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You know what they say about best laid plans. 

For quite a while now the UFC has been plotting a heavyweight title showdown between two of their most decorated-ever champions: Jon Jones, the former longtime 205-pound titleholder and Stipe Miocic, the veteran who holds the record for the most successful title defences in the organisation’s history.

The fight is slated to headline the UFC’s return to Madison Square Garden on November 11 but as we’ve seen so often in the fight game, a lot can happen between now and then and with that in mind, the UFC has instituted its own insurance policy ahead of UFC 295 — and it involves one of the most feared strikers in the heavyweight fold.

Numerous sources have reported on Friday that Sergei Pavlovich, the 18-1 Russian slugger who has won each of his six bouts inside the first round, has been lined up by UFC officials as a stand-in should one of Jones or Miocic not be available to make the walk in the Big Apple. The news has not yet been confirmed by the promotion.

Pavlovich is considered a rising star in the UFC’s heavyweight fold. Still just 31, the Russian fighter has wracked off a series of impressive finishes in the UFC cage — notably defeating both Tai Tuivasa and Derrick Lewis inside 60 seconds in recent fights — and has established himself alongside Tom Aspinall as the standout ‘new blood’  in the division.

Time will tell if his services are required in November, however.