Sergei Pavlovich scored his sixth consecutive first-round KO in a row, ending the title aspirations of Curtis Blaydes and instilling himself at the top of the heavyweight challengers.
The big Russian’s power was always going to play a role going into the fight. However, betting odds favored Blaydes’ wrestling proficiency and experience at the top of the division. Blaydes, whose chin is known to fail him against explosive punchers, wasn’t in sniffing distance of a takedown.
As the two started off, Pavlovich detonated Blaydes with a right hand that put him on the canvas. A few shots later, Pavlovich found another opening to land a right hand that brought about the end of the fight.
The official time of the stoppage was at the 3:08 mark of the first round.
This win all but secured Pavlovich as the next man up for a heavyweight title shot. That means the winner of the proposed Jon Jones vs. Stipe Miocic clash isn’t going to sleep well knowing this monster is nipping at their heels.
With the win, Pavlovich moves to 18-1. Blaydes sees a three-fight winning streak end, dropping to 17-4.
UFC Vegas 71 full card results
Sergei Pavlovich def. Curtis Blaydes via TKO (punches) at 3:08 of Round 1
Bruno Silva def. Brad Tavares via TKO (punches) at 3:35 of Round 1
Bobby Green vs. Jared Gordon ruled a no-contest due to an accidental headbutt
Iasmin Lucindo def. Brogan Walker via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Jeremiah Wells def. Matthew Semelsberger via split decision (30-27, 28-29, 30-27)
Christos Giagos def. Ricky Glenn via KO (punch) at 1:35 of Round 1
Montel Jackson def. Rani Yahya via KO (punches) at 3:42 of Round 1
Norma Dumont def. Karol Rosa via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Mohammed Usman def. Junior Tafa via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
William Gomis def. Francis Marshall via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Brady Hiestand def. Batgerel Danaa via TKO (punches) at 4:21 of Round 3