Tom Aspinall makes UFC 295 vow ahead of Sergei Pavlovich fight

The Briton faces the Russian for the interim heavyweight title at Madison Square Garden on Saturday

Alex Pattle
Combat Sports Correspondent
Thursday 09 November 2023 15:46 GMT
UFC champion Alex Volkanovski opens up on mental health after loss

Tom Aspinall has vowed that “someone is getting finished” in his fight with Sergei Pavlovich on Saturday, when the pair clash for the interim UFC heavyweight title.

Aspinall will bid to become Britain’s third ever UFC champion when he faces Pavlovich in the co-main event of UFC 295, which takes place at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Aspinall’s bout with the Russian was arranged after the original main event, between heavyweight champion Jon Jones and divisional great Stipe Miocic, was cancelled when Jones suffered an injury.

Ahead of UFC 295, Aspinall spoke to Britain’s first UFC champion Michael Bisping, who noted the similarities between the 30-year-old’s record and that of Pavlovich, 31.

Bisping, who held the middleweight title from 2016 until 2017, said: “You’re 6-1 in the UFC, and the ‘1’ – let’s be honest – is because you injured your own knee. Can’t take away from Curtis Blaydes’s achievement; you both went in there, we know the rest. Sergei Pavlovich is 6-1 in the UFC as well, so there’s a lot of similarities there.

“You’ve finished all of your opponents in either the first round or the second round; he’s finished all of his opponents [in the first round] as well. How does this fight go down?”

“Listen to this stat as well,” Aspinall replied. “I’m the guy in the UFC with the shortest fight [time] average; he’s the guy in the UFC with the second-shortest fight average. That’s wild, isn’t it?

“Someone’s getting finished, aren’t they? That’s inevitable. That goes without saying. You can’t look at Pavlovich’s fights and be like: ‘This is what he’s bad at, and this is what he’s good at.’ So far in the UFC, he’s barely put a foot wrong, so you can’t look at him and be like: ‘This is where I’m gonna take advantage.’

“I think the biggest issue that he’s got is: I move unlike any other heavyweight, I do things completely different and unconventional to everybody else. He’s not gonna be expecting things that I do.

“I don’t just stand in front and bang, flat footed like a lot of these other heavyweights. I do multiple attacks, multiple fakes, I can grapple, I can strike, I can do all of it. So, that’s the biggest advantage I’ve got over him: He’s got no idea what I can really bring to the table.”

Aspinall last fought in July, beating Marcin Tybura via TKO in the first round at London’s O2 Arena. Twelve months earlier, Aspinall suffered a knee injury in the very same venue, losing to Blaydes just 17 seconds into their bout. That result marked the Wigan heavyweight’s first loss in the UFC.

Overall, Aspinall’s professional record stands at 13-3, with all of his wins having come via stoppage, while Pavlovich is 18-1 and has 15 stoppage wins. The Russian lost his UFC debut in 2018, when he was beaten by Alistair Overeem in Round 1, but he has won every fight since via first-round KO/TKO.

Click here to subscribe to The Independent’s Sport YouTube channel for all the latest sports videos.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in