Sergei Pavlovich and Curtis Blaydes will look to earn a title shot at the other’s expense this weekend, as the heavyweights meet in a UFC Fight Night main event.
New champion Jon Jones is expected to defend the belt against divisional great Stipe Miocic this summer, but the next challenger for the gold will likely be the winner of Saturday’s headline bout.
Russian Pavlovich (17-1) is in scintillating form, having won his last five fights with first-round knockouts, while American Blaydes (17-3, 1 No Contest) has won his last three bouts.
Last time out, fourth-ranked Blaydes beat Aspinall in enemy territory in July, when the latter suffered a knee injury just seconds into their clash in London. Meanwhile, Russian Pavlovich needed just 54 seconds to stop Tai Tuivasa in December, five months after beating Derrick Lewis in 55 seconds.
Here’s all you need to know.
When is it?
This week’s UFC Fight Night takes place on Saturday 22 April, at the UFC’s Apex institute in Las Vegas.
The prelims will begin at 9pm BST (1pm PT, 3pm CT, 4pm ET), with the main card following at 12am BST on Sunday 23 April (4pm PT, 6pm CT, 7pm ET on Saturday).
How can I watch it?
The card will air live on BT Sport in the UK, with the broadcaster’s app and website also streaming the fights.
In the US, ESPN+ will stream the action live, as will the UFC’s Fight Pass.
Pavlovich – 27/20
Blaydes – 8/13
Full card (subject to change)
Sergei Pavlovich vs Curtis Blaydes (heavyweight)
Song Yadong vs Ricky Simon (bantamweight)
Brad Tavares vs Bruno Silva (middleweight)
Bobby Green vs Jared Gordon (lightweight)
Iasmin Lucindo vs Brogan Walker (women’s flyweight)
Jeremiah Wells vs Matthew Semelsberger (welterweight)
Ricky Glenn vs Christos Giagos (lightweight)
Rani Yahya vs Montel Jackson (bantamweight)
Karol Rosa vs Norma Dumont (women’s featherweight)
Mohammed Usman vs Junior Tafa (heavyweight)
Francis Marshall vs William Gomis (featherweight)
Priscila Cachoeira vs Karine Silva (women’s flyweight)
Brady Hiestand vs Batgerel Danaa (bantamweight)
Click here to subscribe to The Independent’s Sport YouTube channel for all the latest sports videos.