Coming into UFC Orlando, Sergei Pavlovich has a bit of momentum behind him care of a win against Derrick Lewis over the summer.
On paper, that’s almost certainly the biggest win of the Russian heavyweight’s career to date. An arguably quick stoppage in their UFC 277 fight, however, has had many calling for a rematch, including “The Black Beast” himself.
And so, before he could even address his match-up with Tai Tuivasa in Orlando this Saturday, Pavlovich (16-1) was already fielding a question about a Lewis rematch during the UFC Orlando media day on Wednesday.
“Yeah, that sounds good to me, why not?” replied the Russian. “No problem.”
It’s another hard hitter in “Bam Bam” Tuivasa, however, that Pavlovich needs to focus on now. While many had expected Tuivasa to take part in next year’s UFC 284 in Perth, Australia, that doesn’t appear to be the case. Asked whether he was surprised to be matched up with the Australian in Florida of all places, Pavlovich said simply that “I was waiting for any of the opponents from the top five.”
At #4, Tuivasa certainly qualifies. And the match-up feels like it could be similar to the Lewis fight: a quick, violent exchange of heavy punches until someone falls down.
“We’ll see. I was preparing for all three rounds, and I’m ready for all three rounds, and the fight will show,” Pavlovich said on that front.
The 30-year old Russian had previously said Lewis was a predictable opponent, and he sees the same in Tuivasa. Predictable or not, however, Tuivasa poses a danger.
“This opponent is predictable, but he’s also he’s also very dangerous. He’s a hard opponent, he’s a tough opponent, so I’m pretty sure that there’s dangers that I have to expect in this fight as well.”
As for Tuivasa’s traditional shoey celebration (drinking beer out of a shoe), don’t expect Sergei Pavlovich to participate, win or lose. “I don’t drink alcohol period.”
Sergei Pavlovich faces Tai Tuivasa at UFC Orlando this Saturday, December 3, 2022. The card airs live on ESPN in the U.S.