Sergei Pavlovich needed just 55 seconds to finish Derrick Lewis at UFC 277 but it appeared the referee may have pulled the trigger on a premature stoppage to end the fight.
Despite facing one of the most dangerous knockout strikers in the history of the heavyweight division, Pavlovich showed no fear coming out and engaging with Lewis right away. A right hand from Pavlovich tagged Lewis early and the former title contender was immediately in trouble as he tried to recover.
Pavlovich swarmed on his opponent with a barrage of shots with Lewis eventually falling down to the canvas with referee Dan Miragliotta quickly jumping in to stop the bout.
Lewis was back to his feet almost immediately as he complained about the stoppage but it was already too late as Pavlovich began celebrating his victory.
“I was ready to punch him for five rounds, for three rounds, it doesn’t matter,” Pavlovich said afterwards. “How do you like that boxing? I did my job. I’m very happy with my performance.”
Obviously, Pavlovich was just doing his job but a huge win will likely be marred by the controversial stoppage with Lewis’ home state crowd booing rather loudly after the matchup came to an end.
Regardless of how it happened, Pavlovich has now notched his fourth win in a row overall with all of his victories coming by way of knockout or TKO without a single opponent making it past the first round.
The victory will also earn Pavlovich a higher ranking after taking out a veteran like Lewis as he serves notice that a new contender has arrived in the heavyweight division.