Sergei Pavlovich has been revealed as the backup fighter for the Jon Jones vs. Ciryl Gane main event at UFC 285.
Last Saturday, UFC president Dana White announced that a backup fighter had been chosen for the Jones vs. Gane main event, but did not disclose it was the streaking Pavlovich. Ali Abdelaziz, who represents Pavlovich, would announce via ESPN that his client is indeed on deck if either Jones or Gane are unable to make the ring for their heavyweight title fight.
Though it’s unlikely Pavlovich will make the card, he’s a ferocious substitute. He has scored five straight finishes in the first round, most recently dispatching Tai Tuivasa last Decemer in just 54 seconds. While Pavlovich is scheduled to face Curtis Blaydes on the April 22 edition of UFC Fight Night, that could change if fate pulls his card and finds himself fighting for the heavyweight title.
In order to be eligible to compete, Pavlovich will have to weigh in under the 265 pound limit.
Miocic, Blaydes speculation led to Pavlovich reveal
Around the same time White played coy on the alternate’s identity, it was reported that both Miocic and Blaydes would be ringside for the major card this weekend. This led to speculation that Stipe Miocic and Curtis Blaydes’ ringside seats were a cover that they were the alternates.
Conspiracy theorists weren’t reaching too hard, especially if they’ve been following the news cycle.
Jones and Miocic have repeatedly spoken about the possibility of a fight down the line. Jones went as far as to say he’d be “honored” to face Miocic should he defeat Gane. Miocic has been making efforts to increase his visibility after going silent following his defeat to Francis Ngannou.
Blaydes is the next highest-rated fighter aside from Miocic. The winner between Blaydes and Pavlovich this April will likely be next for whoever comes out on top of the Jones-Gane-Miocic round robin that should define the top of the heavyweight division for the next year or so.