The UFC is set for a massive PPV fight week from Madison Square Garden Arena in New York. Two World Championships will be up for grabs in this action-packed UFC 295 fight card. Former UFC Light Heavyweight champion Jiri Prochazka returns from a shoulder injury that forced him to vacate his title.
Prochazka will face Former Middleweight Champion and Brazilian Knockout artist Alex Pereira. A former two-weight world kickboxing champion, Pereira is one of the scariest strikers in UFC history. Prochazka took the belt off Pereira’s trainer Glover Teixeira and is undefeated during his UFC tenure.
The Co-Main event will feature an Interim Heavyweight title match between Russian powerhouse Sergei Pavlovich and Great Britain’s Tom Aspinall. This fight was made on short notice after the injury to Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones forced him out of the event.
The winner of this fight will more than likely face Jones once he returns from injury. Aspinall is one of the most well-rounded fighters in the division and is extremely fast for a Heavyweight. Pavlovich has knocked out six straight opponents in the first round including fan favorites Tai Tuivasa and Derrick Lewis.
Also on the UFC 295 Main Card, Serra-Longo product Matt “The Steamrolla” Frevola faces former French military special forces member Benoît Saint Dennis, who is undefeated since moving to 155 pounds.
No.1 Jiri Prochazka (29-3-1) vs. No.3 Alex Pereira (8-2)
The Main Event of UFC 295 has fight fans in a frenzy for this Saturday. Two of the most devastating strikers in division history will be matched up for the Vacant Light Heavyweight Championship. Prochazka is a wild competitor who throws creative and dynamic strikes with a uniquely aggressive style. A National Champion in Muay Thai in his native Czech Republic, Jiri has an unorthodox style on the feet that heavily involves elbows and knees.
His opponent Alex Pereira captured the UFC Middleweight title in just his fourth UFC fight. Pereira is one of the the only fighters to ever win a world championship in less than five fights with the promotion. Pereira moved up to the 205-pound division in his last contest and defeated former champion Jan Blachowitz. Currently, Alex Pereira is a slight betting favorite (-128) at online sportsbooks.
On the feet, Pereira holds the advantage as the more technical and accomplished striker. Prochazka will have to be careful of pressing forward too aggressively because Pereira can end the fight with just one punch. Prochazka’s last loss came in the Rizin FF against “King” Mo Lawal. In that matchup, Prochazka recklessly lunged forward and was knocked out with a huge right hand, faceplanting to the canvas.
The question of this fight is whether the former champion Prochazka tries to take Pereira down. When Jiri faced Bellator Light Heavyweight Champion Vadim Nemkov in 2015 he was able to gain back control on the combat sambo world champion.
Prochazka’s ground game is underrated and he holds a submission win over Pereiera’s Trainer and mentor Glover Texiera. In my opinion, this fight will stay standing and Jiri may leave himself open for Pereira to capitalize.
Prediction: Alex Pereira by KO/TKO
No.2 Sergei Pavlovich (17-1) vs. No.4 Tom Aspinall (13-3)
In the Co-Main event of UFC 295, the Interim Heavyweight title will be up for grabs. The winner of this contest will face Pound-For-Pound number one and the greatest fighter of all time Jon Jones to unify the belt. England’s Tom Aspinall is on a quest to become the country’s first-ever Heavyweight Champion.
If Aspinall wants gold wrapped around his waist he will have to go through the division’s scariest threat in surging Russian contender Sergei Pavlovich. Having stopped six straight opponents in a row, Pavlovich owns the UFC’s record for consecutive knockouts in the first round. Pavlovich’s decimations of Derrick Lewis and Tai Tuivasa put the entire division on notice. Both of those matchups were finished in under a minute of total fight time.
While Pavlovich may hold a power advantage over anyone on Earth, Aspinall will be significantly quicker in this bout. On the feet, Aspinall moves like a Middleweight and has ten knockouts on his record. At 6’5 Aspinall will be the taller fighter by two inches but is giving up six inches in reach. In Pavlovich’s lone loss, he was taken down and finished with ground and pound by MMA legend Alistair Overeem.
Aspinall will need to implement a similar game plan at some point during this contest and has the skill set to do it. A lifelong grappler, Aspinall’s father teaches Jiu-Jitsu and his son has two submission victories in six of his fights inside the promotion.
I don’t see this fight going the distance. Pavlovich’s physicality or Aspinall’s technique will lead to this fight ending early. With the conclusion of this matchup fight fans will know who is next for Jon Jones.
Prediction: Tom Aspinall by Submission
#14 Matt Frevola (11-3) vs. Benoit Saint Denis (12-1)
A Lightweight showdown between New York’s Matt Frevola and France’s Benoit Saint-Denis gets the UFC 295 main card started. Frevola is on a three-fight winning streak, knocking out each of his opponents. Primarily fighting out of the southpaw stance, Frevola has a big left hand which fight fans saw in his finish over UFC veteran Drew Dober in May. Saint-Denis is undefeated since dropping down to 155 pounds.
A European grappling champion Saint-Denis is an extremely tough competitor with elite ground skills. Saint-Denis’s lone loss came against Welterweight finisher Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos. In that fight, Saint-Denis filled in on short notice and showed tremendous heart going to a decision. Both of these fighters are as game and battle-tested as they come.
On paper, Saint-Denis holds an advantage on the ground, while Frevola will want to land big punches on the feet. Saint-Denis has 9 submission wins on his record and has finished his last four opponents. Frevola trains out of team Serra-Longo in New York with Former Bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling. Saint-Denis is a former special forces member of the French military and has impressed since moving down in weight.
Prediction: Saint-Denis by Decision
UFC 295 Prelims:
Jared Gordon (19-6) vs. Mark Madsen (12-1)
After his highly debated loss to Paddy Pimblett, Jared Gordon was on the receiving end of an accidental headbutt against Bobby Green. Gordon’s opponent this weekend will be former Olympic Silver medalist Mark Madsen. Madsen is 39 years old but is one of the most credentialed wrestlers on the roster.
Gordon has a brown belt under jiu-jitsu coach John Danaher and should be able to defend himself on the ground. Madsen suffered the first loss of his career last time out against Grant Dawson and will look to rebound with a victory. Gordon will want to keep this fight standing where he will have a speed advantage and superior boxing.
Mark Madsen by Decision
Diego Lopes (22-6) vs Pat Sabatini (18-4)
28-year-old Diego Lopes burst on the scene in May filling in on short notice against undefeated featherweight Mosvar Evloev. Lopes competed very well in that fight and showed he can hang with the division’s elite. Following his debut, Lopes submitted Gavin Tucker in the first round.
Riding positive momentum into this matchup Lopes will face Philidelphia’s Pat Sabatini, who has won five of his six UFC fights. Sabatini has 11 submission wins in his career. Lopes will be the taller fighter by three inches and will also enjoy a 2.5-inch reach advantage.
Prediction: Lopes by Decision
The UFC 295 early prelims will begin at 5 p.m. CST, with the PPV starting at 9 p.m. Both can be viewed exclusively on ESPN+.
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