Russian UFC prospect scores biggest career win with one-minute KO (VIDEO)
Sergei Pavlovich made short work of Derrick Lewis
Russian UFC heavyweight prospect Sergei Pavlovich will rise up the division's rankings after making short work of Derrick Lewis at UFC 277 in Dallas on Saturday.
The 15-1 Pavlovich was riding a three-win streak heading into the fight at the American Airlines Center and probably expected a tough evening against the 'Black Beast' who has challenged for the title and the interim belt on one occasion each.
Confident from the offset, however, Pavlovich took the fight to his opponent and went on the front foot.
Managing to evade a big right from the American, Pavlovich then let off a flurry of punches that left Lewis in all kinds of trouble face down on the floor and caused referee Dan Miragliotta to step in and call off the action after 55 seconds.
"I was ready to punch him for five rounds, for three rounds, it doesn't matter," said Pavlovich afterwards.
"How do you like that boxing?" he asked. "I did my job. I'm very happy with my performance."
Fans in attendance and online weren't happy with that from Miragliotta, however, and felt that the stoppage which gave Pavlovich his fourth consecutive KO win came too early.
On Twitter, pundit and former heavyweight and light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier called it a "bad stoppage" as the division's current ruler Franis Ngannou said it was "definitely an early stoppage".
"Yeah get all this B.S. reffing out of y’all system before next week!" demanded Jamahal Hill, who headlines the UFC's next event against Thiago Santos.
Middleweight Derek Brunson didn't agree, however, and said: "A face plant will end your dance. Not a bad stoppage!"
Thanks to his exploits, Pavlovich will leapfrog from 11th in the rankings to become the fifth in line to challenge Ngannou for the crown.
Moving forward, he may now look to take on someone in mould of Curtis Blaydes, Tai Tuivasa or a figure widely thought of as the heavyweight GOAT in Stipe Miocic if not number one contender Ciryl Gane to get closer to a shot at the title.
As for Lewis, who has now lost three of his last four fights, his next outing could be make or break as coming up short yet again might see him cut from the UFC altogether.
For Russian MMA fans, the Pavlovich dismantling might be seen as a comeuppance after Lewis said midweek that people in Russia and Germany "are born off the swastika".
One party that voiced public disapproval with the remarks was the manager of Lewis' former foe Alexander Volkov who stated to Match TV that Lewis had said a "terrible thing".
"If he had a different skin color, he himself would have been destroyed for racism. But it turns out that he can afford to blame everyone around [him] for racism," Ivan Bannikov concluded.