MMAOB staff writer Adam Martin takes a deeper look at the main event of UFC Vegas 71, a five-round heavyweight bout between Curtis Blaydes and Sergei Pavlovich. The event takes place on Saturday, April 22 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Curtis Blaydes (-175)
Blaydes (17-3, 1 NC) is the No. 4 ranked heavyweight in the UFC. The 32-year-old American is 12-3, 1 NC overall in the UFC with seven of those wins coming by way of knockout. Ever since joining the UFC, he has been fighting elite competition. Blaydes has arguably the best takedowns in the weight class, he has good striking, and his cardio is great. He is one of the best fighters to have never fought for the UFC heavyweight title. If he gets past Pavlovich this weekend at UFC Vegas 71, then Blaydes may finally get his chance to step into the cage and fight for the belt that he covets.
Sergei Pavlovich (+150)
Pavlovich (17-1) is the No. 3 ranked heavyweight in the UFC. The 30-year-old Russian is 5-1 in the UFC since making his debut back in 2018, with all five of his wins coming by knockout after losing via TKO to Alistair Overeem in his debut. He is one of the most powerful punchers in all of the UFC heavyweight division and his KO power makes him a true threat to win the title. That being said, we still need to find out more about Pavlovich, including how his takedown defense will hold up and seeing how his cardio is in a five-round fight. There is certainly a lot of intrigue here when it comes to Pavlovich, but he still has a lot to prove if he wants to be a true title contender at 265lbs.
Fight Breakdown: This should be a good fight for as long as it lasts. Pavlovich will be dangerous early, and his win condition here is a first-round KO, which is obviously possible considering how much power he packs in his fists. That being said, if he doesn’t knock out Blaydes in the first round, I expect Pavlovich to tire as this fight goes on. Blaydes has some of the best wrestling and best cardio in the heavyweight division and I expect him to use both of those weapons if this fight makes it out of the first round, which I believe it will. As the fight gets extended, I see Blaydes taking Pavlovich down to the mat, beating him up with ground and pound, and winning via late TKO.
Prediction: Curtis Blaydes via TKO