Tom Aspinall took the match against Sergei Pavlovich at the last minute. He was on vacation and not in training when the UFC called him. But the offer of an interim title is not to be turned down, so the young heavyweight from Britain accepted the challenge. And it really was a challenge. Pavlovich was able to knock out 6 of his last opponents, all in the first round.
But Aspinall was not intimidated by this and donated his own medicine to the Russian fighter. Tom started the match actively, being light on his feet and kicking the opponent with hard lowkicks. But it was Pavlovich who first hit the chin well with a left hook and shook Aspinall a bit. But he didn’t panic, he got rid of the pressure with a good movement and continued shelling.
Only a moment later, however, the young Brit returned it with interest. He made a quick combination and hit Pavlovich with a back straight to the temple. Sergeiov’s legs shook and when Tom saw this, he rushed in with another blow from behind, sending him unconscious to the ground. The next three hard hammers were not absolutely necessary, but the British fighter continued to attack until the referee separated him from his stunned opponent.
Tom was over the moon celebrating his first UFC title. “I can’t even describe it to you Joe. It’s been a crazy 2 and a half weeks. I want to tell everyone at home – if you ever get a chance to do something and you’re scared to do it, you should damn well do it. Because there is a chance that it will pay off.”
“He’s a big, scary guy. I’ve never been more scared in my life than I was fighting this guy.” Tom admitted in a post-match interview. “But you know, I also have a lot of strength and I believe in myself, I really do. I’ve worked very hard on myself over the years. And this guy here, my dad, worked harder than anybody else. So this belt is dedicated to my dad.”
“To be honest, I struggled a bit with the distance. I thought his arms were really long, so I felt a little weird, but we managed it in the end.” the new interim champion rejoiced at the end.
And what did his colleagues in the Octagon say about his sensational performance?
“Tom, congratulations on the interim championship. That was an amazing performance!” wrote likely future opponent and current injured champion Jon Jones shortly after the match.
“The KO shook me. Speed and power kill,” written by Max Holloway.
“There’s power, there’s speed and there’s good boxing. No one in the heavyweight division is better than him in those aspects, let alone having all three at once.” analyzed Aspinall’s success by Alan Jouban.
“When I first saw Tom Aspinall in England years ago, I knew he was going to be the future of the heavyweight division. Him vs. Jon Jones is going to be an epic matchup.” written by Javid Basharat.
“Wow, Tom cooked it! I admit I was wrong,” Derek Brunson stated.
“And that’s why we watch the heavy division matches,” commented Jalin Turner.