Tai Tuivasa (15-3, 8-3 UFC) has inserted himself among the elite of the Heavyweight division, after a spirited come-from-behind victory over Derrick Lewis (26-9-0-1, 17-7 UFC) at UFC 271.
Tuivasa came into the matchup with Lewis as a massive underdog, with the power and experience of Lewis swinging the odds in the hard-hitting Texan’s favour.
Lewis, who owns the UFC record for most knockouts came into this fight on the heels of a convincing win over Chris Daukaus (12-4, 4-1 UFC).
‘The Black Beast’ has long been one of the most feared fighters in the world, rolling through the Heavyweight division, notably outpointing current champion Francis Ngannou (17-3, 12-2 UFC).
Tuivasa admitted he was taking a fight in which the odds were stacked against, hilariously saying he accepted the fight whilst being drunk.
It was hard to rule the Aussie out though, largely due to Tuivasa’s undeniable knockout power.
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The eccentric Tuivasa walked out to the octagon with Cindy Lauper’s ‘Girls just want to have fun’, continuing his trend of iconic walkouts.
The pair took their time getting into the rhythm of the fight, before Tuivasa aimed for the legs and gained an advantage in the clinch.
Lewis took the Australian down before landing some dangerous shots on the ground. As the fight hung in the balance, Tuivasa recovered and punched back at Lewis, both men exchanging heavy blows.
At this moment, it looked like it was going to be a long night for Tuivasa as the power of Lewis seemed to hard to handle.
As the second round began, the pair wasted no time picking up where they left off, Lewis continued to lay into the Western Sydney native as he was forced to retreat to the cage.
Tuivasa began to counter and found a Lewis weakness, who had no answer to the firing Aussie.
After being rocked several times, Tuivasa landed a massive elbow, wobbling the hometown hero, following up with a round of punches, before finishing the former title-contender with another deadly elbow that left him flat on the floor.
Tuivasa danced around the ring and immediately went for his trademark post-fight celebration, the ‘shoey’.
The man known as ‘Bam Bam’ displayed fighting spirit in the courage filled performance and has continued to gather a plethora of fans on his rise up the Heavyweight rankings.
Tuivasa’s stock in the heavyweight division is sure to rise to the top as he now holds a five-win streak and has become one of the fastest rising stars in the promotion.
Soon after the final horn, he capped off proceedings with a round of ‘shoeys’ as he celebrated during his cage exit, sending the Houston crowd wild.
Tuivasa will now look to a fight with another ‘top five’ member of the UFC’s Heavyweight division as he searches for a way to a title fight with incumbent champion, Francis Ngannou.
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