UFC 295 Co-Main Event Breakdown

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30 years ago, the sports landscape in the United States consisted of baseball, football, basketball and hockey. As far as combat sports were concerned, boxing and kickboxing were all that existed. In November of 1993, a little combat sport that could, MMA, was introduced to the masses. The UFC‘s beginnings were humble, with limited distribution on television for pay-per-views. Nobody could have ever fathomed the behemoth that mixed martial arts would eventually become in the aftermath of UFC 1 on the night of Nov. 12, 1993 in Denver at the now-closed McNichol Sports Arena.

What began as a one-shot deal that autumn night has grown into a worldwide phenomenon with 669 lifetime events to its credit. Its 670th event is an anniversary party three decades in the making.

UFC’s 30th Anniversary Commemorated with Interim Heavyweight Championship in UFC 295 Co-Main Event

Madison Square Garden, known as The World’s Most Famous Arena, plays host to its annual UFC pay-per-view event this weekend. Saturday, UFC 295 takes place almost 30 years to the day after UFC 1.

Two championships will be handed out at the top of the show, beginning with the UFC 295 co-main event. An interim heavyweight championship is at stake when No. 2 contender Sergei Pavlovich (18-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC) meets No. 4 contender Tom Aspinall (13-3 MMA, 6-1 UFC).

Initially, this co-main event spot was to have been filled by the battle for the permanent championship at 265 lbs. between Jon Jones (27-1, 1 NC MMA, 21-1, 1 NC UFC) and Stipe Miocic (20-4 MMA, 14-4 UFC), yet this fight was postponed ahead of the show due to the champion tearing his pectoral muscle.

As with all UFC championship fights, the UFC 295 co-main event is an advertised maximum of five rounds at five minutes per round to close the show.

UFC 295 Co-Main Event Fighter Comparison and Betting Odds

Heading into the UFC 295 co-main event on Saturday night, Tom Aspinall stands as the taller contestant at 6-foot-5, with Sergei Pavlovich countering at 6-foot-3. Pavlovich owns a six-inch reach advantage (84 inches to 78 inches) and a one-inch leg reach advantage (45 inches to 44 inches) over Aspinall ahead of this fight.

As of Wednesday morning, the oddsmakers have this fight listed as a pick-’em. Both Aspinall and Pavlovich are -110 favorites on the money line. If you plan on betting on this or any other fight happening this weekend, please wager responsibly. Don’t forget to check out MMASucka’s betting picks for UFC 295.

Pavlovich Sees Jones and Miocic in Aspinall Ahead of UFC 295 Co-Main Event

Sergei Pavlovich enters the UFC 295 co-main event having posted a record of 5-0 in his last five fights as part of an ongoing six-fight winning streak. Most recently, he stopped Curtis Blaydes (17-4, 1 NC MMA, 12-4, 1 NC UFC) with a first-round knockout (ground and pound shots) in April at the UFC Apex.

Recently, Pavlovich was interviewed by Shakiel Mahjouri about his co-main event spot this weekend. He claims that his opponent is across between the guys originally slated to fight in the UFC 295 co-main event.

“Stipe is more of a stand-up fighter, where Jon is more of a wrestler and a grappler,” Pavlovich said through his translator. “Technically, if you combine those two together, we were pretty much preparing for Aspinall, so we did a little bit of corrections. We corrected some things in preparation, but mostly, we were preparing right away.”

Tom Aspinall Sizes Up His Opponent

In the other corner, Tom Aspinall comes into Saturday’s co-headliner having gone 4-1 in his last five fights. Last time out, he scored a first-round knockout of his own, this one happening against Marcin Tybura (24-8 MMA, 11-7 UFC) with ground and pound back in July.

For Aspinall, only a stoppage victory will suffice this weekend, something that he told Michael Bisping about in “The Count’s” latest YouTube video.

“Someone’s getting finished, aren’t they?”, Aspinall pondered. “That’s inevitable. That goes without saying. You can’t look at Pavlovich’s fights, mate, and be like ‘This is what he’s bad at and this is what he’s good at’, because so far in the UFC, he’s barely put a foot wrong. You can’t look at him and be like ‘This is where I’m going to take advantage.’ I think the biggest issue that he’s got is I move unlike any other heavyweight, I do things completely different, completely unconventional to anyone else in the heavyweight division, so I won’t just say he needs to be worried about me, but he’s not going to be expecting things that I do. I don’t just stand in front of and bang flat-footed like a lot of these other heavyweights.”

Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction

Stylistically, the UFC 295 co-main event looks to favor Tom Aspinall, a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, compared to Sergei Pavlovich’s status as a former Greco-Roman wrestler and Combat Sambo fighter. However, there’s always one constant when it comes to heavyweight fights: As little as one punch can end the contest.

Look For Pavlovich to Come Out Swinging

Sergei Pavlovich is known to be brutal with strikes, something that Curtis Blaydes found out firsthand in April. During the first round, Pavlovich connected on a punch to Blaydes’ head.

Right from that initial blow, it was apparent that Blaydes would have a hard time trying to keep up. Pavlovich continued to work upstairs, and aside from a few jabs, Blaydes had no answer.

With two minutes to go in the round, Pavlovich landed several shots, causing Blaydes to crumple up like a piece of paper and go out on his feet. A brief burst of ground and pound ended the fight.

Tom Aspinall Can Also Write a Quick Ending to the Story

In the other corner, don’t discount Tom Aspinall’s ability to end the fight in a hurry. His fight against Tybura was proof of that.

Right from the command to fight, Aspinall landed a kick to wobble Tybura, going in for the kill from there. While Tybura tried to move out of harm’s way, it would prove to be to no avail.

Tom Aspinall landed a right-handed punch to sit Marcin Tybura down and score the knockout.

Final Thoughts

While it was a buzzkill to lose the originally-scheduled UFC 295 co-main event, its replacement may be even better than what was first advertised. The winner will find himself in a unification bout afterward.

Prediction: Tom Aspinall by Third-Round TKO. 

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Drew Zuhosky has been writing about combat sports since May of 2018, coming to MMASucka after stints at Overtime Heroics and Armchair All-Americans. A graduate of Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, Drew is a charter member of the Youngstown Press Club. Prior to beginning his professional career, Drew was a sportswriter for YSU's student-run newspaper, The Jambar, where he supplied Press Box Perspective columns every week.

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