Sergei Pavlovich made short work of Tai Tuivasa in Orlando
Sergei Pavlovich stunned the world of MMA by blowing out Tai Tuivasa in the first round at UFC Fight Night in Orlando, Florida on Friday night.
The number five ranked heavyweight contender was riding a four-fight KO streak after disposing of former title contender Derrick Lewis in under a minute at UFC 277 in July.
On this occasion, he needed a second less to dispatch Australian cult hero and fan favorite Tai Tuivasa, who he stopped with just 54 seconds down on the clock.
Staying true to his usual style, Tuivasa attempted to take the fight to Pavlovich and engage with the Russian. However, he failed to land anything clean on the 30-year-old, who landed a massive right hand on his foe.
Tuivasa fired back with a right of his own, but Pavlovich dropped him again with a jab and then followed that up with a huge right as he continued to make Tuivasa miss.
“That’s crisp and precise boxing,” said former middleweight champion Michael Bisping on commentary duties.
“Devastating power. He’s clean, it’s not swinging or brawling. It’s very technical.”
— Spinnin Backfist (@SpinninBackfist) December 4, 2022
Pavlovich didn’t take his foot off the gas as Tuivasa hung on for dear life. He crumpled in a heap from a series of blows from Pavlovich, and by then the referee had seen enough to step in to call off the action.
“I hope this time I deserve a bonus,” Pavlovich said after improving to 18-1 and sealing his fifth consecutive knockout with a TKO.
“Last time they stole my bonus. I deserve a bonus this time.”
Pavlovich had his wishes answered, with UFC president Dana White later awarding him $50,000 for the Performance of the Night.
Respected figures in the elite promotion reacted to Pavlovich’s display, with ex-light heavyweight and heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier noting that he “has so much belief in his power that he’s willing to just throw caution to the wind.”
“It is amazing to watch him and his approach. Look at the face of Tuivasa. A jab took him down and then Pavlovich swarms.”
“Tuivasa tries to swing big and misses and Sergei makes him pay. Another Sergei Pavlovich washout. Unbelievable,” Cormier added.
Should he continue in this form, a title shot against division king Francis Ngannou won’t be far away for Pavlovich.