The UFC is finally back in at Madison Square Garden 364 days after Alex Pereira knocked out Israel Adesanya in the fifth and final round to become the middleweight champion. He now looks to add another championship to his waist when he stands across the Octagon from the man who never lost his gold, Jiri Prochazka. It took both men just under five fights in the UFC to capture their first titles and now they will look to become the new light heavyweight champion.
After winning the middleweight gold at UFC 281 against Adesanya, Pereira would lose the gold back to them before deciding to move up a weight class to do something his rival couldn't and that win a championship in a new division. Pereira would defeat the first man to beat Adesanya in the UFC, Jan Blachowicz, the former champion by split-decision to earn a shot at his second title in under 10 fights with the UFC.
The former champion Prochazka was originally set to defend his gold against the former champion Glover Teixeira before being injured where he had to relinquish the title. Magomed Ankalaev went the distance with Blachowicz where it was rendered a draw at UFC 282. After Jamahal Hill defeated Teixeira to win the vacant light heavyweight title at UFC 283, he would be forced to vacate after they suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon. This would open the door for Prochazka's injury to be healed in time to be paired against the former middleweight champion, Pereira to attempt to win back the title he never lost.
In the co-main event, the heavyweight title bout that was expected to headline between champion Jon Jones and former champion Stipe Miocic will now be an interim heavyweight title bout between Sergei Pavlovich and Tom Aspinall due to Jones suffering a pectoral muscle injury that would require surgery.
During his entire run with the UFC which spans from his debut back in 2018 where he lost to Alistair Overeem to the six-fight win streak he is currently on, Pavlovich hasn't been past the first round, even in defeat. Pavlovich has spent roughly sixteen minutes in the octagon with TKO wins over prominent heavyweights like Derrick Lewis, Tai Tuivasa, and Curtis Blaydes. Pavlovich holds the UFC record for the longest first-round KO win streak and is tied with Don Frye for the second-longest KO win streak in UFC history, both men being behind Chuck Liddell.
Aspinall is another fighter who rarely gets past the first round, he has only done it once in his UFC run where he finished Andrei Arlovski in the second round. The only loss suffered by Aspinall came at the hands of Curtis Blaydes, despite the small setback, Aspinall has spent around ten minutes inside the octagon to add 5 performances of the night bonuses to his bank account with dominant first-round wins against Jake Collier, Arlovski, Serghei Spivac, Alexander Volkov, and Marcin Tybura.
UFC 295 full betting odds
According to DraftKings, Pereira will come in as the favorite at -122 as he looks to become 3-0 at MSG in the headliner against Prochazka, the +102 underdog for the first time since debuting in the UFC will look to become a two-time light heavyweight champion.
In the co-main event, the No. 2 ranked heavyweight Pavlovich comes in as the favorite at -102 against the No. 4 ranked Aspinall who comes into his first fight as the underdog at +120 where both men will look to win the interim heavyweight championship for a future unification bout against Jon Jones.
The rest of the main card will feature action in the women's strawweight division as Mackenzie Dern is back in the octagon looking to add onto her recent win as the -204 favorite against former champion Jessica Andrade who comes in as the +174 underdog for her second fight in a row after losing back in August to Tatiana Suarez.
In the lightweight division, Matt Frevola looks to extend his three-fight winning streak to four after knocking out Drew Dober as he comes into his third fight as the +187 underdog where he takes on Benoit Saint-Denis, the -222 favorite who comes in with a four-fight winning streak looking to extend it to five after a TKO win in his fight of the night against Thiago Moises.
The opener will be kicked off by the featherweight division as Pat Sabatini, the -122 favorite looks to add another win to his 2023 year as he takes on Diego Lopes, the +102 underdog who looks to end his 2023 with a 2-1 record after getting his first win in the UFC against Gavin Tucker.
Jiri Prochazka (+102) vs. Alex Pereira (-122) - For the vacant light heavyweight title
Sergei Pavlovich (-102) vs. Tom Aspinall (+118) - For the interim heavyweight title
Jessica Andrade (+174) vs. Mackenzie Dern (-204)
Matt Frevola (+187) vs. Benoit Saint Denis (-222)
Diego Lopes (+102) vs. Pat Sabatini (-122)
Stephen Erceg (-198) vs. Alessandro Costa (+164)
Tabatha Ricci (+150) vs. Loopy Godinez (-180)
Mateusz Rebecki (-650) vs. Nurullo Aliev (+470)
Nazim Sadykhov (-122) vs. Viacheslav Borshchev (+102)
Early preliminary card
Jared Gordon (-198) vs. Mark Madsen (+164)
John Castaneda (-130) vs. Kyung Ho Kang (+110)
Joshua Van (-218) vs. Kevin Borjas (+180)
Dennis Buzukja (+215) vs. Jamall Emmer (-265)
Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.