This past weekend on the main card of UFC Orlando, we saw a battle of heavyweight knockout artists. Tai Tuivasa (15-5) was looking to bounce back after a tough loss to Ciryl Gane when he met the surging Sergei Pavlovich (17-1).
Pavlovich lost his UFC debut to Alistair Overeem but has looked like a destroyer since. Earlier this year, he took on Derrick Lewis in under a minute. While he did that to The Black Beast, I still was leaning towards Tuivasa in this matchup.
Boy was I wrong. In fact, the fight played out almost exactly like the Lewis fight. Pavlovich pushed forward and overwhelmed Tuivasa in the opening minute. His huge power and accurate shots had Tuivasa hurt up against the fence.
With precision, he landed the shots that sent Tuivasa to the canvas. A few additional shots followed and the referee stopped the fight giving Pavlovich the huge win at UFC Orlando.
What’s next after UFC Orlando?
This is a massive win for Sergei Pavlovich and make no mistake about it, he’s a contender in the heavyweight division. He’s near the very top of the division and he’s probably only a win away from challenging for the heavyweight title.
So, what fight is needed for him to get there. There happens to be a perfect opponent for him that would create incredible intrigue. In March at UFC 185, the promotion is targeting a heavyweight title fight between Jon Jones and Francis Ngannou. Unless something changes, I think that fight is going to happen.
On the same card, I think they need to get Pavlovich on there. His opponent needs to be former interim champion Ciryl Gane. Pavlovich’s striking and power meeting Gane’s striking and footwork would be something to behold and is the perfect title eliminator. I think this is the direction the UFC goes in. Sorry Curtis Blaydes.