Tom Aspinall beat Sergei Pavlovich to grow to be the primary British heavyweight to win a UFC title, whereas Alex Pereira used a sequence of elbows to Jiri Prochazka’s head to win the vacant mild heavyweight championship within the UFC 295 title fights at Madison Sq. Backyard.
Aspinall knocked out Pavlovich within the first spherical for the interim heavyweight championship on Saturday evening in entrance of a packed crowd that included former President Donald Trump.
The interim title battle was a late addition to the cardboard after the scheduled important occasion of Jon Jones vs Stipe Miocic in a heavyweight title battle was known as off as a result of Jones tore a pectoral tendon off the bone throughout coaching.
Whereas UFC waits for Jones to return, it’s Aspinall who now holds the gold.
“It’s been a loopy 2 1/2 weeks,” Aspinall mentioned.
His tearful celebration lasted longer than the battle. Aspinall wanted solely 69 seconds to earn his eleventh profession knockout win – he has made it to the second spherical simply as soon as in his eight UFC fights – after which collapsed in tears on the canvas.
Aspinall had landed consecutive rights to Pavlovich’s temple to ship the Russian crashing to the canvas.
“He’s a giant, scary man,” Aspinall mentioned. “I’ve by no means been as scared in my life as combating this man. However I’ve obtained loads of energy, too, and I consider in myself.”
Aspinall draped himself in opposition to the cage as followers roared for the brand new champ.
Pereira topped light-heavyweight champ
Within the co-main occasion, Pereira gained his second UFC championship in simply his seventh battle for the promotion.
Brazil’s Pereira, who knocked out Israel Adesanya on November 12 final 12 months to win the middleweight belt earlier than shedding it in April in a rematch, had some early success with some vicious leg kicks, however Prochazka’s exact placing posed an issue.
Prochazka had gained 13 straight blended martial arts (MMA) fights, together with his first three in UFC.
The 31-year-old Czech continued to change stances and press ahead, however his aggression was ultimately punished when he was caught out by some exact counter-punches by Pereira that paved the Brazilian’s path to victory and the battle was stopped at 4:08 of the second spherical.
Pereira grew to become the ninth fighter in UFC historical past to win championships in two weight lessons.
Pereira then used his post-fight interview to name on Adesanya to step as much as mild heavyweight and face him in a 3rd title battle, saying “Adesanya, come to daddy.”
The sunshine heavyweight division had been and not using a champion since Jamahal Hill relinquished the title in July after he was injured in a pickup basketball sport. Hill was on the Backyard to observe the fights.
He wasn’t the one title in the home.
Trump and musician Child Rock have been greeted by cheers and “USA! USA!” chants as they walked to their cage-side seats forward of the beginning of the primary card. UFC President Dana White accompanied Trump and Child Rock and watched the fights with them. Trump slapped fingers with followers and mingled with guests.
Former UFC 115-pound champion Jessica Andrade snapped a three-fight shedding streak with a TKO win over MacKenzie Dern at 3:15 of the second spherical. Andrade grew to become the primary lady in UFC historical past to earn 4 knockdowns in a single battle and tied Amanda Nunes for many wins in UFC girls’s historical past with 16.
UFC has run a serious card in November at Madison Sq. Backyard yearly (apart from 2020) since New York legalised MMA in time for a 2016 debut. Conor McGregor, Georges St-Pierre and Daniel Cormier all headlined pay-per-views at MSG and this one promised to maybe be the most important important occasion but – Jones defending his heavyweight crown in opposition to Miocic.
Jones, on the quick checklist of nice MMA fighters, tore a tendon throughout coaching final month and was compelled to withdraw. White then deemed an interim championship battle was beneath a fighter of Miocic’s stature. The 2-time heavyweight champ, Miocic has not fought since March 2021.
The bout might be rescheduled for as early as subsequent summer season, relying on Jones’s well being.
“That’s the battle they need, that’s the battle that is sensible, that’s the battle that ought to occur,” White mentioned.
Even with out the anticipated battle, there was purpose for the corporate to have fun with 19,039 followers and a $12.4m gate at MSG. UFC now holds the highest three spots for highest gate on the Backyard. Additionally, Sunday marks 30 years because the firm’s debut present, UFC 1.
UFC Corridor of Famer Royce Gracie gained three fights that evening in Denver in a no-rules event that was simply the beginning for the billion-dollar firm owned by Endeavor that now stands as the worldwide chief in MMA.
UFC was constructed on personalities as a lot as nice fights and New York native and recovering drug addict Jared Gordon gave followers on the Backyard a purpose to cheer.
Gordon scored his first KO since 2017 when he beat 2016 Olympic silver medal wrestler Mark Madsen in a prelims bout. Gordon has been open about his drug points, overdoses and problem staying clear whereas pursuing a brutal MMA profession. He had a brand new purpose to understand combating in New York.
“I used to shoot heroin in Penn Station beneath this constructing,” he mentioned. “Now I’m combating in it and knocking guys out.”