Pereira and Aspinall crowned champions at UFC 295
THERE are two new champions in the UFC with Tom Aspinall capturing the interim heavyweight title and Alex Pereira taking out the vacant light heavyweight championship at UFC 295 at Madison Square Garden.
The re-scheduled card which originally had a blockbuster heavyweight title clash between Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic delivered a dramatic main card with every fight finishing with a knockout.
Opening up the co-main event of the evening, England’s Tom Aspinall, fighting on two weeks’ notice, stunned Russia’s Sergei Pavlovich with a powerful knockout just 70 seconds into the fight.
After clipping Aspinall in the opening exchanges, Pavlovich struggled to defend the all-around attack of the Englishman.
Unloading a flurry of shots to the top of the head, Aspinall dropped the Russian before delivering numerous hammer punches which forced the referee to stop the fight.
Aspinall now faces an uncertain future for his next fight with reigning heavyweight champion Jon Jones set to miss eight months with a torn pectoral muscle.
In the main event of the evening, former middleweight champion Alex Pereira faced off against former light heavyweight champion Jiří Procházka, fighting for the first time since June 2022.
Pereira started off the fight on the front foot with some heavy leg kicks but quickly found himself in danger with Procházka taking him down and displaying his elite ground game.
The second round saw Procházka take control of the fight, pushing Pereira against the cage and rocking him on several occasions.
Despite this, Pereira countered with a nasty combination which dropped the former champion and led to the eventual stoppage.
Referee Marc Goddard called the fight when Procházka dropped to the ground, but the decision was met was controversy with UFC commentators Daniel Cormier and Joe Rogan calling it an early stoppage.
After the fight, Procházka admitted it was the right decision whilst Pereira called out old foe Israel Adesanya for a third fight.
– DOMINIC CRINITI/ SEN