jon Jones’s bout with Stipe Miocic had to be canceled because of his injury.
Aspinall strategically began the match with leg kicks, moving in and out of range to soften up Pavlovich. Despite a solid shot from the Russian that briefly wobbled him, Aspinall quickly recovered and retaliated with decisive strikes of his own.
A powerful right hand to the temple followed by two rapid shots brought Pavlovich down, sealing Aspinall’s victory. The Englishman was emotional after the win and dedicated the belt to his father.
Tom Aspinall 🔥 pic.twitter.com/9RssBabSKE
— MS (@UFC_Obsessed) November 12, 2023
Aspinall stated: “I can’t even tell you (how it feels). It’s been a crazy two and a half weeks. If you ever get a chance to do something and you’re scared to do it– you should f***ing do it.”
Aspinall continued to praise Pavlovich. He said: “He’s a big scary guy. But I have a lot of power too and I believe in myself.”
Considering that both guys have averaged less than three minutes in the Octagon since joining the UFC, an early knockout was anticipated. Pavlovich currently has a record of 18-2 while Aspinall’s record stands at 14-3.
— Hotep Davei 𝕏 (@Davei_Boi) November 12, 2023
As the UFC faces the challenge of Jon Jones’ injury-induced absence from the heavyweight division, it remains to be seen how Aspinall’s interim title will be managed.
Aspinall defending an interim championship would be unusual, and it would be less than ideal if he had to wait months to compete again.
TOM ASPINALL LEAVES HIM LYING! THE UK HAS ANOTHER ONE! 🏆
— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) November 12, 2023
Pereira vs Prochazka
At light-heavyweight, things are a little clearer.
Jamahal Hill recently vacated his belt, leading to Prochazka and Pereira contending for the title. Prochazka got off to a good start, surprising his Brazilian opponent with his unusual style.
However, he took a few low kicks to the calf. It is a powerful weapon of Pereira’s, and the swelling started right away.
But the Czech combatant was smart enough to take the bout to the ground, and he did enough to record the first round victory.
But it didn’t really matter, since Prochazka’s mobility was restricted by Pereira’s leg kicks. Ultimately, the fierce power caught him. Desperate, he dropped to his knees and attempted a takedown.
Then Pereira launched a barrage of elbows, which Marc Goddard intervened to wave off. Many believed that the stoppage was a little too soon, even if Pereira had undoubtedly caused major harm to his man.
Post-victory, Pereira called out Israel Adesanya for a potential showdown. After losing his middleweight title to Sean Strickland, Adesanya said that he intends to take a lengthy vacation. But it’s possible that he may be persuaded to return sooner than expected.
Alternatively, Pereira’s first title defense could be against Hill in the first half of the upcoming year.