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It wasn’t long ago when many viewed Sergei Pavlovich as the most terrifying force in the heavyweight division. Now he feels like the odd man out.

Pavlovich (17-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) will attempt to rebound from his interim title loss to Tom Aspinall at UFC 295 in November when he meets Alexander Volkov (37-10 MMA, 11-4 UFC) in Saturday’s UFC on ABC 6 co-main event, which takes place at Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (ABC, ESPN, ESPN+).

Prior to the fight with Aspinall in New York, Pavlovich was on a six-fight first-round knockout streak. He was tearing through names like Curtis Blaydes, Tai Tuivasa and Derrick Lewis with ease, but then the hammer became the nail in the biggest spot possible.

The Russian has had seven months to digest the loss, and he’s eager to put his career back on track.

“Of course between every fight you figure something out, you learn something new about yourself,” Pavlovich told MMA Junkie through an interpreter on Wednesday. “You sharpen and better yourself. Obviously, I think we changed, and we got better, and we improved.”

Pavlovich, 32, will look to rebound by solving the puzzle of the tallest active fighter in the division, 6-foot-7 Volkov. The pair are former training partners, and there’s a familiarity there in terms of each other’s skillsets.

It’s all business for Pavlovich, No. 3 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie heavyweight rankings, however, as he looks to reinsert himself in the title picture with a statement performance against No. 6-ranked Volkov.

The future of the division is somewhat murky, too. Aspinall is set to defend his interim title against Blaydes at UFC 304 on July 27, and Jon Jones is expected to return Nov. 9 against Stipe Miocic in what could very well be a double retirement fight.

Pavlovich wants to be in the conversation once those fights come to fruition, and the best way to do that is with an emphatic win.

“Yeah (I feel forgotten about),” Pavlovich said. “I have a fight on Saturday. We’ll see. The cage will close. I have a fight to win, and then we’ll see what happens next.

“You can plan for something, but as we see right now, plans change a lot, and often. We just have to keep winning and then we’ll see what happens. But the facts will be in front of us later.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC on ABC 6.

Staff
Author: Staff

Please go to MMAJunkie.USAToday.com to read full article.

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