Tai Tuivasa will surely drink a whole lot of shoeys after picking up the biggest win of his career in the UFC 271 co-main event.
The Australian heavyweight got into an old fashioned slugfest with Derrick Lewis on Saturday night, which usually doesn’t bode well for the opponents facing “The Black Beast.” Fortune favored the bold in this case, however, after Tuivasa connected with a crushing elbow strike on the feet that sent Lewis crashing face first down to the canvas.
The fight was stopped immediately as Tuivasa turned to celebrate with the end coming at 1:40 in the second round.
“That’s the king of knockouts. Much respect to Derrick,” Tuivasa said afterwards. “I’m young and up and coming. I’m taking over now. My name’s Tai like Muay Thai! I like throwing elbows. I like getting nitty gritty and I’m f*cking always down to get down.”
With both fighters possessing incredible one-punch knockout power, Lewis and Tuivasa were both cocked and ready to unload at the first sign of a mistake. As Tuivasa looked to establish his leg kicks, Lewis started getting more aggressive while going head hunting with his punches.
After a clinch against the cage, Lewis actually took Tuivasa to the ground before the heavyweights got back to the feet and just started swinging sledgehammers at each other. The wild exchanges continued with Tuivasa almost inviting Lewis to come after him as they continued launching bombs.
While that kind of strategy typically seems like a recipe for disaster, Tuivasa had full trust in his durability as he ate a few shots from Lewis and then started firing back with just as much pop behind his own punches.
Another crazy exchange saw Lewis gunning for the finish but it was Tuivasa who clipped him with a perfectly timed counter right hand that put the former heavyweight title challenger on rubber legs. Tuivasa continued to throw strikes until he uncorked the elbow that blasted Lewis and knocked him out on the feet before he then went crashing to the canvas.
It was an unbelievable performance from Tuivasa, who went into Lewis’ hometown, played a dangerous game with him on the feet and yet he’s the one leaving with a knockout victory. Overall, Tuivasa has now won five fights in a row — all by knockout — as he makes a huge leap forward in the UFC heavyweight division.