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Pavlovich unravels UFC Saudi Arabia loss: 'Too focused on getting a KO'

Chris Unger / UFC / Getty

Heavyweight contender Sergei Pavlovich shined a light Monday on what he believes went wrong in his upset loss to Alexander Volkov at UFC Saudi Arabia.

The 6-foot-7 Volkov used his length to pick apart and outstrike Pavlovich, one of the top knockout artists in the division, en route to a unanimous decision victory in Saturday's co-main event in Riyadh. Pavlovich said in a post on X he was too concentrated on finishing Volkov rather than earning points on the judges' scorecards.

"Nothing went according to plan," Pavlovich wrote. "I was ready for anything, but I was too focused on getting a knockout and took too many unnecessary hits.

"This was very emotional and tough for me, especially knowing that I didn't meet your expectations. ... I promise to come back stronger and wiser."

The fight against Volkov marked Pavlovich's first time making it past the first round since 2017 - before he joined the UFC.

Pavlovich, who entered as the No. 3-ranked heavyweight, has lost two in a row for the first time in his pro career. The Russian suffered a first-round knockout defeat to Tom Aspinall at UFC 295 last November in a fight for the interim championship.

The 32-year-old emerged as a title contender by winning six straight - all first-round knockouts - from 2019-23.

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