Aspinall (13-3 MMA, 6-1 UFC) faces Sergei Pavlovich (18-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC) for the interim heavyweight title in Saturday’s UFC 295 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 has torn through the heavyweight ranks with six straight first-round knockouts. It’s no secret what the Russian fighter is looking to do, and Cejudo says Aspinall needs to slow down his forward pressure.
“He (Pavlovich) has a huge reach over Tom Aspinall, 84-inch reach,” Cejudo on his YouTube channel. “That’s almost double the size of mine. The dude has a reach with power and he’s technical. This is what makes Sergei Pavlovich, Sergei Pavlovich.
“He’s an aggressive finisher… 15 KOs out of 19. But, we have to talk about Sergei’s weaknesses. He relies on hands too much. I’m curious to see if Tom is able to bring in leg kicks to be able to slow him down and take away the power that he has in his hands.”
When breaking down Aspinall’s weaknesses, Cejudo explained how his well-rounded skillset could be to his detriment.
“He doesn’t have that one strength where he can always go back to that’s going to make him dangerous,” Cejudo said. “Sometimes when you’re too well-rounded or you’re too much of a B in all areas, sometimes a guy who just has one A, let’s say Alex Pereira. A guy that has just one A, even though he’s not good in all the other areas, he could have his poison too, could eventually defeat a dude like this (Aspinall).
“I would love to see more of a – he needs to develop one dominant strength, where people are like, ‘Oh sh*t, he’s coming.’ That will put yourself in that position. And at times, he’s too linear. He’ll stay in that straight line, rather than kind of cutting corners, having the ability to catch angles and be able to fight laterally, that’s one thing that Tom needs to really work on is him not being in a straight line. You cannot be in that straight line with a guy who has vicious power like Sergei Pavlovich.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 295.