When UFC 295 lost its scheduled Heavyweight Championship main event of Jon Jones vs Stipe Miocic due to an injury on Jones' end, but added Tom Aspinall vs Sergei Pavlovich for an INTERIM Heavyweight Championship - there was a reason a lot of diehard MMA fans declared this the "real" heavyweight title fight.
That's because we all kinda expect Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic to both retire after their next fight (regardless of the outcome) and Tom Aspinall/Sergei Pavlovich are the next men up in that division. They're two SCARY fighters on tremendous runs, each with a lot left in the tank - meaning they'll be around in the UFC for the foreseeable future.
Tonight, we had a feeling whoever won the Interim Heavyweight Championship would do it in quick, dominant fashion (Big Ev has been preaching this on the Spinnin Backfist MMA Show for weeks) and it wound up being England's Tom Aspinall on the winning end - taking the belt with a HUGE first round knockout. It wasn't flawless, though - he took a few shots and walked through that infamous Pavlovich power to get his own punches in, putting his chin on full display.
I was surprised he didn't make a play to call out Jon Jones afterwards, in attempt to get him to stick around for one more fight after the battle Miocic, but you could tell he was just living in the moment and enjoying the fruits of his labor.
That championship obviously means the world to him....
....and he couldn't be a better representative of the sport to hold it. Talk about a well-rounded fighter, and lifelong mixed martial artist - you just gotta love Tommy Aspinall.
I wouldn't be surprised if we see a rematch of that one in the future, either. Pavlovich is still the boogeyman for a lot of that division.
Light Heavyweight title fight coming up next!