Tom Aspinall defeated Sergei Pavlovich via knockout (punches), Round 1 - 1:09 at UFC 295 on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023, live from Madison Square Garden in New York City, NY.
"It's been a crazy two and a half weeks. I want to talk to the people back home. If you get offered the chance to do something that scares you to death, you should definitely do it because you never know what can happen... I'm never been so scared. He is a big powerful monster," said Aspinall.
The first round opened with Aspinall landing a pair of leg kicks. Pavlovich landed a powerful shot that stunned Aspinall. Pavlovich came forward but Aspinall did an incredible job getting out of the way with his head movement. Aspinall came back and landed a right hand that landed flush on Pavlovich's temple. He followed it up with an identical shot that dropped Pavlovich. Aspinall landed three hammer fists before the referee could stop the fight.
Pavlovich and Aspinall were not supposed to be on the UFC 295 card. The card was supposed to be headlined by heavyweight champion Jon Jones defending his title against former champion Stipe Miocic. When Jones was forced out of the fight with a torn pec, Pavlovich and Aspinall agreed to fight on short notice for the interim title. Pavlovich and Aspinall entered the fight as two of the best finishers in the UFC. The two entered the fight with identical 6-1 records in the UFC with six finishes. Pavlovich lost his UFC debut but entered with six straight first-round knockouts. Aspinall had five knockouts and one submission victory in his first seven fights.
Several fighters reacted on social media to Aspinall becoming the newest UFC champion.