Sergei Pavlovich to serve as UFC 295 heavyweight title backup

Jul 30, 2022; Dallas, TX, USA; Sergei Pavlovich (blue gloves) reacts after defeating Derrick Lewis (not pictured) in a heavyweight bout during UFC 277 at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

UFC 295 features a historic matchup for the heavyweight title. Jon Jones (27-1, 1 NC) will look to defend his heavyweight title for the first time as he takes on the most decorated heavyweight champion in the history of the promotion in Stipe Miocic (20-4).

The bout will be Miocic’s first bout since March 2021 while Jones will be fighting for the second time this year after submitting Ciryl Gane earlier this year to become heavyweight champion. While Miocic is certainly deserving of the shot because of his history, there’s another top heavyweight that was certainly deserving of the shot.

That heavyweight is knockout artist Sergei Pavlovich (18-1). Pavlovich has won six fights in a row after dropping his UFC debut. It’s not just the fact that Pavlovich has won six fights in a row, it’s the fact that he’s finished all six opponents in the first round. In the eyes of most, he’s the active number one contender in the heavyweight division right now.

While he’s not getting the title shot, Pavlovich will be in New York and he will hit the scales per a report that dropped yesterday.

UFC 295 Backup

Igor Lazorin reported on Instagram yesterday that Pavlovich will be serving as the backup to the Jones – Miocic heavyweight title fight. So, should Jones or Miocic have any last minute issues and they end up out of the heavyweight title fight, Pavlovich will be in New York ready to step in.

It’s actually the second time in a row that Pavlovich has served as the backup for the heavyweight title fight. Pavlovich was the backup for UFC 285 when Jones fought Ciryl Gane. While it’s nice that Pavlovich will be there as the backup, initially my hope was that he’d fight Tom Aspinall on the card to establish a true top contender.

That said, there are rumors that Jones and Miocic might both retire win or lose in November. Should they both retire, the promotion would likely book a Pavlovich – Aspinall bout for the vacant heavyweight title in early 2024.