Curtis Blaydes expected Tom Aspinall to beat Sergei Pavlovich at UFC 295 – but not like that

Curtis Blaydes thinks Sergei Pavlovich gave Tom Aspinall too much space to work.

Aspinall (14-3 MMA, 7-1 UFC) knocked out Pavlovich (18-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) in 69 seconds to claim the interim heavyweight title at UFC 295.

Aspinall’s lone octagon loss came to Blaydes by TKO in July 2022, when his knee blew out just 15 seconds into the fight. Having fought both Aspinall and Pavlovich before, Blaydes (17-4 MMA, 12-4 UFC) picked Aspinall to win, but was surprised at the quick blitz through knockout artist Pavlovich.

“Going in, I did have Aspinall winning, but I didn’t think it would happen in the fashion that it did happen,” Blaydes told Middle Easy. “I thought he would out-technique him and just be a smarter fighter. I expected Sergei to be a lot more aggressive. That was one of the biggest things. He allowed Aspinall to get bouncing, get moving, and gave him space.

“That’s one of the differences between fighting at the Apex and using a standard octagon – a lot more space, a lot harder to be aggressive when there are angles you can take. I think that was the beginning of the end when he allowed Aspinall the freedom of movement.”

Many are touting Aspinall to potentially be the one to beat UFC heavyweight champion Jon Jones, and Blaydes doesn’t rule out that possibility. He thinks anyone can win a fight at heavyweight.

“It’s heavyweight,” Blaydes said. “Anybody can beat anybody. Sergei can beat Jon. I can beat Jon. It’s whoever gets hit in the face first. That’s really all it is. Regardless of the skill, and technique, and experience, and all that, heavyweight there is one equalizer; power. Power beats skill. Power beats speed. Power at heavyweight is everything and every heavyweight has power. It’s a prerequisite.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 295.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie