Headlining UFC Vegas 71 is a massive fight in the heavyweight division that could go a long ways in terms of the title picture. Perennial top contender Curtis “Razor” Blaydes (17-3, 1 NC) will look to stop the massive momentum of powerhouse Sergei Pavlovich (17-1).
Pavlovich made his debut with the UFC back in 2018 and he was undefeated at the time. He lost to Alistair Overeem in his debut. However, since that loss, he’s been unstoppable. Pavlovich has gone 5-0 with five knockouts without a single fight making it to the second round.
His three fights last year were incredibly impressive. He stringed together three first round knockouts against Tai Tuivasa, Derrick Lewis, and Shamil Abdurakhimov. He looks like a monster and looks like a big problem that Blaydes will have to solve.
Curtis Blaydes lost his promotional debut against Francis Ngannou back in 2016. Since then, he’s gone 12-2, 1 NC in 15 fights with the two losses coming by knockout against Derrick Lewis and once again, Francis Ngannou. Blaydes is the guy at heavyweight who should’ve fought for the title at this point, but championship situations have kept him out of that spot.
Now, he’s forced to take on another top contender with the hopes of getting that elusive UFC title shot.
UFC Vegas 71 Prediction
When I look at this fight, I see really only two outcomes. The first outcome involves Pavlovich moving right across the cage, stuffing a takedown attempt or two and finishing Curtis Blaydes in the first round. The other half of me envisions Blaydes controlling where the fight takes place and weathering the early storm.
If Curtis Blaydes can survive the first few minutes at UFC Vegas 71, he’s going to be in good shape. Expect Blaydes to be incredibly cautious with the power of Pavlovich. He’s not going to try and stand for long period of time especially early. If he waits to long, he could get knocked out and we’ve seen him knocked out.
Ultimately, I lean towards Blaydes tomorrow night. I just think his wrestling and grappling will allow him to avoid the power early on and I’m not convinced the gas tank and power lasts for a grinding type of fight for Pavlovich. Eventually, I see Pavlovich breaking down and Blaydes getting a finish with his elbows.
Prediction: Curtis Blaydes by TKO – Round 3