Tai Tuivasa has ended the year on a massive high, knocking out Augusto Sakai for his third knockout win in 2021.
‘Bam Bam’ is quickly becoming a fan favourite for UFC fans around the world with his now iconic post-fight shoey and deadly knockout power.
Walking out to Aqua’s ‘Barbie Girl’, Tuivasa’s eccentric personality was on display before the fight began.
Tuivasa entered this matchup with Sakai on the heels of the three-fight win streak and looked poised to carry this momentum onwards into 2022.
After a dull first-round, Tuivasa only needed 26 seconds of the second round to knock his opponent out, putting his professional record at 13-3.
Tuivasa has spent the majority of the year in Dubai as he wanted to avoid the quarantine rules in Australia and focus on fighting regularly in 2021, getting his career back on track in the process.
He is currently unranked in the heavyweight division, however he is sure to crack the top 15 once the rankings are updated.
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As it happened
Round 1 has been generally successful for Tuivasa in the past – with 11 of his past 12 wins coming within the first round.
Both fighters seemed reluctant to go all out however, and spent most of the round finding the range and feeling each other out.
The pair began to look comfortable in the last 30 seconds, throwing their all at each other in search of an early finish. With no quick end in sight, they were forced to go again in Round 2.
With the crowd chanting his name, Tuivasa fed off the momentum and went for the kill with an aim to finish the fight.
As he rained down a combination of straights and uppercuts, Sakai got caught and dropped to the ground where the fight was stopped 26 seconds in the second round.
Much to the delight of the crowd, Tuivasa capped off another iconic finish with an even more iconic celebration, a shoey.
Sakai seemed to be more hurt than first suspected as he was unable to attend the post-fight formalities and was being heavily attended to by the medical staff.
Warpped in an Indigenous flag, Tuivasa got the celebrations going as the camera panned to fans doing shoeys for the Aussie.
“Like I’ve said in my past interviews I feel like I’m getting better and better at this sport,” Tuivasa said to Joe Rogan post-fight.
“I’m a banger from f***ing Western Sydney, I’ll bang on with anyone… I come here, I put a show on for the crowd.
“I’ll fight anyone, I’m going home to spend Christmas with my son, let’s f***ing party.”
The Las Vegas crowd was on their feet for the Aussie, ready to join in the celebration before being denied of fan interaction by an arena official, leading to an altercation between the two which Tuivasa later apologised for.
“I’m a prize fighter, I do this to feed my family and give my son a better future, hopefully that get’s me in that conversation [for a contract upgrade with the UFC],” Tuivasa said in the post-fight press conference.
“I can fight, but to be a professional that’s another level, I feel like I’m really enjoying what I’m doing and it’s showing when I’m in the cage, I’m maturing.”
Tuivasa didn’t have his heart set on his next opponent, however given the nature of his victory, it won’t be long before we the see the UFC fan favourite back in action.
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