Boxing specialist Teddy Atlas explains why Sergei Pavlovich has a better chance of beating Jon Jones than Ciryl Gane did

Teddy Atlas believes Sergei Pavlovich has one key attribute that Ciryl Gane doesn’t.

While it appeared that Jon Jones’ first heavyweight defense was relatively set in stone, one surging Russian powerhouse recently staked his claim for a meeting in the cage with “Bones.”

Jones, a former two-time UFC light heavyweight champion, returned from a lengthy layoff to conquer a new division last month. In the March 4 pay-per-view headliner, the Rochester native decimated top contender Ciryl Gane inside one round to win the heavyweight gold.

Although former divisional kingpin Stipe Miocic appeared to quickly cement his place as next in line, Sergei Pavlovich recently surpassed the Ohio native in the rankings owing to a fifth consecutive first-round knockout.

And having seen the Orlovskii native knock Curtis Blaydes out in quick time this past weekend, one renowned boxing trainer and commentator has given him a better chance of solving the Jones puzzle than the legend’s first heavyweight opponent had.

Teddy Atlas: ‘Sergei Pavlovich Has One Key Attribute Ciryl Gane Doesn’t’

During a recent episode of his podcast, prominent combat sports figure Teddy Atlas gave his take on Pavlovich‘s latest triumph inside the Octagon, which has left him at #2 on the heavyweight ladder.

Soon after Jones’ championship victory at UFC 285, Atlas suggested that Gane simply wasn’t ‘mentally strong enough’ to hang with the divisional newcomer when they collided inside T-Mobile Area.

Believing that not to be a problem for Pavlovich, the 66-year-old expects the Russian to put on a much more competitive contest should he share the cage with Jones.

“(Pavlovich) showed why he’s a force to be reckoned with, and showed why, for me, I’d love to see him with Jon Jones,” Atlas said. “That would be very interesting… He’s got the physical strength and the ability, and seems like he’s developed enough technique to make it interesting in the striking department with Jones. And he’s got one other thing you can recognize that I think is the most important part.

“He’s mentally tough enough to make it interesting, where Gane quite frankly — and I’m not picking on somebody who’s down or kicking someone while they’re down — but Gane wasn’t mentally tough enough. I think he showed that when he lost to Ngannou,” Atlas continued. “Jones was too good in not only the physical areas, but the mental area… That’s where it separates for me… Pavlovich, I think he would be strong enough mentally to make it competitive with Jones.”

Atlas certainly isn’t alone in his desire to see Pavlovich and Jones throw down inside the Octagon.

With Miocic having not fought since losing the title in 2021, as well as the frequent delays in an expected clash with “Bones,” many have called for this past weekend’s main event victor to mark the first challenger to Jones’ heavyweight reign instead.

Should the latest target for Jones vs. Miocic not come to fruition, perhaps the UFC will pursue alternate arrangements that involve the hard-hitting Russian.

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