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There’s no two ways about it: Tom Aspinall is very, very good. 

On Saturday night, and perhaps a little earlier than expected, Aspinall gets his change to raise aloft UFC gold for the first time when he takes on the only fighter in the heavyweight division to have a comparably short fight time to him in Russian destroyer Sergei Pavlovich. The opportunity arrived at very short notice, about two-and-a-half weeks, after Jon Jones withdrew from his scheduled title defence against Stipe Miocic. And one man’s misfortune has presented a very big opportunity to the Englishman.

A shot at the interim UFC heavyweight title seemed a million miles away when Aspinall suffered a serious knee injury in the opening seconds of what was his biggest fight yet, a home country main event against Curtis Blaydes on July 23, 2022. But one year and one day later, and after a countless hours spend in recovery and recuperation, Aspinall returned in a main event fight in the very same arena in which his title ambitions were derailed by injury.

And in the video below, you can see what happened.