Sergei Pavlovich is sitting pretty atop the list of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight contenders in 2023.

ESPN’s Brett Okamoto revealed today (Mon., Feb. 27, 2023) that the Russian knockout artist will be in Las Vegas, Nevada for this weekend’s (Sat., March 4, 2023) massive vacant UFC Heavyweight title fight between the returning legend, Jon Jones, and Ciryl Gane. In case of emergency and either fighter can’t compete ahead of fight night, Pavlovich will act as the replacement.

“Sergei Pavlovich is the heavyweight backup to this week’s UFC 285 main event, per his manager Ali Abdelaziz (@AliAbdelaziz00),” Okamoto tweeted. “Dana White mentioned last weekend there is a backup in place. Pavlovich will weigh-in on Friday in Vegas, per Abdelaziz.”

Since losing his UFC debut in Nov. 2018, Pavlovich (17-1) has been on an absolute tear, knocking out five straight opponents to solidify himself as the current No. 3-ranked contender in the promotion’s official rankings. While Pavlovich is slotted to potentially fight this weekend should his services be required, he’s also booked for a main event clash at UFC Vegas 71 on April 22, 2023, against Curtis Blaydes.

Despite all signs indicating that former champion, Stipe Miocic, may await the winner of Jones versus Gane, Pavlovich is undeniably in a pretty good spot no matter if he fills in on Saturday or not.


Who does Pavlovich have a better chance of beating?

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 285 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:15 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard on ESPN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 285: “Jones vs. Gane” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.