Since arriving in the UFC in 2018, Pavlovich suffered his first career loss at the hands of Alistair Overeem, went on a six-fight KO/TKO winning streak, and now finds himself on the cusp of winning a title.
Even with the loss to Overeem in the beginning, it was clear he had immense talent. While his height of six feet and three inches is modest for the heavyweight division, his reach is listed at 84 inches, which is a significant advantage for a striker.
Combine his length with his power and it is not shocking that he has only been to decision three times. Even less surprising is that all 15 of his KO/TKO victories have come in the first round.
Cardio has not been an issue for Pavlovich to this point, but his level of opponent has largely been beneath him and strictly striking affairs seem to be more manageable in that realm. Bouts that consist of wrestling, grappling, and transitions tend to empty the gas tank for many fighters who are not used to the frantic pace.
Aspinall did not make his way to the UFC until 2020, facing Jake Collier and Alan Baudot within the year. This is where Aspinall diverged from Pavlovich's path. While they have the same number of fights in the UFC, the caliber of opponents Aspinall faced has increased. Pavlovich cannot say the same.
Sergei Pavlovich vs. Tom Aspinall fight statistics and prediction
Both fighters land more than seven significant strikes per minute, with Pavlovich landing north of eight per minute. That metric itself is not a significant discrepancy, but Aspinall's accuracy rate of 67 percent for those strikes is more than 17 points higher than Pavlovich's.
Based on striking merits alone, this fight would probably still be lined as even, with a slight power advantage going to Pavlovich. To date, Pavlovich has completed zero takedowns in his UFC career. That is a significant disadvantage when compared to Aspinall's average of nearly four takedowns per 15 minutes, which he has completed on every attempt.
The final factor will be Aspinall's significant advantage on ground, where he averages nearly two submission attempts per 15 minutes. This may even prove more significant if Pavlovich overextends with his long reach, giving Aspinall an opportunity to get to the hips for a takedown or a backpack situation.
Pavlovich likely has the strength to force his way out of uncomfortable positions for a round or two, but that extra effort will lead to exhaustion.
Final prediction: Aspinall by submission in the third round.