UFC Fight Night Orlando Hot Prospect of the Week: Russia Collides With Australia in a Heavyweight War

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Sergei Pavlovich of Russia celebrates after knocking out Derrick Lewis in the first round. Carmen Mandato/Getty Images/AFP.

The UFC prepares for its end-of-year schedule by traveling to Orlando, Florida, for a highly stacked Fight Night event with countless bouts worthy of pay-per-view exposure.

Russian brute Sergei Pavlovich has been an unstoppable force with 4 consecutive round-one stoppages. Still, he’ll meet a fellow slugger when Australia’s “Bam Bam” Tai Tuivasa looks to resume his knockout winning-efforts.

Read on for our complete UFC Orlando betting guide, taking a first look at the hottest prospect of the week, Sergei Pavlovich, and his opponent, Tai Tuivasa. Our preview also includes the latest UFC odds and our free expert UFC best pick of the week.

Tai Tuivasa vs. Sergei Pavlovich

UFC Orlando Heavyweight Bout

Saturday, December 3, 2022 – 06:00 PM EST at Amway Center

Sergei Pavlovich

  • Pro MMA Record: (16-1-0) (13 KOs, 3 decisions)
  • UFC Record: 4-1 (4 KOs)

When the UFC acquired the services of Sergei Pavlovich in 2018, he entered the heavyweight roster pool as a top prospect boasting an 11-0 undefeated record. They were so confident in his abilities; they matched him up with a decorated legend Alistair Overeem.

Unfortunately, Pavlovich’s hype was instantly tarnished as the Dutch kickboxing standout stopped the newcomer via ground and pound in the first round. Pavlovich was sent to the bottom of the pile and was forced to work his way back through the heavyweight rankings for any chance of gaining his previous notoriety. Four years later, the Eagles MMA Academy's product has accomplished the task at hand, and he’s done it emphatically.

Marcelo Golm, Maurice Greene, and Shamil Abdurakhimov all fell victim to the lights-out power that Pavlovich possesses. And most recently, Pavlovich was given another opportunity to prove his worth as an elite UFC heavyweight when he was matched up with Derrick Lewis.

And to rectify his debut loss against a top contender, the Russian dismantled Lewis and extended his first-round stoppage record to four consecutive bouts.

Life in the UFC cannot be compared to Pavlovich’s time as a champion for the Fight Nights Global promotion; however, it would seem that the Greco-Roman wrestler is trusting the power in his hands once again, and this is a problem for the entire heavyweight division, no matter what their ranking may be.

Pavlovich's Fight Analysis

Despite possessing one of the most experienced Greco-Roman wrestling backgrounds in the heavyweight division, Pavlovich is a keen striker. We shouldn’t be surprised by his eagerness to strike, as the Russian brute has finished 13 of his 17 professional MMA bouts via KO/TKO.

The hype Pavlovich entered the UFC with is returning, and a significant win over Tuivasa would undoubtedly position him as a future title challenger. However, it’s always risky to predict which fighter will be on the wrong end of a fight-ending punch when power meets power.

With that said, Pavlovich has an elite wrestling background he can rely on. His weekend opponent is a one-trick pony, and despite proving this one trick works well, the all-around skillset of the Russian is miles ahead of Tuivasa.

Tuivasa vs. Pavlovich: Betting Pick

Tai Tuivasa (15-4-0) has been a fan favorite since arriving at the promotion in 2017. A recent five-fight win streak (all via KO/TKO) led “Bam Bam” to the main event bout with the former interim champion Ciryl Gane. However, the technical aspect of Gane’s skillset proved too much for Tuivasa, who struggled to land his usual combinations and faltered until an eventual third-round knockout.

Tuivasa isn’t receiving an easy return from defeat, as he’ll be faced with another cautious and dangerous opponent. The power of “Bam Bam” will be present, but a significant reach disadvantage will make it a struggle for the heavyweight pride of Australia to find his fight-ending shots.

The UFC Orlando betting odds at Bookmakers Review favor the Russian and his four-fight win streak. I agree with the original Pavlovich price of -115 being shifted by the betting public. However, betting the money at the new odds of -200 isn’t a position I want to be in.

In an attempt to extend our value, and because it's difficult to envision this fight lasting beyond the second round, Pavlovich to win inside the distance is a respectable -140 and our hot prospect of the week betting pick.

UFC Pick: Pavlovich Wins Inside The Distance (-140) [1.40u returns 1u] at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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Pavlovich Wins Inside The Distance (-140)
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UFC Orlando Main Card & Odds

UFC Orlando Preliminary Card & Odds

*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.