This weekend UFC 295 comes to us from the iconic Madison Square Garden in New York City, as Jiří Procházka takes on Alex Pereira for the vacant light-heavyweight title. We've taken a look at the card and given you our best bets.
Originally scheduled to be headlined by the much-anticipated bout between Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic, a torn pectoral muscle for Jones sadly put that one on the back-burner
So up step the light-heavyweights to the main event spot, but that’s not all, as we will indeed be served up a intrigue laden clash in the UFC’s heaviest weight class.
We’re of course talking about the new co-main, a fight that has huge significance on these shores as Britain’s own Tom Aspinall has a chance to establish himself as one of the baddest men on the planet as he takes on the widely feared and avoided Sergei Pavlovich for the interim heavyweight belt.
While Jones vs Miocic was the climax of an era in the UFC, Aspinall vs Pavlovic is the heralding of a new one, a glimpse into the future of what may be.
With that said, let’s get into our picks…
Jiří Procházka to win - EVS
Jiří Procházka comes into our main event looking to reclaim what was once his.
‘The Czech Samurai’ originally secured gold back in June of last year when he defeated Glover Teixeira, but a long term shoulder injury saw him eventually have to give up his prize.
Now that his hiatus is over, he’ll be looking to bring the explosive and dynamic fighting style to the octagon that’s seen him win 25 of his 29 MMA victories by KO.
Standing in the way of his redemption is a colossus of the striking world in Alex Pereira, who in addition to wins over Israel Adesanya and current champion Sean Strickland at middleweight, has already secured an impressive win over Jan Błachowicz at 205-pounds.
It would be disrespectful to call this bout a mere ‘fight’, as we should be in for a stylistic chess match that will surely come down to fine margins.
Procházka likes to back his opponents up against the cage and go to work, while Pereira is a master of circling away from danger and landing devastating blows from unthinkable angles and looks.
It may very well be decided in those crucial moments of fight movement in a contest that has ‘Poatan‘ as slight favourite in the betting.
Here, we’re going to go against the odds and pick Procházka..
Tom Aspinall to win - 4/5
Sergei Pavlovich was originally positioned as a backup fighter should one of Jones or Miocic drop out, and while that did eventually transpire, Dana White saw fit to give us a whole new contest.
For Tom Aspinall, this signals a confirmation of his new attitude of taking on all comers and pouncing on opportunity, should it come his way.
If there’s one thing we confidently predict above all else here, it’s that this one isn’t seeing the final horn.
Across Pavlovich’s entire professional career, which started in 2014 and has seen 19 fights, he’s only gone to decision three times.
Since a loss in his first UFC fight to Alistair Overeem in 2018, the Russian has ran through six opponents, including the likes of Derrick Lewis, Tai Tuivasa and Curtis Blaydes, knocking them all out in the opening round.
For Aspinall it’s similar, yet even more pronounced, as the man who trains out of Wigan has never, in all 16 career bouts, had a fight go to the judges.
After a setback against Curtis Blaydes in July of last year where he threw a leg kick and severely injured his knee, he returned this summer to knockout Marcin Tybura in devastating fashion.
So we know the similarities, but where do they differ? That may be in the ground game, as Aspinall has two UFC victories via submission to his name.
It would be dangerous to underestimate Pavlovich’s grappling game, as he has been well versed in Greco-Roman wrestling from a young age, he’s just rarely needed to use it.
But we believe the Brit has the edge, even if it’s just a case of Pavlovich feeling reluctant to go to the ground in fear of being tangled up and tapped.
In an arena where legacies are made, we believe Tom Aspinall truly begins to write his here.
You can access all our UFC Betting Tips at our Betfred Insights UFC page