Hot knockout artist Sergei Pavlovich looked to extend his five-fight first round knockout streak against dominant wrestler Curtis Blaydes at UFC Vegas 71.
Pavlovich stormed his way to the third ranking spot at heavyweight with wins over fan favorites Derrick Lewis and Tai Tuivasa in 2022. However, waiting for him near the top was fourth-ranked Curtis Blaydes, a dominant wrestler with brutal ground and pound. Pavlovich’s lone loss in his career was his UFC debut in 2018 when Alistair Overeem was able to take him down and pound him out. That gameplan is generally what Blaydes brings to fights, so the match-up seemed likely to test Sergei’s growth since his lone career loss.
Meanwhile, Blaydes had only ever lost to monstrous punchers in the UFC, so it remained to be seen how he would deal with another one in Pavlovich.
When the big men met in the center Pavlovich started throwing with bad intentions pretty soon, but he was still reserved. Blaydes stood and struck with him, hitting the Russian with some good counter right hands early on. With his guard high Blaydes took many shots on his forearms but some got through. Two minutes into the fight a big overhand right from Sergei dropped Blaydes to his stomach but only for a moment before he sprung back up.
Halfway through the round Blaydes found himself hurt, but recovered. After that he shot a takedown which was easily defended by Pavlovich. The jab and uppercut of Pavlovich began to find the mark consistently and they simply wore Curtis Blaydes down until he fell to his knees after eating one more massive combination of hooks and uppercuts. Blaydes had to turtle up and just eat short strikes for a few seconds until the referee stepped in.
With that victory, Sergei Pavlovich likely earned a title shot, presumably against the winner of Jon Jones vs. Stipe Miocic. The impressive, hard-hitting Russian striker now has six straight wins by first round knockout, an unparalleled streak in the UFC. A run like that cannot be ignored.
Official Result: Sergei Pavlovich def. Curtis Blaydes by TKO (punches), Round 1, 3:08