Sergei Pavlovich made quick work with his first-round knockout. All while picking up the biggest win of his career.
In the early moments of the main event of UFC Vegas 71 on Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, the 30-year-old Russian (18-1) faced longtime heavyweight contender Curtis Blaydes (17-4, 1 NC), with a future title shot very possibly at stake. The narrative entering the “UFC Vegas 71” headliner was that of wrestler Blaydes versus Pavlovich the striker, but the American made only one earnest attempt at bringing the fight to the canvas, a double leg in the center of the cage which Pavlovich snuffed out with ease. The rest of the action was conducted entirely on the feet, with both men having their moments of success, but Pavlovich’s advantage in power was glaringly obvious to all, including Blaydes, who never appeared fully comfortable. After a series of exchanges in which Pavlovich’s punches appeared to hurt Blaydes significantly, the ball truly started rolling with a big right uppercut. As Blaydes stumbled, Pavlovich swarmed, dropping him with another right hand, then pouring on punches until referee Marc Goddard had seen enough. The end for Blaydes came officially at 3 minutes, 8 seconds of Round 1.