TOM ASPINALL fought back the tears after defying the odds to become Britain's third UFC champion with a stunning knockout win over Sergei Pavlovich.
The Wigan warrior claimed the interim heavyweight title on less than two weeks' notice early on Sunday morning in the main event of UFC 295 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Aspinall's chances of stopping the Russian wrecking ball's momentum were written off by many as soon as he accepted the hastily put-together showdown.
But he made light work of the heavy-handed man-mountain, knocking him out in the first round with a peach of a counter right hand.
An over-the-moon Aspinall said: "It’s been a crazy two and a half weeks.
"I just want to say to anyone if you get a chance to do something, do it because it will f****ng pay off.
READ MORE IN MMA
Tom Aspinall plans to give heavyweight belt to dad if he earns shock UFC 295 win
Get £30 in free bets when you stake £10 today with Bet UK
"He’s a big scary guy, I've never been as scared before fighting this guy but I've got a lot of power too."
Aspinall was light on his feet from the outset and opened up with a hard low kick to the calf of the Russian.
He looked to use feints early doors to avoid the nuclear power of the ferocious Pavlovich.
His chin was soon tested by a hard two-punch combo from American Top Team heavyweight.
Most read in MMA
Trump cheered at UFC event as he watches fights with secret service agents
Updates from big MSG show with Brit Tom Aspinall aiming for heavyweight glory
UFC 295 Octagon girls include stunning regular Palmer and model Wren
Conor wants UFC to give him ‘SUPRISE’ opponent and vows to face ‘anyone’
But it held up and gave him a renewed sense of confidence as he bobbed and weaved his way out of the ensuing shots.
Aspinall quickly got a beat on the timing of the Russian, who he clocked with a huge counter right.
Pavlovich went spiralling to the canvas and Aspinall didn't waste the golden opportunity to close the show.
Aspinall was overcome with a wave of emotion after completing a lifetime's work and fought back the tears after having the belt wrapped around him.
But amidst all the emotion, he managed to dedicate the victory to the man who started him on his martial arts journey – his dad and long-time coach Andy.
He said: "This man right here has been with me my whole life, so this belt is dedicated to my father.
"I was struggling with the distance a little bit, his arms are really long so it felt a bit funny but we got there."
UFC 295 results
Alex Pereira def. Jiri Prochazka via TKO (punches and elbows) – Round 2, 4:08
Tom Aspinall def. Sergei Pavlovich via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 1:09
Jessica Andrade def. Mackenzie Dern via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 3:15
Benoit Saint-Denis def. Matt Frevola via TKO (head kick and punches) – Round 1, 1:31
Diego Lopes def. Pat Sabatini via TKO (punches) – Round 1,
Loopy Godinez def. Tabatha Ricci via split decision (7–30, 29–28, 29–28)
Matesuz Rebecki def. Roosevelt Roberts via submission (armbar) – Round 1, 3:08
Nazim Sadykhov vs. Viacheslav Borschev unanimous draw (29-28, 28-28, 28-28.
Jared Gorden def. Mark O Madsen via TKO (elbow and punches) – Round 1, 4:42
John Castaneda def. Kyung Ho Kang via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Read More on The Sun
Gordon Ramsay becomes a dad for 6th time as wife Tana, 49, gives birth
Mum-to-be killed along with her baby in car crash on her way to give birth
Joshua van def. Kevin Borjas via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Jamal Emmers def. Dennis Buzukja via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 0:49
Source: Read Full Article