Sergei Pavlovich had another quick night at the office against a top UFC heavyweight.
The heavy-handed Russian emerged as a serious contender to the heavyweight elite by quickly finishing Tai Tuivasa on the main card of UFC on ESPN 42 at Amway Center in Orlando, Fla.
The fight was over in just 54 seconds.
The two heavyweights slowly met in the center of the cage and embraced for a quick hug before throwing hammers at each other.
Just a few seconds in, Pavlovich (17-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC) had Tuivasa (15-6 MMA, 8-6 UFC) on the canvas from heavy punches. Tuivasa popped back up and tried to time a big fight-ending counter as Pavlovich continued to unload strikes, but missed badly.
Pavlovich sensed his opponent was hurt and a finish was near. He kept the pressure high and continued to pick his shots well, dropping Tuivasa for good less than a minute into the fight.
Check out video of the finish below (via Twitter):
Pavlovich racked up three first-round finishes in 2022. In March, he finished Shamil Abdurakhimov, and followed up that performance with an opening-frame finish of former title challenger Derrick Lewis in July.
Tuivasa has now dropped back-to-back outings, entering Saturday after a main event loss to former interim champion Ciryl Gane in September.
Up-to-the-minute UFC on ESPN 42 results include:
Sergei Pavlovich def. Tai Tuivasa via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 0:54
Eryk Anders def. Kyle Daukaus via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 2:45
Phil Rowe def. Niko Price via TKO (punches) – Round 3, 3:26
Angela Hill def. Emily Ducote via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Clay Guida def. Scott Holtzman via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Michael Johnson def. Marc Diakiese via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Jonathan Pearce def. Darren Elkins via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
Natan Levy def. Genaro Valdez via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Francis Marshall def. Marcelo Rojo via knockout (punches) – Round 2, 1:14
Yazmin Jauregui def. Istela Nunes via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 4:06
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC on ESPN 42.