UFC Vegas 71: Sergei Pavlovich defeated Curtis Blaydes.
Sergei Pavlovich defeated Curtis Blaydes via TKO (strikes), Round 1 – 3:08 at UFC Vegas 71 on Saturday, April 22, 2023, live from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, NV.
"Thank you very much. You don't understand how hard I was working. Hopefully, I get a bonus. And hey, where is my belt? Big respect to Curtis Blaydes but some were saying that he was going to easily take me down," said Pavlovich with the help of a translator.
Pavlovich rocked Blaydes with a right hand that was partially blocked. The two exchanged powerful punches. Every punch looked like it would knock another heavyweight out. Pavlovich landed another right hand that briefly dropped Blaydes. Following a leg kick from Blaydes, Pavlovich landed a jab that appeared to hurt Blaydes. Pavlovich backed up Blaydes who was able to survive and had his takedown attempt stuffed. Blaydes looked at the clock and saw more than two minutes remaining as Pavlovich continued to land his jab.
The finish started with an uppercut that again hurt Blaydes. Pavlovich continued unleashing a combination that dropped Blaydes. With Blaydes attempting to cover up, Pavlovich landed several powerful punches. Referee Marc Goddard stepped in and stopped the fight.
Pavlovich scored his sixth straight first-round knockout with the victory over Blaydes, to set a new UFC record. Pavlovich entered Las Vegas as the UFC's third-ranked heavyweight. Saturday's victory should earn Pavlovich a future title fight against heavyweight champion Jon Jones. Pavlovich's career record now sits at 18-1, with 15 knockouts.
Blaydes entered the Octagon on Saturday as the heavyweight division's fourth-ranked fighter. The loss snapped Blaydes' three-fight winning streak. Blaydes' career record dropped to 17-4, with one no-contest with the loss to Pavlovich. Despite the loss, Blaydes should remain one of the top heavyweights in the world. Any up-and-coming heavyweight will likely have to prove themselves against Blaydes.