After heavyweight champion Jon Jones withdrew from his title fight against Stipe Miocic, Aspinall (13-3 MMA, 6-1 UFC) got the short-notice call to face Sergei Pavlovich in Saturday’s co-main event at Madison Square Garden in New York. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPNews and early prelims on ESPN+.
Pavlovich (18-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC) was already in training camp for UFC 295, preparing to serve as the official backup for Jones vs. Miocic. But with Aspinall getting the call less than three weeks before the fight, Cormier isn’t sure if he’ll be ready for a championship fight.
“He has to move. He has to stay out of the danger zone of Pavlovich,” Cormier said on his ESPN show “DC & RC.” “But he’s taking the fight on short notice. Is he prepared to fight like that over 25 minutes?”
Based on statistics, Aspinall vs. Pavlovich isn’t expected to go the distance. Both men have an array of first-round finishes on their resume and currently average the shortest fight time in the UFC with at least five bouts.
“There are certain guys that you don’t want really to fight,” Cormier said. “That’s why everybody didn’t want to fight ‘Rumble’ (Johnson). Nobody was like, ‘Hey, I want to fight Rumble.’ Nobody just wants to step in there and fight Derrick Lewis because of the power.
“Power is dangerous. This dude (Pavlovich) has won six by first-round knockout in a row. That’s nuts, man. You don’t get to do that. You don’t get to have quick nights every night. That’s how dangerous this dude is.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 295.