Sergei Pavlovich is hoping that lessons he learned from an idol will help him reach the top

LAS VEGAS — For all the wins he racked up and titles and accolades he won in a nearly 23-year MMA career, Fedor Emelianenko’s greatest accomplishment was inspiring an entire generation of fighters to give this once unknown sport of mixed martial arts a try.

You can also find out more about Emelianenko finally opted to retire after being stopped by Ryan Bader at Bellator 290 on Feb. 4Scores of MMA legends, both current and former, took to social media in order to pay tribute to his career, and to his influence on the sport.

Emelianenko is a legend in his native Russia. He was almost unbeatable during his peak at one point of the first decade of the century.

Khabib Nurmagomedov was the successor to Emelianenko. He became not only the greatest Russian sporting hero but, also, for some time, the most successful fighter in the entire world. The former UFC lightweight champ retired from the sport and left a gap that hasn’t yet been filled.

The guy who could fill these enormous shoes is going to fight his biggest match ever on Saturday at Apex. He will fight Curtis Blaydes on Saturday in the main event, in a bout that has title implications.

Sergei Pavlovich ranks No. In the UFC heavyweight rankings, Sergei Pavlovich is ranked No. Ciryl Gane, No. 1 in the UFC’s heavyweight rankings, and Stipe Miocic, No. 2, are both ranked third. 2 Stipe miocic. The champion Jon Jones defeated Gane in march and is expected fight Miocic, an ex-champion in New York, at Madison Square Garden, in November.

Pavlovich will be ready to fight for the title at the beginning of 2024. He’s 5-1 and 17-1 in the UFC. Alistair Overeem, in his UFC debut, in Beijing, China on November 24, 2018, was the only opponent to lose. Overeem hit Pavlovich with a right hand and then immediately went to the ground and knocked him down. Overeem, after jockeying to gain position, landed a right that injured Pavlovich. He quickly stopped him.

Pavlovich won five fights after that. None of them went beyond the first round. The man who grew to idolize Emelianenko could be the one who wins the UFC heavyweight championship.

This is a difficult task for anyone. But it’s even harder when Jones holds the UFC championship and Blaydes – a longtime divisional mainstay – stands in his way on Saturday. Pavlovich, who is modest and reserved, doesn’t make outrageous predictions. However he hopes to achieve the same career and influence on the sport as Emelianenko.

ORLANDO, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 03: Sergei Pavlovich of Russia reacts after his TKO victory over Tai Tuivasa of Australia in a heavyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at Amway Center on December 03, 2022 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Sergei Pavlovich (17-1 with 14 KOs), who will face Curtis Blaydes on Saturday, has won five of his previous six fights by first-round finishes. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC).

“Fedor definitely had a huge influence on me as I grew up, and when I chose this career path,” Pavlovich said, who started his career as Greco-Roman wrestling. “He wasn’t just a great wrestler, but also a model of what a good man should be. He was honorable, responsible and humble. We always watched his fights, and we could see the way he conducted himself, both during and after a fight. He was a good example.

“I was exhausted when I started and I had days where I didn’t feel like going to the gym. Fedor was not always motivated to go, but he went. He taught you how to become a professional, how to remain on the right track and be consistent. “When I don’t feel like going to the gym, I remember Fedor. I go and do my work so that I can be at my best.”

Blaydes is the -170 underdog. He will have to perform at his peak to defeat him. Pavlovich has knocked Derrick Lewis and Tai Tuivasa out in just 55 seconds each in his previous two fights. is +145 at BetMGM.

It’s a bit of an eye-opener for a powerful hitter who has 14 first-round KOs on his resumé. Pavlovich doesn’t seem to be concerned, probably because Blaydes has a strong wrestling background.

He said, “I think many people forget that I have a wrestling background.” “This is mixed-martial arts, so we need to be ready for anything.” If you want to be successful in this sport, you will need to be able to master all the skills and techniques.

He is aware that his fame in Russia will increase if and when he wins.

Pavlovich, who is a former NBA player and has been a coach for many years, expects this role to be played by him. He says he will do his best to live up the expectation.

“As a person grows in any field, including MMA, it is your responsibility to be an example to those around you,” he said. “I want to show them what it takes to succeed in this sport. I know that there are many kids starting out on the path of MMA. “I will do all I can to make that happen.”

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