If UFC required champs and title challengers to compete at least 1x a year to be eligible for title fights then Pavlovich vs Blaydes would be the title fight and the last Jones fight and Stipe’s next fight would just be money fights. However UFC loves to use the titles as promotional tools rather than something like a world championship that everyone gets the same opportunity to win.
At any rate, even if he returns later, Jones likely “retires” after he beats Stipe and Stipe likely legit retires as well so the winner of this Pavlovich vs Blaydes fight will be fighting in the next UFC HW title fight vs someone like Gane/Aspinall/Volkov who wins a fight this summer or fall.
So this weekend, 17-1 Pavlovich vs 17-3 Blaydes.
Pavlovich had a rare 2 1/2 year absence from the UFC but returned last year and went 3-0 to add to his existing 2 fight win streak.
Blaydes has never had less than two fights a year in his UFC career and is 13-3 in the UFC and riding a 3 fight win streak.
Pavlovich has 14 first round KO’s in 17 wins. His five fight win streak is by all first round KO’s.
Should be a good one. One of the better HW fights put together in a while.
I first saw Pavlovich fight on the main card of the Fight Nights Global card where Fedor fought Maldonado. “What the hell is going on in the octagon?”.
First saw Blaydes in his UFC debut vs Ngannou and thought both he and Ngannou were prospects to really keep an eye on and noticed how young and athletic they were compared to most of the UFC HW division. Different skillsets sure but both made a big impression in that first fight even if it wasn’t pretty.
Whoever wrote the script for this video fucked up, called Blaydes a former UFC title challenger…never happened. Fire that guy, Dana, well don’t do that but tell him he fucked up or something. Ask him if he wants to be a fucking UFC promo writer.
I’m excited for it
Currently leaning towards Sergei
As UFC was never able to sign Fedor, Aleks, Kharitonov, Isaev, Minakov, Goltsov etc… if Pavlovich wins the HW title he would become the first Russian champ in UFC HW history.
Sure Taktarov won a tourny but he lost in when he fought Shamrock for the Superfight belt which was the precursor to the UFC HW title.
If Jones is only gonna do one more fight…I’d much rather see Jones vs Pavlovich than Jones vs Stipe.
Chael has a theory that Jones defends vs Stipe and then sees if someone can defend the title a couple times and build a name and then he will return from retirement like GSP and attempt to win the belt again like GSP. Very possible. As Dana says, lets see how this thing plays out.