Heavyweight contender Curtis Blaydes will make his return to the octagon this April.
“Razor” Blaydes (17-3, 1NC), who was most recently in action last July at UFC London, will headline the promotion’s April 22, 2023 Fight Night event against Russian Sergei Pavlovich (17-1).
UFC broadcaster ESPN was first to report news of the booking. The fight has been brewing for a while, with Blaydes saying weeks ago that “I am the better striker and the better grappler, the better athlete.”
Pavlovich confirmed the booking on social media on Wednesday.
Blaydes will return to action just shy of nine months on from his London fight with Tom Aspinall, which ended early and under unfortunate circumstances when the British heavyweight was hobbled by a knee injury.
Prior to that, Blaydes had picked up wins over Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Chris Daukaus. The 31-year old has won seven of his past eight fights, and may be the biggest beneficiary of Francis Ngannou’s exit from the UFC. Blaydes had twice lost to the former UFC heavyweight champion.
Training with American Top Team of late, Pavlovich has won five straight, with the only defeat of his professional career coming against Alistair Overeem in his UFC debut. In his recent run, he’s finished some big names, mainly Derrick Lewis and Tai Tuivasa.
Blaydes sits ranked #4 in the weight class, while Pavlovich is #3 in the UFC’s official rankings.
The UFC’s April 22, 2023 Fight Night event does not yet have a venue or location officially announced. The following match-ups have been reported for the card:
- Curtis Blaydes vs. Sergei Pavlovich
- Karol Rosa vs. Norma Dumont
- Iasmin Lucindo vs. Melissa Martinez
- Bobby Green vs. Jared Gordon
- Song Yadong vs. Ricky Simón
- Francis Marshall vs. William Gomis
- Priscila Cachoeira vs. Karine Silva
- Brad Tavares vs. Bruno Silva
- Christos Giagos vs. Ricky Glenn
- Danaa Batgerel vs. Brady Hiestand
- Carlos Candelario vs. Rafael Estevam