Sergei Pavlovich and Tom Aspinall are set to face off tonight for the interim heavyweight championship in the co-main event for UFC 295 betting. Jon Jones was originally scheduled to defend his title against Stipe Miocic at this event, but after he withdrew with an injury, Pavlovich and Aspinall stepped in as replacements.
This might be an even better matchup since Pavlovich and Aspinall are younger, more active, and have been steamrolling opponents. UFC odds have Aspinall as a slim -125 favorite with Pavlovich installed at +100.
Here are my best free Pavlovich vs. Aspinall picks and predictions for November 11.
Sergei Pavlovich vs Tom Aspinall fight odds
Sergei Pavlovich vs Tom Aspinall method of victory odds
|Method of Victory
|To win by KO/TKO
|To win by points
|To win by submission
Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook on November 11, 2023.
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Sergei Pavlovich vs Tom Aspinall picks
Fight prediction: Pavlovich ML
I'm not placing much confidence in two prevalent narratives as I enter this fight.
The first is that Aspinall will be at a significant disadvantage because he took this fight on short notice while Pavlovich was preparing to be the backup fighter for Jones vs Miocic.
Although this isn't an ideal situation for Aspinall, it won't be as much of a detriment as it was for Alexander Volkanovski when he stepped in to challenge for the lightweight title at UFC 294. Although Aspinall doesn't get a full camp, he did have 17 days to prepare (as opposed to 11 for Volkanovski). Since he typically weighs well below the 265-pound limit, he won't be drained by a grueling cut (unlike Volk who shed 26 pounds).
The second narrative I'm not buying is that Pavlovich will get destroyed on the mat because of his loss to Overeem, where he was taken down and finished with ground and pound in the first round.
That fight happened five years ago and Pavlovich was taken down via an unorthodox trip position from a Thai clinch. However, Pavlovich has a background in Greco-Roman wrestling and has generally displayed good takedown defense in the past. He had also been training with Khabib Nurmagomedov and Daniel Cormier prior to his fight against the wrestling-heavy Curtis Blaydes in April and was continuing to work on that part of his game in case he had replaced Miocic to face Jones.
While Aspinall will have a significant grappling advantage if this fight goes to the mat, Pavlovich should do a better job of keeping this fight standing up than many seem to think. With this fight standing up, his hands and incredible power should be the difference maker.
Although Aspinall is the more technical boxer, he did eat two shots to the head by Blaydes in the first 15 seconds of their fight last year before suffering a knee injury. He's also shown a worrying tendency to leave his hands low and back out of exchanges in a straight line with his chin up.
Pavlovich is a far more precise and powerful striker than Blaydes and his 84-inch reach (six more than Aspinall) will be a massive advantage as well. If he lands the kind of shots that inferior strikers were able to against Aspinall, he'll hurt the Brit and go in for the kill.
Back the Russian here.
Prediction: Pavlovich moneyline (+100 at PointsBet)
Fight best bet: Pavlovich by KO/TKO
Anything can happen in MMA, and we saw that last week when Jailton Almeida vs. Derrick Lewis shockingly went the full 25 minutes. That said, Aspinall and Pavlovich are first and third in UFC history in average fight time, so it makes sense to bet whichever fighter you like to win inside the distance.
Sergei Pavlovich and Tom Aspinall are No. 2 and No. 1, respectively, for shortest average fight time among active UFC fighters regardless of weight class. 🤯— Shakiel Mahjouri (@Shak_Fu) November 8, 2023
Aspinall is No. 1 all time and Pavlovich is No. 3 all time. Shout out to Drew McFedries (No. 2 all-time) pic.twitter.com/7E35FigzSc
Pavlovich uses his incredible reach-to-height ratio (his ape index of +9 inches is the greatest in the UFC) to fire straights and his overhand punches are devastating as well. Opponents often have a tough time gauging the distance on his punches and think they are out of reach before getting clipped on the end of his shots.
It will take time for Aspinall to figure out proper distance-management here and Pavlovich will make him pay in those early exchanges. Aspinall has the tools to win with his lateral movement, athleticism, and grappling. That said, Pavlovich's incredible reach and power are equalizers here and if he wins this fight, it will almost definitely be by way of knockout.
In a clash that should be a pick'em, being able to take Pavlovich at +130 to win by KO/TKO is where the value lies.
Pick: Pavlovich by KO/TKO (+130 at bet365)
Not intended for use in MA.
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Sergei Pavlovich vs Tom Aspinall betting preview
Sergei Pavlovich is the No. 2 ranked contender and is coming off a first-round knockout against Top-5 heavyweight Curtis Blaydes. That was the sixth consecutive first-round finish for Pavlovich, who earned four Performance of the Night bonuses during that span.
The former Fight Nights Global heavyweight champ suffered his first career defeat when he was knocked out by Alistair Overeem in his UFC debut in 2018 but hasn't lost since.
Pavlovich has a background in Greco-Roman wrestling and sambo but has relied on his striking in the UFC. He has powerful and accurate boxing along with a gargantuan 84-inch reach.
Tom Aspinall is two spots behind Pavlovich in the heavyweight rankings. He's fresh off a first-round knockout win against Marcin Tybura in July where he proved that he was fully recovered from a knee injury that caused him to lose to Blaydes last year.
That freak injury against Blaydes resulted in the only defeat that Aspinall has suffered in the UFC, with the British fighter going 6-1 in the promotion with five Performance of the Night bonuses and every win coming inside the first two rounds.
The 30-year-old is a very well-rounded fighter that can win wherever the fight goes. He has excellent technical boxing ability with quick hands and knockout power, while also boasting a strong grappling game and high-end submission skills.
Sergei Pavlovich vs Tom Aspinall tale of the tape
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